Agatha Christie: By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Agatha Christie: By the Pricking of My ThumbsWow, another Christie detective duo I’d not been aware of: Tommy and Tuppance. Have I been living on the moon, or what? I like Tommy and Tuppance much better than Frankie and Freddie, but that could have something to do with my age. Tommy and Tuppance just felt as though they had more substance, and certainly they have more life experience. By the Pricking of My Thumbs is quite a bit darker than Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? What starts as a suspected elder abduction twists into a cold case of child murder. A case someone wants very much to remain cold. Christie twists the plot into multiple layers and doesn’t hold back on the wit or charm to temper the horror. It’s quite a good read. I’m looking forward to reading more of Tommy and Tuppance.

Agatha Christie: Sad Cypress

Sad Cypress
This mystery, I think, was much better than Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Sad Cypress starts with what you would expect to be the ending: the suspect in the dock, accused of double homicide. As Poirot reluctantly begins his investigation, he finds that everything points to the accused being guilty. But Poirot decides it all fits too neatly. He turns contrarian and sets out to free his woman. So to speak. Christie’s up to her usual misdirection and does it quite well. I’m surprised this isn’t one of her more famous tales. It really is quite good.

Agatha Christie: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

Why Didn't They Ask EvansThis was my first Bobby and Frankie mystery. In fact, I didn’t realize Christie wrote more than Poirot and Marple mysteries. Well, pardon my duh. As a couple, Bobby and Frankie were cute and the book was enjoyable but it all felt quite light. I wasn’t expecting that from Christie but it was enjoyable. One thing I thought was a bit of a stretch, the victim falls over a cliff, but his last words are “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Talk about focused… A good read, but I’ll stick to Poirot and Marple as my favorites.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot's ChristmasApparently, I’m on an Agatha Christie kick this month, but wow, if I could plot like this, I’d never have time to read. I’d be too busy writing! All the clues were there and I still didn’t see it coming. I admit that with all the whining family members, it was nice to find a couple of people with a spine. Too bad they were hell-bent on revenge. But still, with all the back-stabbing family members, who wouldn’t feel right at home? Christie, not for the first time, borrows a page from Sherlock Holmes in this one, this time a page from The Hound of the Baskervilles with the family resemblance via an old family portrait. It was kind of fun realizing that, like a little inside joke between reader and author. I was reminded of the quote by Edith Wharton:

Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.

Dear Ms. Christie had no such difficulty and good for her. When it’s this good, it’s not plagiarism, it’s homage.

Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

Page 33:

But her sensible, shrewd, Victorian mind would not admit that for a moment. There was no foolish optimism about the Victorians. They could believe the worst with the utmost ease.

They Do It With Mirrors – Agatha Christie

They Do It With MirrorsI love Miss Marple. My first was the filmed version of Murder She Said and then somewhere I caught just a piece of one of Joan Hickson’s versions. My ideal Miss M is a cross between Margaret Rutherford and Joan Hickson.

As appealing as Marple is, however, I don’t know why anyone would invite her anywhere. People drop like flies when she’s about. Of course, with Christie’s usual flair for populating her novels with so many people you need a program to keep track, the body count — and suspect count — can get hip deep pretty easily. I had this one figured out way too early. Still, a decent read.