The Moving Finger Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Moving Finger

Jerry Burton and his sister Joanna relocate to the village of Lymstock so he can convalesce after a flying accident. His doctor feels that a quiet rest is what will speed up his healing. Everything seems typical of small town life until they receive an anonymous letter stating that they are not brother and sister. They toss the letter in the fire. However, after asking around, they realize they are one of many recipients of these types of letters. When someone appears to commit suicide because of a particularly nasty letter, the police are called in.
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The police take Jerry into their confidence as he is a newcomer to Lymstock and therefore more able to be objective. Jerry talks to the villagers and gets various opinions and also forms his own. Soon there is another death, this time a murder. The police are still plodding on with their investigation and Jerry is getting concerned for his new girl friend.
Soon Miss Marple, a spinster lady very wise in the workings of small towns and villages, comes for a visit. She helps Jerry and the police put the pieces together. The murderer is then caught and all explanations are given.
The review of this Book prepared by a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Jerry Burton, a recovering pilot, and his sister Joanna rent a small house in Lymstock, a small village in the English countryside. They soon receive an anonymous letter accusing them to be lovers and not brother and sister. They don't mind at all but, after a few discussions with some of Lymstock inhabitants, they learn that, for some time now, somebody is sending such letters to most of the local people. A few days later, the wife of the town lawyer commits suicide after having read one of these anonymous letters.

Although the local police investigates, the writer goes on with his detestable writings and, of course, everybody starts to suspects everybody. When Agnes, a servant, is found murdered, the minister's wife decides to ask one of her friends, Mrs. Marple, to come to Lymstock to observe the little community and search for the author of the letters. With the help of Mrs. Marple, Jerry Burton will finally understand that the letters may be a decoy that hides the real motives of the murderer.
The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of The Moving Finger

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 40% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   british mystery (I say!) Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   seduction/blackmail Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   pilot, airforce    -   pilot, civilian Age:    -   20's-30's    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   poisoning Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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