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text 2019-01-18 14:20
Bad news for my blogs

Does anyone here know how the new EU law about copyright etc will affect this blog site? Apparently, links are more or less banned. If I’ve understood this correctly, blogs can be shut down or the blogger may be prosecuted for any content that the blogger can’t prove ownership to.

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text 2018-12-01 19:54
24 Festive Tasks: Door 12 - St. Andrew's Day, Task 4 (Books Featuring Golf)
4:50 from Paddington - Agatha Christie
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? - Agatha Christie
The Clicking of Cuthbert - P.G. Wodehouse
Goldfinger - Ian Fleming
Murder in the Mews and Other Stories - Agatha Christie
The Mystery of the Blue Jar: A Short Story - Agatha Christie
The Sunningdale Mystery: A Short Story - Agatha Christie

Golf is key to a number of books by Agatha Christie (not only in the Poirot series -- Hastings is not the only character by Christie who is an ardent golfer).  So my list of favorites is largely a mash-up of BrokenTune's and Obsidian's:

 

Agatha Christie favorites:

1.  4:50 From Paddington

2.  Murder on the Links

3.  Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

 

Honorable mentions from my TBR:

 

1.  P.G. Wodehouse: The Clicking of Cuthbert (short stories)

2.  Ian Fleming: Goldfinger (I've seen the movie but have yet to read the book)

 

... and a few Christie short stories:

 

1.  Murder in the Mews (Poirot)

2.  The Mystery of the Blue Jar (standalone)

3.  The Sunningdale Mystery (Tommy & Tuppence)

 

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review 2018-07-21 17:14
Hercule Poirot #2
The Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie

This is Christie's second Poirot mystery, and her third full-length novel. I read it for my chronological re-read of the Christie canon, which will include the short collections in order of publication.

She definitely has not hit her stride in this novel - in my opinion, that really happens with her sixth novel (and fourth Poirot offering) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Murder on the Links is a middling Christie - better than some, but not one of her best.

A couple of specific notes - Hastings reappears as Poirot's sidekick. He is introduced in The Mysterious Affair at Styles as Watson to Poirot's Sherlock. Murder on the Links is told from the perspective of Hastings in a first person perspective. I find Hastings nearly intolerable in this book - his preening behavior in attempting to attract the fair "Cinderella" is about as subtle as a male peacock in full mating display. In other words, he acts like a buffoon.

I know, I know, Hastings always acts like a buffoon. But the prosecutor in me nearly swooned when he let his fair lady love - who won't even friggin' tell him her actual name - into the shed where the body, and the murder weapon, are being stored. All I can think about is "chain of custody, chain of custody, chain of custody." Someone should've thrashed him. If the murderer hadn't died before the end of the book, he had compromised the evidence to the point that, even in 1923, prosecution would've been nearly impossible.

And that ending. Oh, dear, that acrobatic, silly ending. 

One of the purposes of my reread - besides just sheer fun - is to take a look at Agatha's approach to justice and responsibility in her books, and try to evaluate if it changes or evolves over time. In Styles, the killers were obviously handed over to the authorities, but no mention is made as to their fate. Christie approaches the murder as a puzzle, and much more time is spent on matchmaking between the various existing or potential couples than on mourning the victim. In Links, the murderer receives street justice in self-defense and is killed before the end of the book.

Christie's early books had a romantic streak - couples were constantly falling in love at the drop of a hat. Hastings ultimately marries Cinderella, whose real name is Dulcie, as we learn at the end of the book. That pairing is totally unconvincing, and doesn't seem to age well as the books continue to be written. By the time Hastings disappears completely from the narrative, I am heartily sick of him. I far prefer Ariadne Oliver as Poirot's sidekick, even if most of her books aren't up to the quality of the early Poirots.

TLDR: a second tier Poirot with an annoying sidekick, but still a fun read for Christie fans.
 

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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 SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-23 09:37
Murder Off Miami
Murder Off Miami - J.G. Links,Dennis Wheatley

Well, after a day preparing for having friends around for dinner yesterday, I wasn't able to get back to this until today.  

 

(Full disclosure: I'm not all that concerned about spoilers here, given the unique nature of the tome and the knowledge that the only other person I know to have a copy of it has already read it - and taken way better notes.)

 

The good news is I was right - I guessed the killer.  The not as good news is that I did it almost immediately.  The entire thing hinged on a false assumption made at the start, around page 15 or so.  If the reader picks up on that false assumption, the rest of the file is really rather extraneous.  In fact, I was more than a little nervous about looking at the solution because I felt like I had to be missing something.  It turns out I was, but only a handful of smaller clues that supported the answer.  I'd have really liked having to rely on those clues; solving the mystery would have been a lot more fun if I'd had to search them out.  As it was, I was so certain about the twist, I didn't look very hard at the evidence.

 

There's one caveat to my gripes though; if I'm being objective (and I try to be), I have to say that this mystery file probably suffers to a greater degree because I've read another - one written later and by another author - first.  That one, File on Fenton and Farr, was far more intricately plotted, and strung the actual clues out far longer, than Murder Off Miami, leaving me tossing theories around until almost the very end.  I got that one right too, but I had to really work for it, and if anything, that's what disappointed me about this one.

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