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review 2017-04-24 23:53
Death Comes as the End
Death Comes As the End - Agatha Christie

“All life is a jest, Imhotep - and it is death who laughs last. Do you not hear it at every feast? Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”

Death Comes as the End is Dame Agatha's only historical mystery and she makes full use of her in-depth knowledge of Ancient Egypt. The detail of Egyptian artefacts and religious beliefs Dame Agatha weaved into this was delightful and made up for the odd dalliances with annoying love triangles. What it didn't quite achieve was to give some authenticity to the characters which still seemed as if they had been copied out of an English country house setting. 

 

I guess, in a way one could argue that the relationships between Christie's characters and their issues are universal, but I could not help imagine some of the characters having a strong London accent. 

 

Never mind, it was a fun read.

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text 2017-04-24 01:23
Reading progress update: I've read 16%.
Death Comes As the End - Agatha Christie

LoL. Imhotep sounds a lot like Colonel Protheroe from Murder at the Vicarage.

I wonder if this story will take a similar turn...

 

 

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review 2014-06-20 20:43
Death Comes As The End
Death Comes as the End - Agatha Christie

Death Comes As The End is set in Egypt during the XIth Dynasty – I think at the very beginning of that dynasty (circa 2000 BC) for although the story is not exactly dated there are references to Egypt as being split up into petty kingdoms but now in the process of being being reunited under one powerful pharaoh.

 

All the action takes place in the country house and estate by the Nile of a rich and pompous middle-aged man called Imhotep. Which, it is true, could as easily be the country house and estate by the Thames or the Severn of a rich pompous Englishman, but there all similarity to her Hercule Poirot stories ends.

 

At the beginning of the book we meet his daughter, Renisenb, who after eight years of marriage has returned to her family home as a widow. She believes that nothing has changed. She wants everything to be just the same, wants to revert to being a little girl again – she is still very young.

 

But everything is not the same, as soon becomes clear when Imhotep returns from a business trip in the north with an exotically beautiful young concubine.

 

Everyone's real character emerges, and soon the murders start, the first being Nofret, the concubine whom everyone hates.

 

Apart from Renisenb, my other favourite character here is Esa, Imhotep's elderly mother, a kind of ancient Egyptian Miss Marple but with absolutely none of Miss Marple's respectability.

 

So far as I know, Agatha Christie wrote only this one historical mystery. It is perhaps her best book. The background detail is perfect. But when you consider that her second husband was the Egyptologist Sir Max Mallowan, that their friend Stephen Glanville, another Egyptologist played a part in planning the book, and that she herself spent many years in Egypt accompanying her husband on digs, that is not surprising.

 

Many people these days dismiss Agatha Christie with contempt, as the though being the world's best-selling author (up there with Shakespeare) is something to be ashamed of. Read this. You may be surprised.

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review 2013-11-25 01:36
Death Comes as the End
Death Comes As The End - Agatha Christie

This is probably more like 3.5 stars because I was expecting more clues and detecting, and what I got was more character based drama and introspection, with a side order of body count and murder. Ms. Christie is very very good at making the characters in her mysteries into three-dimensional people, but Renusenb was a bit too naive for my tastes. This was still a very enjoyable read. The audiobook was great as well. Narrated by Emilia Fox, who you probably know from Merlin (or maybe you don't . . . does anyone actually watch that show?). Anyway, not the book's fault I had expectations, and still think it's super neat that she set a mystery in Ancient Egypt.

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review 2013-10-11 23:50
Death Comes as the End
Death Comes As The End - Agatha Christie I'll acknowledge that Christie might have written more impressive novels, ones that might stand out more in the mystery genre and best act as an introduction to her work. But of all the Christie novels, and I've read a few dozen, including the most famous, this one is my personal favorite, and probably for the reason it's unique among her novels. All her other mystery novels were set in the present day of when they were published--this one is set in Ancient Egypt, as the Author's Note tells us, "on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes in Egypt about 2000 B.C." Renisenb, a young widow, returns to her family. When her father, Imhotep, a ka-priest, brings a beautiful young concubine, Nofret, into the household, she "touched off smoldering jealousies" which lead to murder. According to the biography in the back of the text, Christie's second husband was an archeologist and after her marriage she spent part of each year in the middle east. So unsurprising that she conveys her setting very vividly and gives us a vintage twisty well-plotted mystery. But she also wrote what I found among her most memorable characters and an affecting romance. I find this book a treat to read.
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