The Blood Stained Pavement

So we should be reviewing a Christmas mystery, but…

Tuesday

And I have been reviewing short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKAThe Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday! So we are taking a quick break from Christmas to review this

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“The Blood Stained Pavement” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha Christie

PLOT SYNOPSIS:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know the answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. 

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Our fourth mystery is shared by Joyce Lempriére, artist, and is one of my favorites in the collection.

This happened five years ago, when Joyce was visiting Cornwall, in a little village called Rathole. Joyce was getting ready to paint a scene when it was interrupted by a car and couple.

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A man and a plain women get out, but thankfully get back in and move the car up. Unfortunately, as they do, another car drives up in the spot-ruining the view Joyce wished to paint.

really?

The woman-in bright red chintz frock and large straw hat gets out but drives a bit up. Then Joyce overhears the three people greeting each other as the man in the couple, Denis, knows the scarlet woman, Carol, and introduces her to his plain wife-Margery.

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Joyce doesn’t mean to, but as she paints she overhears their conversation. They all decide to go bathing, swimming in the USA, but disagree on how to get to a famous cave. After much deliberating, Denis and Margery would boat around and Carol would walk around the cliffs and meet them there as she hates boats.

Hearing them talk about painting, made Joyce want to as well-as she has grown hot and dissatisfied with how her painting has turned out. She decides to take a break and return after a swim.

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She returns that afternoon, noticing that the group from earlier must have returned as well as she notices a dark blue swimsuit and a red on hanging out to dry at the Inn the group was staying at.

Something is off about her picture, and Joyce isn’t sure what…

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When she looks up she notices a Spanish man in seafaring clothes and paints him into her picture. After she captured him on the canvas, he came over to speak to her and tells her a story of when the Spanish attacked in the 15th Century, speaking of blood-blood being spilt on the pavement and no being able to wash the stain out.

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As he was talking Joyce continued to paint and realized that as she painted she painted in blood stains, drops of blood on the pavement…blood that it seems only she can see as her companion can not.

Shiver

Joyce quickly starts to put her things together as she needs to leave that spooky space, she and her companion are interrupted by the man from earlier, Denis. He asks them if they have seen Carol, while his wife clears the clothes from the balcony.

Both Joyce and her companion say they have not seen Carol, and the man yells up to his wife that Carol isn’t here and they need to get to Penrithar-driving off in the car.

Meanwhile, Joyce goes to the street and looks for the blood she saw but finds…nothing.

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Her companion sees her looking for the blood and shares an old Cornish saying: “If anyone sees those bloodstains that there will be a death within twenty-four hours.”

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As Joyce was heading to the cottage she was renting she spots the red hatted and clothed Carol coming down the cliffs…red like blood.

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It would have been a bit of fancy, except two days later Joyce read about a “Sea Bathing Fatality”. Mrs. Margery Dacre, wife of Captain Denis Dacre, drowned at Landeer Cove. They were staying at the hotel when she went swimming, while her husband golfed as he felt the water was too cold. When she didn’t return he became worried, and he and his friends went searching for her. A week later they discovered her body, and that she had a bad blow on her head, probably hit her head on a rock swimming. The estimated time of death came out to be 24 hours after Joyce saw the swimsuit.

Shiver

So of course this The Tuesday Club Murders, but how was Margery murdered and why?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I love this mystery as it has the spookiness of what Joyce saw paired with the logical truth of what Miss Marple figures out. I could see this as the basis of a film.

Iloveit love

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For more Agatha Christie, go to Ingots of Gold

For more from The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Idol House of Astarte

For more Miss Marple, go to The Tuesday Club Murders

For more short stories, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

 

 

Ingots of Gold

From my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

So I have been reviewing short stories from The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday!

“Ingots of Gold” from The Tuesday Club Murder by Agatha ChristieMary

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know they answer to and call it: The Tuesday Night Club. 

On the case!

Our third mystery is shared by Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew. Let me just say I don’t like this story as much as the others and Raymond just annoys me ugh:

This mystery isn’t really fair as Raymond doesn’t know the end, but wants to share it anyway.

Didn’t you hear the RULES?

Two years ago Raymond went to Polperran, Cornwall to spend Whitsuntide with a man called John Newman.

Wow, that is a very British sentence.

Raymond had met John a few weeks earlier and found him to be a very interesting person. He was an authority on Elizabethan times and was really into the Spanish Armada.

Newman was interested in a ship that wrecked off the coast of Cornwall. There had been an attempt to recover the treasure but the company went belly up-although Newman bought the rights.

Newman told the story about the ship in such a compelling way and Raymond was working on a novel is set in the 16th century so he journeyed up to meet with him and learn more.

He rode up and there was only one other person traveling that way. Raymond recognizes him and discovers that he is Inspector Badgworth.

They discuss the Spanish galleons, the whole thing is something that the Inspector knows all about. In fact, that area still sees wrecks as the Inspector goes on to tell Raymond that the ship Otranto was wrecked in that same area six months ago-no lives were lost but a shipment of gold bullion was lost.

A big salvage operation went on but the gold had disappeared!

The inspector was sent there to investigate, as did the gold disappear before or after the wreck? It’s big and bulky too-not easy to move or hide. So where did it go?

They arrive at the station and Raymond meets with Newman at Pol House. That night they spend time reading old manuscripts of the shipwreck Juan Fernandez and showed him diving apparatus.

They talk about the Otranto, and Newman says that the smuggling and wrecking is still in their blood. He takes him down to the tavern where he mets Newman’s diver Higgins and the landlord Mr. Kelvin.

As they are talking Mr. Kelvin tells them that they don’t like foreigners-police and others. This makes Raymond really uneasy as it seems like a threat.

That night Raymond’s uneasiness begins, and he can’t sleep. The next day he has a feeling of foreboding.

They go out on Newman’s boat but have to return because of the rain and the tempest continues.

That night Raymond sleeps deep but the sleep is awful and terrifying. He wakes up early the next morning. Raymond goes looking for Newman, who is usually up at the crack of dawn, but can’t find him. His bed had not been slept in, and if he went out-it was in his evening clothes as they were missing.

Raymond went looking all over for him, but no luck. He then goes to the Inspector and they start out a search.

They end up discovering Newman in a ditch on his property with his hands and feet tied up.

The night before Newman went on a walk to Smuggler’s Cove when he watched some men loading something from a boat. He snuck up to them and was struck from behind.

He came to in a truck that was full of the missing gold and was thrown out on his property and flung him out. He couldn’t say what the assailants looked like, but he knew by their speech they were Cornishmen.

They searched for the gold and the truck but found nothing.

Of course…that’s not the end of it. What happened to the gold? What happened to Newman? Who is the guilty party?

Thoughts After Reading:

Like I said this isn’t my favorite as Raymond kinda sucks-so yeah, it was okay. I thought it was obvious as to who was at fault, but didn’t figure the how until I read Miss Marple’s solution.

The best part is when Miss Marple schools Raymond:

“Well, dear Raymond,’ said Miss Marple, laying down her knitting and looking across at her nephew. ‘I do think you should be more careful how you choose your friends. You are so credulous, dear, so easily gulled. I suppose it is being a writer and having so much imagination. All that story about a Spanish galleon! If you were older and had more experience of life you would have been on your guard at once. A man you had known only a few weeks, too!”

You suck, Raymond!!!

For more Miss Marple, go to The Idol House of Astarte

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Tuesday Club Murders

For more short stories, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

The Idol House of Astarte

From my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

So last month I reviewed the first of The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems.

I typically review short stories on Sundays, but decided as these are the Tuesday Club Murders, I’ll be posting on Tuesday!

“The Idol House of Astarte” from The Tuesday Club Murders (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marple’s home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know they answer to: The Tuesday Night Club. 

Next to share a mystery is Dr. Pender:

Dr. Pender is the reverend and says he only has one story to share. The story takes place on the edges of Dartmoor, the property was beautiful but had been on the market a very long time.

Hmm…

It was eventually purchased by Sir Richard Haydon, an old friend of Dr. Pender. It had been years since they had seen each other, but they reconnected and he invited Dr. Pender down to Silent Grove, as his recently purchased property was now named.

At the party was Richard, his cousin Elliot Hayden, Lady Mannerling, her daughter Violet Mannerling, Captain Rogers, Mrs. Rogers, Dr. Symonds, and a beautiful, society woman Miss Diana Ashley.

Richard was extremely attracted to Diana, and Dr. Pender saw that this whole party was a setup-a setup to bring her down and woo her.

The house was solid Devonshire granite on the moor with weatherbeaten Tors. There were also relics of the Stone Age which Richard likes as his hobby was antiquarian matters.

The moors.

They are walking around the grounds, but Dr. Pender doesn’t like it. Something feels off.

Richard notices it and tells him the grounds used to be the Grove of Astarte-otherwise known as Ishtar or Ashtoreth. In the middle of a clearing is a stone summer house, which Haydon calls The Idol House of Astarte-The Goddess of the Moon.

Diana wants to have a wild orgy party, out in the moonlight in the sacred grove. To dress up fancy and celebrate. Nobody else likes it, but Diana.

That night they decide to dress up in Fancy Dress, and all dress up. Rev. Pender is a monk, Richard a Phoenician sailor, his cousin Elliot a Brigand Chief, Lady Mannerling a hospice nurse, her daughter Violet Mannerling a Circassian slave, Captain Rogers and Mrs. Rogers were Neolithic hut dwellers, Dr. Symonds a chef, and Miss Diana the “unknown”

After dinner they all go outside. After a while they realize that Diana is missing.

Violet Mannerling says that she saw her go to the idol house, so they head over there. When they get there they spot her in gauze with two crescent moons coming out of her hair.

I am the priestess of Astarte,’ she [Diana] crooned. ‘Beware how you approach me, for I hold death in my hand.”

Richard goes up to her, he tells her she is beautiful but wants her to stop.

“Stop,’ she [Diana] cried. ‘One step nearer and I will smite you with the magic of Astarte.”

Richard laughed and went closer, when something strange happened. He stumbled and fell. And he did not rise.

Okay, stop playing.

On closer examination, by Elliot, it appears Richard is dead! Afterwards, Elliot looks at his hands-weird.

They examine Richard, and it appears he was stabbed by a long thin dagger, but they could not find one. Diana faints, believing she is at fault, and all go back to the house.

Elliot decides to go back to the grove. The police come and at seven o’clock, they realize Elliot never returned. They then find him stabbed!

When questioned, Elliot says that he was at the Idol House and felt something was watching him. He then felt a cold wind, and tuned around and saw a small figure of the goddess. The figure seemed to grow larger and larger-then he blacked out.

Is someone trying to kill the Haydon? Or is it supernatural?

Thoughts After Reading:

This one wasn’t my favorite out of the series, but it was still very well written. I kind of knew the ending but I wasn’t sure how it was done.

Hmm…

For more on The Tuesday Club Murders, go to The Tuesday Club Murders

For more Miss Marple books, go to The Murder at the Vicarage

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Secret Adversary

For more short stories, go to The Man with the Twisted Lip

The Tuesday Club Murders

The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple #2) by Agatha Christie

So I was debating whether to post this on Sunday, Agatha Christie’s birthday, as it is a short story and I do Short Story Sunday, but the title of my copy is The Tuesday Club Murders. I have to post on Tuesday! Right?

So here we go, the first story will be posted today, while the following will be on Sundays as they usually are.

Plot Synopsis:

So Miss Marple is an elderly woman who has lived in her village St. Mary Mead all her life. But even though she grew up in a small town, she has the observational skills of a hawk.

So one night there is a gathering at Miss Marples home: Miss Marple; Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and a writer; Joyce Lempriére, an artist; Sir Henry Clithering, former commissioner of Scotland Yard; Dr. Pender, the elderly clergyman of the parish; and Mr. Petherick, solicitor.

They are enjoying themselves, when Raymond starts talking about unsolved mysteries.

Joyce decides they should start a club and meet every Tuesday and present a mystery. One they know they answer to: The Tuesday Night Club. 

Or Murder Club!

Sir Henry starts them off:

There are three people who sit down to a dinner of tinned lobster. Later that night all fall ill, two recovered and one died.

Mr. Jones was a traveller and a good looking man of fifty. He is married to Mrs. Jones who was average looking and forty-five. Mrs. Jones’ companion is Miss Clark, a sixty year-old stout woman.

Now no one would have thought anything of this except that shortly before the incident, Mr. Jones stayed at a hotel and wrote some mail. One of the maids had been reading tons of mystery novels and decided to go over the blotting paper and see what was written and finds part of a note:

Entirely dependent on my wife…when she is dead I will…hundreds and thousands…

That started the wheel, and they then discovered that he was very friendly with the doctor’s daughter.

Hmm…

They did an autopsy and then discovered she died of arsenic poisoning.

So they started digging-Mr. Jones was a ladies’ man, who’s wife had the money, but he only inherited $8000-not hudreds and thousands.

Dinner that night had been tinned lobster, salad, trifle, bread, and cheese. Nothing of the dinner remained so there was nothing for them to test.

They questioned the young maid, Gladys Linch, who was terribly upset-but had no helpful information.

All three ate the same food, and it couldn’t be Mr. Jones who did the poisoning as he came right when the food was being served.

Miss Clark was looked at but there was no motive-she wasn’t having an affair with Mr. Jones, and with Miss Jones dead she had to find a new job-not easy for a woman of her age.

Mrs. Jones did ask her husband to make her some corn-flour after dinner. However, she didn’t eat it. She didn’t care for it, and her companion was banting (dieting), and starving and ate it.

All guess and are wrong, except for Miss Marple. Who did it and how did she figure it out?

(I will post the end upside down on the bottom for those interested.)

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this! Although there was no hope of me ever getting it as I’m an American. I only got it this time because I discussed this item and them with my British boss. I know I’ve read this story a hundreds and thousands of times and I just finally get it!

For more Miss Marple, go to The Murder at the Vicarage

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Secret Adversary

For more short stories, go to The Man with the Twisted Lip

For more poisonings, go to A Much Expected Murder

And in other news happy 10 years to:

Borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife

Answer:

 

 

 

The Murder at the Vicarage

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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie

So I’m sure you all have been wondering when I was going to do an Agatha Christie novel. Well, I have been planning to do one, I just hadn’t gotten around to it quite yet.

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So here we are finally, our first Agatha Christie review and the first of the Miss Marple series:

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Leonard Clement is the Vicar in the village of Saint Mary Mead. His wife, Griselda, is twenty years younger than him, very pretty, and incompetent as a Vicar’s wife. She has no idea what she is doing or how to run the house.

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The Vicar’s nephew, Dennis, also lives with them.

This day the Vicar has said something very unchristian, but he is being driven crazy by Colonel Lucius Protheroe the local magistrate.

“…anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a service.”

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Never say that in a murder mystery.

The Vicar’s schedule is interrupted by Lettice Protheroe, the Colonel’s daughter. She goes on about how her father is in horror about the artist in town, Lawrence Redding, painting her. She also goes on about how Anne, her stepmother, hates her. She then leaves as she is late for an appointment .

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After that the Vicar sees that the clock on his table shows it is a quarter to four. He decides to help out his wife and go to one of her dreaded tea parties. Gossip flows, even though the Vicar preaches against it, as we hear about Colonel Protheroe’s many disputes; whether Miss Cram is really a secretary; Laurence and Lettice are probably having an affair; who the new mysterious woman Mrs. Lestrange might be that has recently joined the community, etc.

The Vicar later accidentally comes upon Anne Protheroe, and sees that she is cheating on her husband with the artist not Lettice.

“When she had gone, I felt very uneasy. I felt that hitherto I had misjudged Anne Protheroe’s character. She impressed me now as a very desperate woman, the kind of woman who would stick at nothing, once her emotions were aroused. And she was desperately, wildly, madly in love with Lawrence Redding…”

Later Lawrence comes over for a dinner party and pleads with the Vicar to not say anything. The Vicar tells Lawrence the same thing that he told Anne, they shouldn’t be acting in such a way. She is a married woman. Lawrence wishes that the Colonel was gone as that would solve everything.

“If this were only a book,” he said gloomily,” the old man would die–and a good riddance to everybody.”

Not-Good

The next day is an unpleasant one, and to make things worse the Vicar runs into the Colonel who wants to have a private appointment to meet with the Vicar, and the Vicar is not looking forward to it. The Colonel is annoying, mean, and pretty much despised by all for good reason.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Later he runs into Curate Hawes, who looks extremely ill. He sends him home to bed.

Griselda is gone for the day in London, and the Vicar returns home at four to work on his sermon, but that is stopped when Mr. Redding  comes to tell him he is right, he needs to leave Anne or else he will ruin everything for her.

The Vicar then is given a call that Mr. Abbott of Lower Farm is dying. It is two miles away and there is no way he’ll be back in time for his appointment with the Colonel. He tries to phone him, but the Colonel is out and not expected to return for quite some time. The Vicar does the only thing he can do, leave a message with his maid and then go out to comfort the bereaved.

Hopefully that will be fine.

Hopefully that will be fine.

When the Vicar comes home, he finds out that Redding is there as well. Mr. Redding seems ill and is talking strangely.

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The Vicar finds that odd but continues into the vicarage where he finds the Colonel, dead.

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So who killed this hated man? The area is teaming with suspects, and the number ones are none other than Anne and Redding.

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The Vicar, Griselda, and Dennis; decide to investigate as the latter two love mysteries. But as they start, they discover there are a lot more questions and a whole can of worms are opened.

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The clock is revealed to have been tampered with, the actual time of death being unknown. Anne and Redding have tried to take the blame for each other. Do they really believe the other a murderer and trying to protect them or just hiding their own guilt?

HMMM

Then it is revealed that the Colonel’s first wife returned to the village even though the Colonel promised her horrible things would happen if she did. Did she kill him to be with her daughter? Did her daughter kill him to be with her mother? To get her inheritance.

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What’s with all these anonymous phone calls?

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Dennis came home earlier from his tennis party than he had said, could he have done it? Griselda took an earlier train than she said, did she even go to London? Was it the Vicar?

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One thing can be sure, the mystery will be solved with Miss Marple on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book.

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Christie is a master at creating twists and turns and making you suspect, then doubt, and always not quite sure who did it until all is revealed at the end.

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Fantastic book, and we will be reviewing more as time goes on.

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For more Agatha Christie, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more classic mystery, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more reviews, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

So today marks the 126th birthday of Agatha Christie:

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Yay!

Yay!

You may not know this because I haven’t had an opportunity to review one of her books just yet, but Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters.

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Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

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Christie also does not shy away from doing extremely radical ideas, such as having a child be the killer

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Or having a part of the narration be through the killer’s eyes (although at the time you don’t realize that person is the killer.)

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Her work is so great that every time I am in a bookstore I hunt down her books as I hope to one day own them all.

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I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

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So to celebrate, instead of a mystery, I thought I would review a biography.

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Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries by Gillian Gill

Plot Synopsis:

Unlike how most  authors are today, Agatha Christie was a very private person. In fact at one point in her life she disappeared for ten days. She has never released a statement about what really happened and it remains an unsolved mystery to this day.

This book is supposed to be an in depth look into her professional and private life. It’s plan is to look at the works as a way of determining her “inner self”.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I only gave this book two stars.

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I loved the factual material, but it was written too dry that it was hard to read.

It's been done TOO many times

It’s been done TOO many times

In fact her biographical fiction book Unfinished Portrait, written under her pseudonym Mary Westmacott, was a much more interesting and in depth look into who Christie was.

Very fishy

Also I hated how Gill would reveal the endings or important pieces of the mysteries.

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I know most people who will read this are fans of Christie but some might not have had the chance to read all just yet. I think it is incredibly unfair that she would do that, Christie’s books should not be ruined, but enjoyed. Everybody should have a chance to try their hand at figuring it out.

seriously

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For more Non-fiction, go to Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

For more on Agatha Christie, go to This Business of the Clocks was Curious

For mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty