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Search tags: Agatha-Christie
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review 2018-06-20 15:32
Murder on the Links
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie,John Moffatt

This was an interesting story but Hastings really proved himself to be a huge boob.  I cannot believe he didn't get run out of the place.  It wasn't until near the end that I was sure who the murderer was.  Does Poirot really keep him around after this story?  I am sure he is in the whole series but why I don't know.  I also found it really irritating that they decided the murderer had to be a man because a woman couldn't have dug the shallow grave. 

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review 2018-06-20 15:08
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

After reading Murder on the Orient Express last fall I decided to start at the beginning and read the whole series. I found this story pretty scattered and frustrating at times. Hastings seems to be really dumb. His sole purpose seems to be to have someone dumb for Poirot to explain things to. He would miss a jetliner that flew right over his head. He also falls for every pretty girl he sees and wants to marry them within the first five minutes.

 

The mystery itself was interesting and I suspected who was involved but wasn't quit sure how it would work out. There are a lot of things going on. I really hope this series gets better though.

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review 2018-06-05 20:03
Murder in Mesopotamia / Agatha Christie
Murder in Mesopotamia - Agatha Christie

When nurse Amy Leatheran agrees to look after American archaeologist Dr Leidner’s wife Louise at a dig near Hassanieh she finds herself taking on more than just nursing duties – she also has to help solve murders. Fortunately for Amy, Hercule Poirot is visiting the excavation site but will the great detective be in time to prevent a multiple murderer from striking again?


 

***2018 Summer of Spies***


It must have been the exotic location of Afghanistan, but this Hercule Poirot mystery really made me think about M.M. Kaye’s series of mysteries, set in similarly foreign settings. Last summer, I read both Death in Zanzibar and Death in Cyprus, and I have a feeling that Murder in Mesopotamia may have been one of the influences on Kaye. Perhaps it was the English nurse as narrator—an Englishwoman in an alien environment, applying her standards of judgement to the events (and to Hercule Poirot as investigator).

The solution to the crime was suitably obscure. Christie fools me more often than any other mystery writer that I’ve encountered so far. She is expert at the art of misdirection!
Christie portrays the archaeological setting so accurately—the reader can tell that she went to many dig sites with her second husband. She gets the surroundings, the finds, the group dynamics, etc. just right. You can taste the dust and feel the heat as you read.

I could also appreciate her confidence as a writer. This is a Poirot mystery, but the man himself doesn’t appear until well into the book and we see him only through the eyes of Nurse Leatheran. Altogether a very skillfully assembled mystery story, perfect for summer reading.

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review 2018-05-31 16:29
The Thirteen Problems / Agatha Christie
The Thirteen Problems - Agatha Christie

A series of short stories, strung together by the concept of the Tuesday Club, a group of people who get together on (you guessed it) Tuesday nights to discuss mysterious crimes that they have encountered. Miss Marple just happens to be one of those people and gets to demonstrate her uncanny knowledge of human nature repeatedly.

I have to think that Charlaine Harris must have read this collection before she wrote her first Aurora Teagarden mystery story Real Murders which features the Real Murders Club. Members of this club get together once a month to analyze famous murder cases. (Harris takes things one step further when a member of the club is murdered.)

This is a compact little volume—I read it in one sitting. That, perhaps, is not the best way to approach it, as Miss Marple’s superiority in deducing what actually went on gets a trifle repetitive (although we readers would expect nothing less). Still, I enjoyed my evening’s reading.

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review 2018-05-28 18:59
And Then There Were None (audiobook) by Agatha Christie, narrated by Dan Stevens
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie,Dan Stevens

Several people, all strangers to one another, arrive at a small, isolated island. Some believe themselves to have been invited by an old acquaintance, while others thought they were being hired by someone named U.N. Owen. All of them discover, too late, that these were lies designed to lure them into a trap. With no way to escape the island, the guests begin to die, one by one, in ways that eerily fit the "Ten Little Soldiers" rhyme.

I've only read or listened to a few of Agatha Christie's mysteries, but so far this one is my favorite, and I think Dan Stevens' narration plays a part in that. Christie's works are usually difficult for me to handle in audio - it's easy for me to lose track of characters or details - but in this case the audio format is perfect.

I had to do a double take when I looked up the narrator's name, because it never clicked for me that this was the same Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey and Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast. The man's range is impressive. There were a couple characters who sounded a little too similar for my tastes (Rogers and Dr. Armstrong, I think), but, in general, I loved his interpretations of the characters, particularly Philip Lombard and Justice Wargrave.

The first time I listened to this, the big reveal was an absolute shock. The explanation didn't quite work for me, though. I've since listened to this audiobook several more times, and my doubts about whether some of the murders were possible haven't gone away. That hasn't made And Then There Were None any less entertaining, however.

Knowing the killer's identity added another level to my enjoyment. Certain lines and bits of dialogue struck me as jaw-droppingly gutsy on Christie's part. Did she ever worry that she was being too obvious? And as for the killer, ooh, some of the things that person said and did would have required nerves of steel.

Although I loved this book overall, I also want to note that it includes both antisemitism and racism. In the version of the story used for this audiobook, the antisemitism and racism are mostly (entirely?) linked to a particular character, Philip Lombard. I interpreted them as examples of Lombard's general nastiness. I just got through reading a little about the history of And Then There Were None's publication, however, and I'm now wondering if my interpretation of those moments in the text was too charitable. No matter how much I've enjoyed the present incarnation of the story, I doubt I could have made it through the original version.

 

Rating Note:

 

My gut-level rating, the first time I listened to this, was 4 stars. I've bumped this up to 4.5 because it's been such a consistently enjoyable re-listen.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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