Cat Among the Pigeons

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks singing Agatha Christie’s praises, and I don’t want you to think I’m a hypocrite or anything, because even though I’m going to be a little more critical this time around, this is still a good book. That’s one of the many things I like about reading Christie, even when one of her books isn’t my favorite, it’s still good.

My cover is the absolute worst. I mean, really? I see this and am mentally prepared for some haunted house shenanigans, not the spy thriller story the novel actually contains.

There’s lots going on in this book, and it just sort of seems haphazardly done. I imagine that the reason this book was written was because the publisher was ecstatic about book sales,

“Egad!” The publisher says, eyeglasses slightly crooked and combover run amok. “Christie’s book sales are through the roof! She must write another! This one should be exotic, have spies, and of course that wonderful chap Poirot! Smashing! Diddly-pip! Is it time for crumpets yet?”

And somewhere else, Agatha sighs, knowing the public demands more Poirot and wants excitement and intrigue and maybe she’s just a little bit tired so she quickly writes this and sends it out and shablam! An exotic spy thriller in a girls school in England just in time for tea.

What I do like about this book is how strong the women are. It was wonderful for me to read about a smart young girl who is able to follow the intrigue out to its conclusion, and it was truly her who solved the mystery. What sort of irritates me about this book is the deus ex machina-esque way Poirot is unceremoniously dumped into the story near the end to tie all of the loose ends.

No, thanks. I prefer the ending where they were doing just fine without Poirot and the gutsy girl figures it all out and takes out the bad guys with a smile and a wink. ‘Cause she’s smart and everyone’s acting a little too suspicious anyway.

What do you think? Is there an overuse of Poirot or were his actions necessary for the story to conclude properly? Let’s hear it!

for next week:

THE CLOCKS

by Agatha Christie

Cards on the Table

Once again I am not a fan of this cover. It’s so blah and bland and it upsets me that I could have had any of these: 

all of which tell a better story than my awful one up there.

Anyway. This particular novel has a forward from Dame Agatha. I love it when authors write forwards, because it makes me feel like we’re friends. I’ve already established that I like the idea of me being friends with cool people, so if an author writes a forward, you bet your panties I’ll read it.

In the forward, it’s established that there are four possibilities for whodunit and we will know them all from the beginning. She tells us that each person has already murdered and that they could all easily have done it again. In this way, the reader gets to focus in with Poirot and Battle as they try to figure it out. This mystery is fun and interesting to me because there is no doubt that one of these people is the murderer, so how do you puzzle out who has committed the new murder when the people you are looking at have all successfully committed and gotten away with one before?

Read it and weep folks. Or don’t, because there’s not much in here that should make you weep. So just read it, and then maybe have a nice chuckle because you’re alive and opportunity is always in front of you.

for next week:

CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS

by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None

also published as Ten Little Indians

Here we go folks, time for me to talk about the book that started it all (and by it all I’m talking about my love affair with Agatha Christie books, if you haven’t figured that out yet). This is likely one of her most famous books, and for good reason. It’s a really good book. And a really good mystery.

My book cover is without a doubt the most boring one out there. I don’t remember when I bought this book, but I do remember that it was something we read in my 8th grade English class. First things first – I had a WONDERFUL teacher. I still remember all of the prepositions (except the bs) because of the songs she taught us. I thoroughly enjoyed that class, and I am forever thankful for the multitude of amazing teachers who poured their lives into the craft that is dealing explicitly with other people’s horrible children. Because other people’s children are always horrible, it’s just a fact of life.

Anyway, I also enjoyed that class because my best friend was also in that class, and many shenanigans were to be had. After reading this book, we also watched a film (for the life of me I don’t remember which one), and some of the acting in it gave us the giggles. I’m sure we thought we were so very sneaky passing notes back and forth to each other making fun of one actor or another, but I distinctly remember Mrs. Wilkins suddenly appearing behind us having seen (and read, I think) the whole exchange. I can’t remember what she said or did, but I do remember that movie, and reading that book introduced me to a type of fiction I had never spent much time in before.

Dame Agatha Christie was a woman ahead of her time. When they produced a stage play and subsequent film, they had to change significant parts of the novel because some of the subject matter (abortion and the like) was apparently unacceptable to talk about. You could read about it, sure. But you voice that shit aloud and you’d get a swift punch to the right eye (I’m assuming).

If you haven’t heard enough about this book to know what it’s about, I implore you, buy it today. Read it. I hope you have no idea of what to expect because it’s so much more magical that way. Every time I reread this I’m struck again by Christie’s ingenuity and savvyness. I am always impressed, and this book while always be one of my favorites because it was my first.

I just looked it up and wikipedia tells me this book is her “best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery ever, and one of the best-selling books of all time.” So, you know, there’s that incredibly impressive piece of information. This implies that there aren’t many who haven’t come into contact with this book, which just makes me smile. To have made piece of art that endures in this sort of way, wow.

I like it. Go read it. Talk to me about it. Visit your local book store and pick up a copy. Borrow from your local library. Purchase from your ebook seller of choice. Never forget that how you spend your money shows what it is you support. Support the continued production of books.

for next week:

CARDS ON THE TABLE

by Agatha Christie

*this book was originally published under a not at all nice title, and although things of that ilk should certainly be discussed, i will leave the topic of language, linguistics, racism, history, and the use of derogatory words to those with more wisdom than i.

The A.B.C Murders

Oh my fine and lovely friends, we’re heading into Christie territory.

I LOVE Agatha Christie’s books. One of my goals is to own all of them, and so far I think I have 25. So get ready, because the next 25 weeks are going to be a mysterypalooza. If this sounds a little overwhelming or you’re not sure if you’re into Agatha Christie, I have a few words of wisdom for you:

You are dead wrong.

Agatha is the bomb.com and I will enjoy her books evermore. If you haven’t delved into the magical lake of Christie, come on in. The water’s fine.

One quick note: I organize my books alphabetically, first by author’s last name and then by the title of the book (unless the books are in a series). This means that I will be reviewing these books out of publishing date order. I’ll include the date of publication just because it can sometimes be interesting, but that also means that some weeks (like this one!) we’ll be going through a book that starts after Poirot’s supposed retirement.

This is the book cover I have but I wish I had this book cover:

I like it so much better!

This book was published first in 1936 and cost $2! Wish I had an original.

Anyway, this book is fun because like I said, it happens after Poirot’s official career is over. If you don’t know who Hercule Poirot is, he’s Agatha’s main man who is featured in many of her books (although apparently she didn’t like him very much). He’s a detective from Belgium (so he’s Belgish? Belge? what the heck are people from Belgium called?) so he throws out French phrases and I love it.

This particular mystery comes to Poirot, as opposed to him seeking it out or happening upon it. For that reason it is very interesting to try to puzzle out why a criminal would seek out a world famous detective and flaunt a group of murders under his nose. It keeps you on your toes and I think the reveal is a good one!

Read it! Read it! Do it! Do it! It’s quick and fun and I like trying to see if I can figure out the culprit before they’re revealed at the end. Even though this was my second time reading it, I had forgotten who it was and even though I had an idea, Agatha is just so good that I wasn’t sure until the end! Love her. We’d just be the greatest of friends if we had the chance. In fact:

Friends

Hanging out with my buds.

Want to purchase this little lovely? Here’s one place you can do just that:

 

 

for next week:

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

by Agatha Christie