The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Jan 16, 2018 in 2018, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review | 1 comment

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Hercule Poirot series
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Publication Date: 1920 Originally, 2006 This Edition
Pages: 224
Source: Library

The Book:
From the Google Books:

When an aging heiress is found fatally poisoned, the amazing Hercule Poirot, brilliant Belgian criminal investigator, is brought out of retirement to solve the case. In this classic tale of murder, jealousy and greed, Agatha Christie introduced the famed sleuth, who is immediately confronted by mysteries within a mystery – a door bolted from the inside of the victim’s room; the disappearance of a coffee cup believed to have held the poison, the charred remains of a will, a strange fragment of fabric and a curious rug stain found near the body. All are puzzling pieces of evidence in a crime for which there is no shortage of suspects, not the least of which are the victim’s philandering husband, an assortment of unhappy relatives and an extremely outspoken hired companion!

My Thoughts:
I’ve read several of Christie’s Miss Marple books and enjoyed them. I decided I wanted to start her Hercule Poirot series. I hadn’t realized that this was her first published novel

The story was enjoyable. There was plenty of humor and entangled romane along with the mystery. As often happens in Christie’s mysteries there are plenty of suspects. At certian points it appears that nearly all of them could be the killer.

Poirot is a friend of the narrator of the story and just happens to be visiting the little town at the time of the murder. This is my first introduction to Poirot. I haven’t even watched any of the movies that feature him. Even so based on some of the actors who have portrayed Hercule Poirot I was surprised at the first description of him.

Poirot was an extraordinary looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet, four inches but he carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military.

That certainly doesn’t sound like some of the actors I know have played Poirot such as Peter Ustinov or Alfred Molina.

Anyway, after I adjusted my mental image of Poirot I went on to thoroughly enjoy the story.

If you haven’t read it I recommend you give it a try. Considering it’s nearly 100 years old it’s held up as an entertaining and interesting mystery story.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review | 0 comments

The Moving Finger by Agatha ChristieThe Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Format: Ebook
Series: #4 in the Miss Marple series
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 1942 Originally, 2009 This Edition
Pages: 181
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of scandalous secrets—a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate mail causes only a minor stir.

But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note says “I can’t go on,” but Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure of anyone—as secrets stop being shameful and start becoming deadly.

My Thoughts:
The book opens with an injured Jerry Burton, whose doctor recommends he spend his rehabilitation time in a small town in the country. So the he and and his sister Joanna rent a house in the little village of Lymstock. So much for peace and quiet.

When the anonymous letters seem to lead to a suicide Jerry and the local investigator start working together to find out who is behind the letters. Pretty soon almost everyone in the village is a viable suspect.

Miss Marple doesn’t appear until near the end of the story. The sleuthing up to that point is done and told by Jerry.

It was a fun fairly typical Christie book. Lots of light humor mixed in with the murder investigation.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Body in the Library by Agatha ChristieThe Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Series: #3 in the Miss Marple series
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 1942 Originally, 2011 This Edition
Pages: 207
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to find the body of a young woman in their library. She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup, which is now smeared across her cheeks. But who is she? How did she get there? And what is the connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are later discovered in an abandoned quarry?
The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marple into their home to investigate. Amid rumors of scandal, she baits a clever trap to catch a ruthless killer.

My Thoughts:
It’s been a while since I read a Miss Marple book. I wanted something short after finishing a chunkster and this was on my ereader. I was just what I needed. A classic mystery with just enough touches of humor.

This time around Miss Marple is one of several people investigating the murder both professional and amateur. Mrs. Bantry wants to be part of the investigation after she invites her friend Jane Marple to find out what happened. She wants the murder solved to prove her husband didn’t have anything to do with it but she doesn’t mind having a little fun along the way. Multiple police departments are involved as well as a retired Scotland Yard commissioner. Of course, Miss Marple is the one who solves the case.

I enjoyed this one partly for the characters and partly for the mystery. I had some guesses along the way but wasn’t sure before Miss Marple explained it all.

Now that I’ve read a few Miss Marple books I’m planning to start the Hercule Poirot series.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in 2012, 3.5 stars, Agatha Christie, Book Review | 2 comments

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery
Series: #1 in the Miss Maple series
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: Originally published 1930. This edition 1992
Pages: 210
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
The first novel featuring Miss Marple has her solving a murder which has everyone including the local police baffled.

Why I Read It:
I read a collection of short stories featuring Miss Marple last year and enjoyed them. I’ve had this first novel featuring her for a while and the time finally felt right to dive in.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The first Miss Marple mystery, one which tests all her powers of observation and deduction.

“Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,” declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, “would be doing the world at large a favor!”

It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later—when the Colonel is found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe.

My Thoughts:
I like Miss Marple. She’s a busybody and she doesn’t miss a thing that happens in the village St. Mary Mead. Her gift for observation and her talent for listening both to what people say as well as what they don’t say.

As with many of the short stories I’ve read it seems that pretty much everyone in town had a reason and an opportunity to kill Colonel Protheroe, The lies build upon each other and it seems that Miss Marple is the only one who can keep them straight.

The shadow of suspicion weaves in and out among the characters and I changed my mind several times about who I thought had committed the murder. The comments dropped here and there by Miss Marple are both entertaining and provide clues but as usual she’s way ahead of me and had me surprised when she revealed her solution.

It was fun to read more than a short story by Agatha Christie and I will definitely be reading more of these. I think I’ll continue with the Miss Marple series for now. I haven’t read any of the Hercule Poirot stories yet but eventually I’ll get to those.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Short Story Monday – Death by Drowning by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Agatha Christie, Short Stories | 0 comments

I’m finishing up the to the last of the related short story collection featuring the Tuesday Night Club.

http://whimpulsive.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Thirteen%2BProblems.jpg

Death by Drowning by Agatha Christie
Part of a collection published as The Thirteen Problems originally published 1932
Published: originally published 1932 this edition published 2004 by Harper Collins

The first twelve stories in this collection were grouped in two sets of six. The first six were The Tuesday Night Club group gathering at their weekly meetings to share and ponder mystery stories. The second set of six in this collection took place at a dinner party that included Sir Henry Clithering and Miss Marple from the Tuesday Night Club group as well as a few new characters.

In Death by Drowning, Sir Henry Clithering makes a visit to St. Mary Mead and is encouraged by Miss Maple to get involved in a murder investigation.

The morning calm at the Bantry;s house where Sir Henry is visiting is broken by disturbing news from town, A young woman from town is found drowned in the river. It was fairly well known that she was pregnant and unmarried and that the father of the child was a young man visiting from London. The initial speculation was that the girl had killed herself rather than face her family. Later that morning Miss Marple comes to visit and tells Sir Henry that she is sure the girl was murdered and that the wrong person will end up being hanged for the crime. The problem is that Miss Marple has no proof that the person she suspects actually committed the crime. She gives Sir Henry a slip of paper with the name of the person she suspects and asks him to find a way to participate in the investigation

Although the local investigators are sure they know who the perpetrator is, Sir Henry keeps asking questions and nudging their investigation further. Sure enough by the time the slip of paper from Miss Marple is revealed, the real killer has confessed.

I have enjoyed the introduction to Miss Marple that this collection of stories provided. I will definitely be adding some of the other Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie to my reading list.

Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

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Short Story Monday – The Herb of Death and The Affair at the Bungalow by Agatha Christie

Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in Agatha Christie, Short Stories | 0 comments

I’m winding down the to the last of the related short story collection featuring the Tuesday Night Club.

http://whimpulsive.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Thirteen%2BProblems.jpg

The Herb of Death and The Affair at the Bungalow by Agatha Christie
Part of a collection published as The Thirteen Problems originally published 1932
Published: originally published 1932 this edition published 2004 by Harper Collins

I read two more stories from this collection this week and will finish up the last one next week. I’ve fallen in love with Miss Marple and will definitely be reading some of the books that feature her.

The dinner party and sharing of mystery stories finishes up with these two stories. The most reluctant storytellers of the group are the last to participate.

In The Herb of Death, Mrs. Bantry is reluctant but is finally persuaded to share a mystery

Her reluctance manifests itself in the way she tells her story. In a few short sentences she tells of a dinner party in which foxglove leaves were mixed with sage and result in the death of the party host’s niece. When the rest of the group realizes that Mrs. Bantry is done with telling her story they decide to turn it into a twenty questions type of game in which they take turns asking Mrs. Bantry questions to round out her story. This results in a bit more information and enough for the expected Miss Marple solution. Along the way however is also some very humorous pokes at the actress Jane Heiler who seems to always be few minutes behind the rest of the group in keeping up with what is going on. I liked the extra giggles I got with this story.

In The Affair at the Bungalow, it’s Jane Heiler’s turn to share a story.

As expected from the earlier stories and in particular The Herb of Death which immediately precedes this one, Jane Heiler’s turn at telling a mystery story is quite disconnected and a little hard to follow. It starts out with her attempting to hide the identities of the people involved but she quickly gives away that her story is not about a friend, but herself. While rehearsing a play she is unexpectedly called to the police station to confront a young man accused of theft from a nearby bungalow. She doesn’t know the man and his story seems to indicate that he was misled into thinking a message he received was from Jane when in fact it was from someone pretending to be Jane. Soon it turns out that nearly everyone was called away from the bungalow under false pretenses and the identity of the person who stole the jewelry is more and more difficult to figure out. In fact after everyone makes their attempts at the answer, Jane admits that eve she does not know the true outcome. The group gives her a hard time for not exactly playing by the ‘rules’ of their game but admit it was still fun to guess. As she is saying goodbye, Miss Marple whispers something to Jane that indicates our intrepid little lady has once again been the only person to figure out the real truthl

What fun – particularly reading these two together. There is one story left in this collection and it’s on my agenda for next Monday.

Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

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