Share your Agatha Christie Reviews


I have been reading Agatha Christie novels for as long as I can remember and I am always on the look out for a new novel that I haven't read before.

So let's share the Agatha Christie love around!

If you have reviewed an Agatha Christie novel on your blog, place a link to it in the comments field with the title of the book and perhaps even a short comment about what you liked/didn't like about it. 

Here are links to two of my other Agatha Christie reviews:


The Big Four (Hercule Poirot)

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

Sleeping Murder was the last Agatha Christie novel to be published, and she saved one of the best till last.

This mystery revolves around the newly married Gwenda Reed, who purchases a house in Dillmouth and prepares to settle down with her husband to a quiet life. Unfortunately, Gwenda begins to have visions in the house and it is Miss Marple she turns to for help when she begins to feel as though she is losing her mind. Miss Marple is able to uncover the cause of her mysterious visions, but this leads to an even bigger murder mystery that places Gwenda in grave danger unless she and Miss Marple can solve the mystery first.

This was a particularly enjoyable Christie novel, so enjoyable in fact that I read it in one sitting. My favourite aspect of Sleeping Murder was the two main characters – Gwenda and Giles Reed. They were so loveable and genuine. Gwenda and Giles threw themselves headlong into solving the murder mystery. Their main concern was bringing the killer to justice without any thought for the consequences it might have on their life. They went about the task so earnestly and naively that you couldn't help but admire them.

In Sleeping Murder Miss Marple particularly struck me as being quite manipulative – but in a "nice old lady" kind of way. She is able to manipulate the doctor into giving her a nice trip away, and is then able to find ways of becoming involved in the lives of the Reeds in such a way as to be there for them should they need her. Miss Marple is genuinely concerned for Giles and Gwenda and the harm that may come to them, particularly the emotional harm, as a result of their investigations into the past. She is undoubtedly interfering in her own unique way, and yet you are able to forgive her this weakness because of her good intentions.

Unlike many of Christie's other books, the main murder in Sleeping Murder occurred a long time in the past, which adds some interesting complications to the story. I thought that Christie did a great job of creating a palpable air of mystery, despite how long ago the original murder occurred, and of linking the past with the present in such a way as to place the characters in danger as a result of their investigations.

In short, this Agatha Christie mystery isn't one to be missed.



6.5 / 8
Really enjoyable and well written, couldn't put it down. Recommend that you buy it.

If you like Agatha Christie you will also like......

I have found so many great books and authors through the recommendations of other people, and often that recommendation comes in response to something I say that I have already enjoyed.

For example, "Oh, if you like Peter Carey, you might also like Richard Flannagan" or "If you enjoyed reading The Lord of the Rings, you should try the Dune series by Frank Herbert."

So, in honour of therole that Agatha Christie plays in mystery/crime fiction, I thought it might be nice if we shared our own recommendation of which author you would recommend, or even which book you would recommend, to someone that is an Agatha Christie fan.

Just start your comment with "If you like Agatha Christie you might also like…" and then share your recommendation with everyone.

I'll start.

If you like Agatha Christie you might also like… Kerry Greenwood. Kerry Greenwood is an Australian author who is famous for her Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman series.


Image from the Phryne Fisher website

The only series that I am familiar with is the Phryne Fisher series, which is set in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920's and stars one of the most fabulous protagonists I have ever encountered – The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher.

Phryne Fisher has a talent for solving mysteries, which she puts to good use as a private detective. Sometimes Phryne finds herself in the midst of a mystery, and at other times she is hired to solve a crime or mystery. No matter which it is, she does so with bravery, style, panache - and some great food and alcohol along the way.

With a cast of lovable sidekicks to help her on her way, these are some of the most exciting crime/mystery novels I have ever read.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing Kerry Greenwood and have also reviewed the following books Murder on a Midsummer Night, Cocaine Blues, Flying Too High and Death Before Wicket (a funny take on Australia's obsession with cricket).

If you would like to know more about these books, click here to be taken to the website.

So what about you – what do you recommend to everyone? It might be another author or a particular book, whatever takes your fancy. I'm looking forward to your recommendations.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

Given how popular this post seems to be, I thought I would add some further suggestions of my own. If you have more suggestions than the ones I have made, or the one's in the comments, please feel free to add a suggestion of your own.

Bob Burke (The Third Pig Detective Agency series)
Jasper Fforde (Jack Spratt series)
Shamini Flint (Inspector Singh series)
Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher series)
Tarquin Hall (Vish Puri series)
Alexander McCall Smith (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series)


Cat Amoungst the Pigeons by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot)

In Cat Amoungst the Pigeons by Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate some mysterious events and murders that have taken place at a fancy girls boarding school in England.

Two of the teachers find themselves murdered and all the clues lead back to some magnificent jewels which have been secretly smuggled out of a middle eastern country during a civil war. One of the students is able to uncover the reason for the murders, but can Hercule Poirot uncover the identity of the murderer before it is too late.

Cat Amoungst the Pigeons reminded me a lot of The Big Four in some ways. This story isn't limited to a single murder or a domestic dispute of some type – instead, just like The Big Four, this story takes place around the world. There is war, espionage, kidnappings and other such exciting events.

For this reason, the content of this story seems a little bit out of the ordinary for a Hercule Poirot novel. It did take me a little while to get into the story too, mainly because Poirot wasn't involved until closer to the conclusion of the story. But once I got into, I couldn't put it down and I read the entire book in one sitting.

Another thing that I enjoyed about Cat Amoungst the Pigeons is that it really kept me guessing. I had no clue who the murderer could possibly be until the 'big reveal' and yet when it was announced it made perfect sense. Christie did a great job of creating a murderer that it there before your eyes the entire time, and yet manages to fly completely under the radar.

If you are a Christie fan and are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary then this is one for you.



6.5 / 8
Really enjoyable and well written, couldn't put it down. Recommend that you buy it.

Which Agatha Christie Detective is your favourite?

A lot of the comments you left in response to my review of A Body in the Library yesterday were in relation which Agatha Christie detective was your favourite - so today's post as part of the Agatha Christie Week here at Page Turners asks you this -
which Agatha Christie detective is your favourite?


Tommy and Tuppence

My first encounter with Tommy and Tuppence was in The Secret Adversary, purportedly a political thriller type mystery, which in fact was their first introduction to the world. Following a chance meeting between Tommy and Tuppence in a restaurant after Tommy is released after completing his WWI service, they form the "Young Adventurers Ltd" and set out to solve mysteries on behalf of their clients.

Neither Tommy or Tuppence are described as being particularly attractive, but they are absolutely lovely people. They are enthusiastic about life and their lives and set out with the best of intentions to help others, in their own individual way.

Tommy and Tuppence appeared in subsequent books together after falling in love and deciding to live their lives together. When you read a Tommy and Tuppence book not only do you get some interesting puzzles to solve, but you get to see lovable characters grow old together.


Ariadne Oliver

Cards on the Table is one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels and it was my first introduction to Ariadne Oliver. Like Agatha Christie herself, Ariadne Oliver is an author of detective fiction who becomes embroiled in real life murders, usually as Hercule Poirot's assistance but also as a friend of Parker Pyne. In The Pale Horse and a collection of short stories, Ariadne is also a detective in her own right.

I love Ariadne Oliver. She is big, bustling, outgoing, messy and above all an outrageous feminist who champions women's rights and believes the world would be a better place if women were in charge - a woman after my own heart!


Hercule Poirot

My all time favourite - a very particular Belgian with an egg-shaped head who exercises his little grey cells to solve his mysteries. Christie's most popular detective, he was introduced to the world in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, her very first novel and another one of my favourites.

Poirot is perhaps the most distinctive of her characters. He is a perfectionists, an egotist and an eccentric. He is my favourite because I find his mysteries some of the more interesting. There is excitement, action and always an unexpected ending.


Hastings

Where would Hercule Poirot be without his trusted Hastings. Like Poirot, his first appearance was in Agatha Christie's first novel A Mysterious Affair at Styles, and he appeared in many of Poirot's subsequent cases, largely chronicling Poirot's adventures but also playing an important role in discovering some of the murderers.


Miss Marple

Miss Marple is another one of Agatha Christie's most famous detectives, and another of my favourites. She is a beautiful old lady with a kind, if not very trusting, nature. My review of A Body in the Library yesterday was a very enjoyable Miss Marple mystery.

Miss Marple solves her mysteries by drawing comparisons between the mystery before and happenings in her local village. Her theories of human nature are so universally accurate that her methods of analogy never fail to give her conclusions. I remember reading The Tuesday Night Clubas a child and being enamoured with Miss Marple, no matter what little mysteries were thrown her way she was able to solve them all.


Harley Quin and Mr Satterthwaite

Harley Quin is perhaps not one of the most well known of Christie's detectives and he largely appears in short stories that star him as the sole detective. Agatha Christie spoke of Harley Quin as her favourite character and he is described at agathachristie.com as follows: "Harley Quin is a mystery. He appears and disappears unexpectedly and by strange tricks of lights and reflections; making his clothes seem brightly multicoloured like the theatrical harlequin."

My only experience with Harley Quin is in Three Act Tragedy, a great book with a surprising ending. However for me, it was Mr  Satterthwaite that stood out for me in this story, another of Agatha Christie's detectives. Mr Satterthwaite is a character who works alongside Harley Quin. He is a passionate old man who provides a nice contrast to Harley Quin's mystery.


Parker Pyne

Parker Pyne is the only Agatha Christie detective that I have no recollection of. I know that I have read Parker Pyne Investigates as a child, but I have no memory of it's contents. He is not in many of Christie's novels, but he does appear alongside Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver.


So - who is your favourite Agatha Christie detective and why?

* The above information comes from my both my own knowledge and information gatherered from agathachristie.com. Images from agathachristie.com

A Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie Week begins!)

A Body in the Library is one of the better Miss Marple Agatha Christie novels and one that I recommend everyone read.

The story goes something like this: something strange is happening when the Bantry's are awoken one morning with the surprise news that a dead body has been found in library. Neither Colonel nor Mrs Bantry know the young platinum blonde who was murdered, but suspicion naturally falls on Colonel Bantry for having an 'indiscretion'. Only Miss Marple can solve the mystery before anyone else suffers at the hands of the killer. She and Mrs Bantry go to stay at the Majestic Hotel, where the murdered girl has been working as a dancer and it is here that the scene is set for an exciting murder investigation.

The reason I prefer a Hercule Poirot mystery to a Miss Marple one, is that I feel like it is often easier to work out the solution to the mystery. Hercule uses is "little grey cells" and I too can use my little gray cells to put the clues together. Miss Marple on the other hand, draws comparisons with little events she witnesses about St Mary's Mead, and I find that not know the people who form part of her anecdotes means that I find it a lot harder to draw parallels between her stories at the murder mystery at hand.

With A Body in the Library, however, I was able to use her anecdotes in order to assist me to solve the mystery. Having said that, I didn't figure it out – but all the clues were there for me to do so.

The characters in A Body in the Library are so well drawn, especially Dolly Bantry who I just loved. She was such a lovely old country lady – sufficiently happy with her town gossip and her gardening but very excited to be given the opportunity to investigate a murder that took place in her own home. I would love to be like her one day, retired in the country and focusing on the smaller joys in life like time in the garden and lunch with friends.

I also loved that there were almost more police and other detectives (Miss Marple included) attempting to solve the crime. There were the amateurs (Miss Marple), retired detectives called in for a favour by the family and the actual police that were investigating the murder. So many people working to solve the mystery made for some fun times and some great variation in the different ideas about who the murderer could be.

Not to mention the fact that the title, A Body in the Library, reminds me so much of the game Cluedo Р"It was Rev. Green, with the rope, in the library" Рa genuine murder clich̩!

But you know what the best thing about this book is – Agatha Christie mentions herself in it! One of the characters in this story is a young boy who is very excited to have been involved in a murder mystery. He tells everyone that he loves reading detective stories, and had the autographs of Dorothy Sayers, HC Bailey, John Dickinson Carr….. and Agatha Christie!

All in all, A Body in the Library is murder mystery that you shouldn't miss out on!



6.5 / 8
Really enjoyable and well written, couldn't put it down. Recommend that you buy it.

Don't forget Agatha Christie week starts tomorrow!

Agatha Christie Week begins here at Page Turners on the 31st of January 2011 and then will follow a week of Agatha Christie fun. 

You can expect 3 reviews of Agatha Christie books and in between there will be lots of chances for you to share your own Agatha Christie reviews and other information with everyone.