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Search tags: Agatha-Christie
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text 2018-01-22 22:12
Listening to Roger Ackroyd
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

This is one of my Top Ten Christie mysteries. This wasn't (even close to) the first time I read it, so I know the big reveal at the end. Nonetheless, it remains compelling even with the knowledge of the murderer, which I will not spoil here.

I listened to the book this time. If there is one tiny quibble that I have is that it was narrated by Hugh Fraser, who does a bang-up job, but I associate him so strongly with the character of Hastings that, this book being in the first person narrated by Dr. Shepherd, I would occasionally become a bit disoriented with the voice not matching the identity of the narrator. It's not a big thing, and someone not as wholly obsessed with all things Agatha might not even notice!

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review 2018-01-17 12:44
Who is Really to Blame?
Crooked House (Buku Catatan Yosephine) - Agatha Christie

I "read" this one with the audio download from a library. I did it this way so that I could knit while I was listening. 

A young man has met the woman of his dreams while stationed in Egypt and proposes to her, but states that they will wait until they are back in England to actually propose. Before he can actually meet her family and propose officially, there is a death of her grandfather. She is concerned that the wrong person is going to be accused of the murder and asks her fiancee to help solve the murder. 

He meets the entire family and learns the dynamics of the family. His father, a police inspector, encourages him to go and listen to the whole family. 

It was an interesting story and had a very interesting twist at the end. I did enjoy this story. I did have to rerun it many times as people kept talking to me and interrupting so that I couldn't follow along. 

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review 2018-01-15 01:38
A Pocket Full of Rye
A Pocket Full of Rye - Agatha Christie

It was Miss Somers' turn to make the tea. Miss Somers was the newest and the most inefficient of typists. She was no longer young and had a mild worried face like a sheep. The kettle was not quite boiling when Miss Somers poured the water on the tea, but poor Miss Somers was never quite sure when a kettle was boiling. It was one of the many worries that afflicted her in life.

She poured out the tea and took the cups round with a couple of limp, sweet biscuits in each saucer.

That quote has very little to do with the plot of A Pocket Full of Rye, but it does set the tone of this story. There is something edgy and sinister about A Pocket Full of Rye. This is not a "cozy" mystery. Sure, there is not blood or gore, but there is darkness, thirst for revenge, and calculating human horribleness.

 

And that's what I see in the mention of tepid tea and limp biscuits. No, I kid. But I do see in this opening that there is something just not right, and it is this this feeling that runs through this story. 

 

I can't say that I liked this story a lot, and I can't even put my finger on why this is. Maybe it is because of the murder method causes me to have questions, maybe it because the police investigation misses the mark so often, or maybe it is because of that horrible children's rhyme that is the basis for this story, but it is not a story that I enjoy re-reading a lot.

 

Nevertheless, I recommend it. The different relationship angles in this story are fascinating. Dark, but benefiting from Christie's acute eye for suffering that can be caused by family. 

 

Approach with strong tea, and sweet, rich, fresh biscuits.

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review 2018-01-12 14:26
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

This was my last read of 2017 and my first ever Agatha Christie. Loved it!

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text 2018-01-08 18:58
2017 in Review
How To Be A Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Everyday Life - Ruth Goodman
New York 2140 - Kim Stanley Robinson
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf
Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Summer Before the War: A Novel - Helen Simonson
Racing the Devil - Charles Todd
Calamity in Kent - John Rowland
Ashes of London - Andrew Taylor
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
Agnes and the Hitman - Bob Mayer,Jennifer Crusie

2017 was an excellent reading year around here.  I had four five-star reads, not counting re-reads, which is a very high total for me, out of some 90+ books read.  One was a novel - 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, and three non-fiction: The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf, and two by Ruth Goodman, How to be a Tudor, and How to be a Victorian.  Wonderful re-reads included Dorothy L. Sayers' Murder Must Advertise, several Mary Russell novels by Laurie R. King, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (which I think I read in about 1978, but remembered nothing).

 

The best historical novel I read in 2017 was The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson, and the best new mystery Racing the Devil, by Charles Todd.  I read a decent amount of non-fiction, all of it good, from The Glass Universe (about the ladies of the Harvard Observatory) to Michelangelo's Ceiling (Damn it, your holiness, I'm a sculptor, not a painter), The Sun and the Moon (the Man-bats, or America's first great "fake news" story), and A is for Arsenic (Agatha Christie knew her poisons).

 

I had some reads that were just pure fun, like Jennifer Crusie's Agnes and the Hitman, Deborah Harkness' trilogy on witches, or Anne Bishop's novels about The Others.

 

It did have down moments.  Calamity in Kent's plot boiled down to "Scotland Yard inspector decides his tabloid journalist friend, Jimmy, is the best choice to solve a locked room mystery, and tells Jimmy to go for it."  Um.  OK?

 

The one which angered me, however, was my sole 1-star read of the year, The Ashes of London, which was billed as a thriller set during the Great Fire of London.  It is set *after* the fire, did not have very good historical detailing (it could have been pretty much anywhere and anywhen in the past that had suffered a large fire), and had two narrators, neither interesting.  And then it offended me with a touch of "let's start the characterization of the woman by having her evil cousin rape her" and I was out.

 

But most of my reading year was wonderful.  I hope yours was, too.

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