My name is Adele Abrams and I finally got a chance at the microphone, so to speak. Finally the chance to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time. I work with Molly Pink at Shedd & Royal Books and More and every time I go through the mystery section it makes me want to throw a hissy fit. It’s about Miss Marple and her knitting needles. If only Agatha Christie had talked to me, I’m sure it would have been Miss Marple and her hooks.
The whole point was that Miss Marple was listening to conversations and watching what was going on around her while she appeared to be caught up in her knitting. It would have been so much easier if she was crocheting.
With knitting as her cover, she had to carry around a bag of stuff all the time. Not so with crochet. To start with crochet hooks are easy to carry. You can slip them in your pocket or purse. Most of them are no bigger than a pencil. No pointy tips to poke a hole in your bag or in you if you happen to try to carry knitting needles in your pocket and bend at the wrong time.
No need to carry bags full of yarn either. All Miss Marple would have needed to instantly appear to be occupied with her handiwork, was a wad of string. She could have whipped it out, along with a hook and started making a coaster or a string flower while people around her dropped clues.
No clacking needles to drown out any whispers, she was trying to hear, either. Crochet is stealth. Let’s say Miss Marple was actually making something. Let’s say she was so busy observing the people around her, she wasn’t paying that much attention to her handiwork and she made some mistakes. To fix her knitting errors, she’d have to unknit or very carefully take out rows until she took out the mistake and then so carefully put the stitches back on her needle so all the tiny loops were going the right way. It can sometimes lead to swearing, which would definitely have blown her cover as a sweet little old lady.
She would never ruin her image with crochet. Crochet works with one stitch at a time. If she made a mistake, she could rip it out with abandon until she got to her error.
So, the next time any of you read a Agatha Christie book featuring Miss Marple or you watch one of the Mysteries featuring her on PBS, will you do me a favor and think about what I said? I’m sure you will agree.