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review 2017-07-19 03:19
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) - Agatha Christie

Series: Hercule Poirot #13


A murderer seems to be working his (or her) way through his (or her) victims using The ABC Railway Guide. Hastings makes an appearance and the mystery is quite entertaining although the investigation and resolution flounder a bit before we get to the ending and the various reveals.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Paradise Pier 30 “Read a book with a twist”. There is, of course, a twist in a Poirot mystery, so I’m counting the 331 pages as another $6 added to my bank, giving me a new balance of $235.

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text 2017-05-31 01:05
Undecided on Paradise Pier 30
World Without End - Ken Follett
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) - Agatha Christie
Ashes of the Elements - Alys Clare



As part of my weekend rolls, I landed on Paradise Pier 30. At first I thought the easiest thing would be to read a book that has more than 555 pages, but the one that I was thinking of (that I have a paper copy of) is a thousand page brick to lug around: World Without End by Ken Follett. The others are all ebooks, and although I'm pretty sure they'd all qualify, I'm not sure I want to use them for that square.


So I tried paging through books tagged as "suspense" on GR to see if anything was on my to-read shelf and it looks like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is an option since it's currently available at my library. Most of the other options that were on my shelves I've already read.


Most mystery books should probably have a twist but it's a little hard to tell in advance. If it's not too much Poirot in a row, I could try The A.B.C. Murders or I could try another mystery like Ashes of the Elements by Alys Clare.


So, would anyone care to weigh in? Should I go for the $10 prize or stick to something a little less weighty?


Edit: My other long but less weighty choices:

The Lamp of the Wicked - Phil Rickman  Cibola Burn - James S.A. Corey  Dragonfly Falling - Adrian Tchaikovsky 

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review 2017-05-30 21:04
Mostly Okay Short Stories Starring Our Belgian Detective
Poirot Investigates - Agatha Christie

I really thought this stories as a whole were way too short to get that engrossed in. I found most of them to be merely okay. There was only one that I thought was good. I did have to give it 3 stars though since we have Hastings as our narrator for all of the stories. I do miss Hastings when he is not present in Poirot books. Poirot solo is beyond aggravating. He needs Hastings there to blunder along to be superior to to show off his gray cells. 


"The Adventure of the Western Star" (3 stars)-Poirot and Hastings are called in to keep a woman's most expensive jewel from being stolen from a Chinamen (yeah you read that right). The whole reveal in this story didn't make a lot of sense to me and I had a hard time with Poirot coming out the winner here when he is given facts that Hastings was not. 


"The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor" (5 stars)-The main reason why I had to give this one 5 stars was that honestly I thought it was quite an ingenious way the person behind the murder did this. Apparently the rule is not to be too trusting of others when you have a rifle near you.  I do have to say that once again I thought that how Poirot put things together was a bit much though.


"The Adventure of the Cheap Flat" (2 stars)-I liked the BBC version of this story better. It somehow made less sense written.


"The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge" (2 stars)-This was a weird case. We have Hastings investigating with Japp when Poirot is down and out with flu. I don't know why he just doesn't tell all to capture the bad guys instead of providing notes with no context to Hastings. This is one of the rare cases where the bad guys get away with it, but karma eventually wins out.


"The Million Dollar Bond Robbery" (3 stars)-A clever case of who stole some bonds. I do have to say though that I still don't get how Poirot was able to figure this one out. It was a stretch for me. 


"The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb" (1 star)-Nope. Seriously. Once again a far-fetched reason for the murder and it is missing Christie's attention to detail when the action moves to another country and city. Very disappointing.


"The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan" (1 star)-I honestly skimmed this one. I had to. It was so boring. And the reason why Poirot caught the bad guy (their shoes) made me roll my eyes. 


"The Kidnapped Prime Minister" (3 stars)-I found that most of these short stories are really Poirot just explaining to Hastings why he's stupid. Seriously. 


"The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim" (4 stars)-I have to say the reason behind the disappearance doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I just thought the whole story was quite clever. I enjoyed the BBC television episode of this one too. 


"The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman" (1 star)-I can't remember this story at all.


"The Case of the Missing Will" (3 stars)-I did call BS on the woman in this story hiring Poirot to find out where the missing will her uncle hid from her. He expected her to figure out in order to show that her choice of education was correct in order to inherit his estate. She hires Poirot who figures things out and she wins. I didn't blame Hastings for not feeling okay about things. 


"The Veiled Lady" (2 stars)-A case of the wrong shoes.


"The Lost Mine" (2 stars)-Reading about how Poirot came to own shares in a mine. It was boring. 


"The Chocolate Box" (4 stars)-You read about a case that Poirot solved, but was wrong about who the murderer was. I would have enjoyed this collection more if we had Poirot recounting older cases of his to Hastings and showing that Poirot was not the smartest person around. He made mistakes, as he did in this one. 

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review 2017-05-30 13:32
Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie
Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #11) - Agatha Christie

Series: Poirot #11




I feel a bit as if this was Christie’s response to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. As in that book, our detective disappears near the beginning only to reappear halfway through. Instead of Poirot, we get to witness the sleuthing talents of Sir Charles Cartwright (an actor), “Egg” Lytton Gore (a young-ish woman), and Mr. Satterthwaite (no idea how to pronounce it, but he seemed like a male, less confused version of Miss Marple).


I’ll admit I was completely taken in and I loved how the solution to the mystery unfolded. We saw less of Poirot, admittedly, but you know how he hates doing legwork so it’s just as well that it was other people running around investigating at first. I quite liked Mr. Satterthwaite, and Mrs. Dacres’ continual use of “penetrating” to describe a dress style for Egg was amusing. Honestly, I’m continually surprised by some of the vocabulary used in the 1930s and how modern-sounding it is. Of course, in this case my amusement stems from the use of the word rather than any modern connotations but the style of the character is pretty timeless. For context, she’s a fashionista dressmaker.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Main Street 11 “Read a book that takes place between 1945 and 1965 or that was written by an author who was born before 1955”. Agatha Christie was definitely born before 1955. At 272 pages, I’m awarded another $3, which topples me over the $100 mark to give me a bank balance of $101.


Comment/question on the number of pages:

The print edition of this printing is listed as 272 pages while Kindle/Kobo list it as 224. It felt really short though, and my ereader claimed I finished it in less than 4 hours (I’m not sure I trust its accuracy although it’s been better behaved in the last few days). So should I be using the 201-400 page bin or should I be using the 101-200 page bin? Apparently it’s only 65k words. I feel that perhaps I’m overestimating the funds I should be receiving.


In contrast, Fortune Like the Moon (my last read) is listed as 252 pages and 73k words at Kobo.

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text 2017-05-15 15:25
Just Okay
Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) - Agatha Christie

Honestly, I didn't hate this one or really like it. It was a bit too farfetched for me when we get to the ending/solution. 


We have a terrible man, Simeon Lee, who demands his family come home for the holidays. He seems to be playing a game of cat and mouse with them and using his money as an incentive to put up with his despicable self. When he is found murdered, all clues point to someone in the family who has done it. Poirot who happens to be staying with a friend, comes along and then is asked by the family to figure out who killed Lee.

The potential culprits are Lee's granddaughter who has just arrived in England, his sons Alfred, George, David, and Harry, and his daughter-in laws, Lydia, Magdalene, and Hilda. There are also servants and one of Simeon's partner's son about the estate too.


I think maybe because I had watched the BBC television episode of this one it just colored things for me. I just found the book boring and most of the characters pretty thinly written. I think that David was beyond annoying and that Alfred was delusional. The only time it got a bit interesting was when the family finds out the contents of Simeon's will and you get to see some of the members of the family clearly for the first time. I really did like the character of Lydia (Alfred's wife) but other than that bah.


There were a lot of red herrings about in the book, and I have to say that the resolution was a bit much for me (how Poirot realized who was the killer). 

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