My father and I just finished The Murder at the Vicarage by Dame Agatha Christie, the first of her Miss Marple books.
With both Holmes and Christie's Poirot under our belts, we entered this ready to try and solve the crime ourselves if possible. Yet more interesting was observing Miss Marple's own style of detective work. Poirot likes to differentiate himself from Holmes by saying that, rather than hunting for footprints and clues, he uses his little grey cells and just sits and thinks to solve cases. However, while not as physically active as Mr. Holmes, M. Poirot does his share of clue-finding in addition to thinking. Miss Marple, however, is pure greys cells – making her in truth what Poirot claims to be, solving by watching and thinking in the epitome of the detective style Poirot lauds. Natural enough since Miss Marple is a little old lady.
Point of order, the actual difference between Christie's detectives and Mr. Holmes is not that Holmes does not sit and think; indeed, he spends whole nights doing nothing else. Rather the difference is that Sherlock Holmes also gets down and dirty, a master of disguise and expert boxer ready to physically grapple with criminals if he can catch them in addition to being a chemist plus much more. I am of the firm opinion that Dame Agatha Christie developed her style of detective to properly differentiate from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes. A differentiation she mastered in the character of Miss Jane Marple.