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Josephine Tey – Miss Pym Disposes

July 23, 2008
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Title: Miss Pym Disposes
Author: Josephine Tey
Publisher: Touchstone [1998]
ISBN: 0684847515/978-0684847511
Pages: 240
Genre: Mystery

The blurb tells too much of the plot so I don’t recommend to read it. Here is my adaption of the blurb:

Miss Lucy Pym, an early retired French teacher and a one-bestseller author, was invited as a guest lecturer at a physical training college. At the time of the year’s nearly finished term, students were overwhelmed by training and preparation for final exams and demonstration. While getting more involved in the college life, Miss Pym accidentally discovered a student’s fault. What she did would have changed the lives of some of these students.

I finished this book despite of what I should do (ah, will I be able to finish it today?). I fast read the last quarter of the book since it’s pretty late (or early in the morning, for I had only two hours before getting up?). I really wanted to know what Miss Pym would do in the end.

This mystery novel is a little bit unusual. Unlike many of them, the mystery comes out very late in this novel. The author spent most of the story to build up the characters and the relationships between them, as the readers get to know them with Miss Pym.

For that, I quite enjoyed reading it. That’s why when the “time” — the thing that the readers have expected to happen since the story begins — was finally near, I felt that I didn’t want it happened at all.

I have guessed what would happen and even the culprit , so it wasn’t really very surprising to me, judging from the aspect of the mystery. But how one would deal with it is quite a different matter, as reflected on the title.

The progress of the story might not be satisfactory to many nowadays mystery readers, especially if they prefer fast-pacing stories. Nor may the ending. However, I found this novel keeps me pondering.

Related articles:

Each of the six seems as fresh today as it must have when it first appeared: elegantly written, populated with interesting and sometimes eccentric characters, witty but also laugh-out-loud funny, engaged with far deeper themes and ideas than one is accustomed to encounter in most mystery novels.

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