Stay Tuned…

‘Cause I’m making some changes!

Keep your little eyes peeled, folks. Hopefully by this Friday things will look markedly different around here. Stick around and don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!

Also, bear with me if things move slowly or are a little wonky. I’m not a programmer or designer and am instead making everything up as I go with the help of perfectionist tendencies and my old pal Google.

See ya on the flip side.

Crooked House

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house

Apparently this was one of Agatha’s favorite books, and I can completely see why. It twists and turns and takes the reader on a delicious journey that ultimately ends quite sadly and unexpectedly. The odd but entrancing patriarch of a large and crooked family is murdered, and it seems everyone had both opportunity and motive. How to discover who committed the crime?

I think the book deals with this exceptionally well, because equal measure is given to every possibility, including the actual killer. Unlike my issues with the last book, I find that the reader is given every piece of information that the narrator is, allowing a second read to pick up little hints and clues that are almost obvious when you know the culprit.

I also enjoy this particular mystery because I feel like she’s done a wonderful job of really fleshing the characters out. No one is flat or uninteresting, simply because they too are under suspicion. Multiple murders, multiple opportunities, and multiple suspects make this an intriguing read with an artfully made ending.

for next week:

DEATH IN THE AIR

by Agatha Christie

The Clocks

once again with the underwhelming cover

One of my favorite things to do when reading an Agatha Christie book is to try to figure out who the culprit is. I’m sure many people enjoy doing this and might be part of the popularity behind mystery novels. We like to apply ourselves, try to puzzle it out, see if we can beat the author to the reveal.

Most of the time I feel like Christie gives enough information for the reader to follow the mystery completely, and possibly figure it out beforehand. It’s always fun to look back after finishing and see what clues you may have missed. This book falls short of that for me. There’s two different stories that improbably collide at the end, and I can’t really see that the reader is given the same information that Poirot is given. I know that she was not a particular fan of her creation, and it almost seems like she wanted the rest of the world to see why she disliked him so much through this book.

While still not a bad book, there are so many coincidences and overused ideas (someone may know something, but alas! they are killed before they can share what they know) that I’d have to classify this book as a near miss. A little underwhelming, like my crappy cover.

One thing I’d like to do once I own all of the Agatha Christie books would be to read them in publication order. Often there are references to characters I’m not familiar with because I’m reading a later book. Also, Poirot is much older and retired in many of my books, and I think she had definitely gotten tired of him by this point.

 

for next week:

CROOKED HOUSE

by Agatha Christie

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