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review 2020-07-02 17:29
The Mystery of the Blue Train
The Mystery of the Blue Train - Agatha Christie

I re-read this previously back in 2014. I gave it 3 stars then, but gave this 4 stars now since I appreciated this one a bit more the second time through.


Previous review:


We have the famous Hercule Poirot on the scene again investigating who murdered heiress Ruth Kettering.


When the novel begins we are introduced to many characters who will come to play some importance in showing how and why Ruth Kettering was murdered on the Blue Train she eventually takes for a rendezvous.


Though I am happy with the pains Ms. Christie took to provide depth and understanding to all of the characters I felt myself impatient since I wanted to get to Hercule Poirot.

After the disappointment of the "Big Four" I was glad to see that this was a classic who dun it and we don't have Poirot investigating a crazy crime syndicate in this one. However, there was still some disappointment.


A character we are introduced to in this novel, Katherine Grey, takes up a great portion of this story. She apparently is just one of those women that when a man meets falls instantly in love with her. I wish that there was some other reason for that since I myself couldn't see it. Though it was nice to read about St. Mary's Mead (home of Miss Marple) I rather would have had Miss Marple and Poirot meet in this novel and she help him solve the murder.


Additionally, when we get to the final who and why of the murder it makes no sense. Frankly for all of the pains that were taken the murderer could have taken up other means to get what they wanted without murder especially when you find out the person's reputation.


I was not at all surprised to find out that this was one of Christie's least favorite stories. This just didn't have quite the same oomph of her other novels. I still say my least favorite is "The Big Four" though.


One funny thing that I read was there was the discussion of trains and how "journeys end with lovers meeting" which quickly made me think of "The Haunting of Hill House" which creeped me out quite a bit.

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review 2019-12-26 16:34
Still the Best Reveal...
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
Updated: December 2019. 
This book still is for me the best murder mystery I have read. Christie totally deserves all of the accolades she got for this book. I loved every minute of it and the set-up. I still gasped when we have our Poirot deducing who killed Roger Ackroyd. 
I started reading Agatha Christie about a year or so ago. I had only read three of her Miss Marple novels and this was my first Hercule Poirot novel.

I was once again pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find that I found another new detective that I will happily enjoy.

The novel is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard who ends up assisting Hercule Poirot in his investigation of the murder of Roger Ackroyd.

A widow named Mrs. Ferrars is found dead of what is believed to be an accident. Mrs. Ferrars was seeing Roger Ackroyd who all of the village believed was on the cusp of proposing to her.

After her death, Roger Ackroyd comes forward stating that Mrs. Ferrars admitted killing her husband and that she committed suicide. After his revelation Roger Ackroyd is found murdered in his locked study.

The mystery novel includes so many suspects that you will find yourself second guessing everyone. Agatha Christie writes so well that you have no idea that all along she is slipping you clues until the very end.

I can actually say that when you get to who murdered Roger Ackroyd it will surprise and stun you.

As soon as I finished this novel I went right back and read it all over again to see if I could catch the clues that Poriot points to after his unmasking of the murder.

Would definitely recommend reading this and all of Agatha Christie's novels!


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review 2019-11-30 19:51
Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Holiday Mystery
Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Holiday Mystery - Agatha Christie

This was a lot of fun, and will be hard for me to review for fear of spoilers.


Old Simeon Lee has called his family to him for Christmas. But not for merriment and goodwill toward men, but rather for insults and maliciousness. Then, Simeon ends up murdered rather gorily. The police and Poirot arrive on the scene, and what follows is another delightful Agatha Christie mystery in which family secrets are exposed and we--and the family--are left wondering how a man was murdered when the door was locked from the inside and the windows were shut.


I am definitely adding this to my list of annual rereads!



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review 2019-10-17 18:29
Great Peek at Poirot During Christmas
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story - Agatha Christie

Well this was short, but sweet. I loved the set-up of Poirot going to an old country house in order to retrieve something for a prince. While there though not only does he get to the bottom of the mystery of a stolen item, but is also able to help sway a young woman to her future. No Hastings, which is a disappointment, but everything else works. This would definitely be a great story for the Festive Tasks that we do every year.


"The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding" follows Poirot being asked by a higher up in the British government, to help a foreign prince retrieve a priceless ruby that got stolen from him by a special friend of his. Poirot is implored to go to Kings Lacey and stay with the Laceys during Christmas. Poirot who loathes cold wants to stay in his modern little flat with the heating and plumbing. He finally agrees to go and while there manages to figure out who is behind the stolen ruby and direct a young woman away from a bad romance.


So Poirot was actually agreeable to me in this one. Usually he drives me a bit insane, but he is really there to listen to certain characters and give advice. My favorite part of this story was him talking to Mrs. Lacey who is concerned that her granddaughter Sarah has become involved with a man named Desmond Lee-Wortley. Mrs. Lacey and Poirot comment on how much has changed with young girls of the day (this book takes place in the 1960s I assume since it was published in 1960) and how "far" they seem to go with unreliable young men. 


Mrs. Lacey is quite smart and reminds me a bit of past Christie characters (an older relative knowing what's what and the best way to get a young woman over an infatuation with an unremarkable man) and definitely knows what what.

I liked Sarah a lot and she seemed to be realizing that maybe things with her beau Desmond are not all they are cracked up to be.

We also have secondary characters like the Lacey's grandson, the aging butler, the cook, and other friends as well. 

So the writing was really good and maybe I laughed at Christie talking about how young women nowadays dress terribly and don't wash or brush their hair. Was this a thing in England at the time? Yikes. I always laugh a bit that Poirot via Christie laments the changes in the young and how things were much better back in the day.

The flow really works and the story moves along nicely. We have Poirot arriving before Christmas day, Christmas, and then the day after.


The setting of this country house that is much too large (though modernized here and there) definitely to not be the norm for the time that this book is taking place. Lots of Christie books it seems get into the small fortune that many had to pay to upkeep family homes and how they have to be let and or sold off (see The Body in the Library and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side to see how the Bantrys eventually sold off their home). 


The mystery gets nicely resolved and it's up to the reader to imagine what is next for some of the characters in the story. But based on past Christie books it's pretty obvious what Sarah is going to end up doing next. Or who she will end up with. 


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review 2019-07-11 19:34
Book Review: Five Little Pigs
Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot, #24) - Agatha Christie

Book: Five Little Pigs


Author: Agatha Christie


Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Summary: Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other "little pigs" who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home. Sixteen years later, Caroline's daughter is determined to prove her mother's innocence, and Poirot just can't get that nursery rhyme out of his mind. -William Morrow, 1943.

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