In a study published in the journal Advances in Descriptive Psychology, published in 1991, psychotherapist Carolyn Allen Zeiger introduced something called the Miss Marple Model of Psychological Assessment. Zeiger had discovered, like many readers have over the years, that the fictional detective created by Agatha Christie actually manages to capture human nature and tendenciesespecially, but not limited to, criminal onesjust as well as a trained psychologist does. Whats more, Miss Marple also aims at resolving or freeing up another characters behavioural potential through conversationwhich is also something a therapist does, every day.Zeigers study highlights something fans of the sleuth have known for ages: Miss Jane Marple is a connoisseur and observer of human nature, knows human psychology without any formal training, and solves crimes in idyllic British setting without having to physically run around toting guns or chasing suspects like other fictional detectives do. More importantly, given her gender and ageand the fact that shes one of the few women detectives English literature has provided us withMiss Marple is quite relatable and inspiring for women. Heres everything you should know about this woman sleuth and what makes her tick, more than 90 years since she was created.The Portrait Of A Feminist DetectiveChristie had created two immensely popular detectives through her works: Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. The former was a Belgian detective living and working in Britain, and quite popular among contemporary readers. However, reports suggest that the iconic author was a little tired of writing about Poirot, who many considered to be pretentious, egotistical, and a serial mansplainer. So, in 1927, in a short story in The Tuesday Night Club, Christie introduced the world to a new kind of detective, one that Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle could never have imagined.Here was a fussy old spinster, who spent her time knitting, gardening, gossiping, and solving crimes like she was a dab hand at it. The character was largely inspired by Christies grandmother, who the author herself describes as such: though a cheerful person, she always expected the worst of everyone and everything, and was, with almost frightening accuracy, usually proved right. Miss Marples wisdom is utterly feminine, in the sense that it is completely based on knowledge of relationships, the domestic sphere, village life, and all the people involved in these. And yet, she manages to solve crimes where policemen (and other men in general) find themselves at a loss.Christies creation covertly turns gender relations (of the time) on its head. Instead of seeing a spinster as a lonely and frustrated woman, we see Miss Marple as a happy person, spreading cheer, common sense, and increasing the value of intuition and understanding of human nature over procedural knowledge, For example, she knows every variety of tobacco or shoe print, like Sherlock Holmes does. But, Holmes was a bachelor and remained unmarried, and so have most male detectives in the history of literature. So, why cant an unmarried, yet worldly woman, have the same contributions to the world of crime fiction?Miss Marples MethodsWhats even more precious about this non-stereotypical portrayal of a spinster detective is the fact that she uses the stereotype of a spinster to her advantage to solve crimes. Instead of interrogating people involved in an incident, be it murder or theft, Marple uses the accepted idea that a woman her age would be nosy to gather information. Not that she would be allowed to interrogate suspects in any case, given that not only was she not an officer of law or a consultant, but was never paid for her contributions towards solving crimes.It is always through conversations, like Zeiger highlights in her study, that Miss Marple solves her crimes. And what comes in handy are the past crimes and relationships she has observed. In fact, without her keen and constant observation of tones of voices, terms and phrases, gestures, and other expressions, Miss Marple would hardly have been able to build her career through 12 novels and 20 short stories.Another method Miss Marple uses is to tolerate mansplaining. Lets just admit the fact that mansplaining has existed since the dawn of human language, and any woman who has ever lived must have experienced it even when the word itself didnt exist. Miss Marple is mansplained to by doctors, vicars, other women, and most importantly, men in authority with the license to solve crimespolicemen, inspectors, detectives, retired army men, and even retired Scotland Yard detectives. The way Christie has this incredible woman detective sidestepping and nudging these men in the right direction is truly inspiring, even today.Plain Jane? We Think, NotAnother stereotype this iconic character breaks, is that of the Plain Janethe simple woman who fails to make a mark in the world because of said simplicity. Critics of Christie often rubbish the Marple stories because they lack the cleverness of detective stories by other, more famous, male authors. You may not know who the perpetrator is until the end of a Holmes story, but you may start guessing it correctly by the middle of a Marple one. But, on the other hand, we may argue that the unsolvability of Holmes stories make him superhuman and unrelatablea notion reaffirmed by the many adaptations of those stories, including the ones with Benedict Cumberbatch!Miss Marple is at the other end of this spectrum. Shes not a high-functioning sociopath catching other masterminds who commit complicated crimes. Shes a normal old lady who finds the mundane crimes of everyday life fascinating, just as much as the human minds that concoct and commit them. This is why Miss Marple is a connoisseur of human nature, and yet, not a superior, male, authority figure trying to tell you whats right and whats wrong. She is unapologetically feminine and intuitive, and brilliant at sleuthing and counselling. In fact, it wont be at all far-fetched to say that there is a little bit of Miss Marple in every woman. Now if that doesnt give your morale a boost and your walk more confidence, dear sister, what will?