The Mysterious Affair At Styles By Agatha Christie Review!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie is the author’s first published novel and the first time we meet Hercule Poirot, Hastings and Japp.

Emily Inglethorp is poisoned and dies. Hastings alerts Poirot to the case and he begins investigating the murder which happened in the Essex countryside in Styles Court. It was great to see where it all really started taking off for Christie because I’m a huge fan. It was an historic moment in literature. I really enjoyed it. I liked the story and the mystery of it. It runs very smoothly and look, Christie is a great writer so the talent was there from the jump as it so often is with great writers. We get to begin to know Poirot here but Christie cleverly leaves much to learn about him in books she was hoping to write with him in future clearly. It is admirable the work she put into this book when she wasn’t sure at this stage if she was going to have the success she ended up deservedly having. She clearly loved writing and I love that in her.

There is a flaw to this book. I did read a racist slur in it and it didn’t feel like it was there to highlight racism in a bid to condemn it. It was just there and it was ugly. I know many people would say ‘time, context’ and that’s fair enough but it’s not how I see things. If I think something is wrong whenever it was written, I don’t pass it over. So yeah, for me personally that was a flaw. I do love Agatha but that was incredibly disappointing to read.

The ending of this is great. I didn’t solve the mystery. It is a brilliant whodunnit. It is not an easy mystery by any means to work out and the red herrings in it are very well put into the plot.

Amazing read.

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At Bertram’s Hotel By Agatha Christie Review!

At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple, #11)


At Bertram’s Hotel (1965) by Agatha Christie is another great mystery book by the author.


This is one of Miss. Marple’s outings. Here, she revisits Bertram’s Hotel where she stayed as a child. But of course Miss. Marple is not going to have a nice, pleasant stay. While she is there, someone is murdered. While Marple is marveling at how the hotel has not changed much, she is thrown into a complex mystery that involves a man Michael “Micky” Gorman who works as a doorman at the hotel been killed. He was killed outside the hotel by a shot that came from inside.

There is a great cast of characters in this book and equally interesting subplots which are used as red herrings for the murder side of the story. I like how it was all weaved together. My only flaw with this is the ending. I did see a dramatization of it once and the ending was better than the ending in the book. The mystery of it worked, the loopholes were tied up but the ending in the book did feel a little contrived and messy which is a pity because the rest of it is great. As I always say, endings of mysteries are hard to do but it was the only flaw I had with the book. Otherwise I found it an intriguing and entertaining read. I found the setting great and I enjoyed the book for the most part.

Fantastic read.


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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd By Agatha Christie Review!

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie is an amazingly inventive thriller especially for the time it was written but even for today in many ways.


Set in the small town of King’s Abbot, Dr. James Sheppard is the narrator of this story in which Hercule Poirot investigates. He lives with his sister Caroline and one day he is called out to see Mrs. Ferrars who dies in what Sheppard suspects is suicide. He knows businessman Roger Ackroyd. It was rumoured in the town that Ackroyd had a relationship with her. Ackroyd tells Sheppard that he needs to speak with him and invites him over to his. He goes to visit Ackroyd and suspects he is been blackmailed. When he arrives home after visiting Ackroyd, his sister tells him that Ackroyd has been killed. He begins investigating the case alongside Poirot who is in the village growing vegetables.

I don’t want to give the story away but the twist is brilliant. It was quite an historic twist for that time. Christie was the first writer to do it so it was inventive though it has been repeated since. Agatha, you trailblazer! I found it a really interesting story and so cleverly written. No loopholes. There was a lot going on here so it must have been a nightmare for Christie to keep everything making sense! The characters are interesting, the plot is superb and intriguing. It’s a flawless mystery that has you guessing right up to the end. Excellent writing throughout and a fabulous ending.

Brilliant. A must-read.


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The Burden By Mary Westmacott Review!

The Burden


The Burden (1956) by Mary Westmacott is a wonderful romance with a touch of mystery and drama and a lot of family dynamics.


The novel follows the protagonist Laura Franklin who is unhappy when her younger sister Shirley is born. She can’t stand the new addition to the family but one night a fire breaks out in the house and she saves her younger sister’s life. After that, Laura becomes very protective to Shirley but finds that the love she has for her sister is obsessive and detrimental to the both of their growths and happiness. Then a man becomes interested in Laura. Can she throw herself into this relationship and give herself and her sister the freedom they need in their lives to find their own ways?

You probably gathered that this book is very psychological and it is. It is a portrait of human emotion and the elements that can make people react how they do. It’s a book about fear of yourself and the world wrapped in a family dynamic and romance story. It shows that being overprotective is not healthy for either but I love the backstory of why Laura is so overprotective of her sister. Everything in this book fits very well and there is no loopholes by the end. There is a touch of mystery to it where not everything is quite as it seems and I thought that was great. I didn’t see that coming at all. I think the pacing and build-up of everything is done very well. I think Westmacott managed to get across both the love between the sisters and the unhealthiness of Laura’s overprotective ways. Finding that balance I can imagine was a tough job and I think she done it very well. The romance element is there but it does very much play a secondary role to the relationship between the sisters.

I also love how there is a lot of debates and sections which are philosophical and deal with morals, religion, emotions and all sorts of issues. That was absolutely fantastic.

This is a great book, a must-read. And if you don’t know it already, Mary Westmacott is the pseudonym of the amazing Agatha Christie who wrote six romance novels under this pseudonym. I think maybe doing this gave her an opportunity to show other sides of her that she couldn’t as Agatha Christie and I’m very glad she did get that chance to because I love these sides of her just as much as her mystery writing.


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The Mirror Crack’d from Side To Side By Agatha Christie Review!

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie


The Mirror Crack’d from Side To Side (1962) by Agatha Christie is an interesting read. The title comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalot which is quoted in the book.


In this book, Miss. Marple is brought to meet American actress Marina Gregg by her friend Heather Badcock. Heather is a huge fan of Gregg’s and met her in Bermuda many years before where she got her autograph. Gregg has just moved into Gossington Hall after buying the prestigious property with her husband producer Jason Rudd from a friend of Marple’s Dolly Bantry. Gregg and her husband host a housewarming party in aid of first aid charity St John Ambulance which Miss. Marple is invited to. Other guests in attendance are Lola Brewster, Mrs. Allcock and her husband Councillor Allcock, Ardwyck Fenn, General Barnstaple, Jim Galraith, Donald McNeil, Margot Bence as well as Heather and her husband Arthur. It is Heather’s last party as she dies from a poisoned daiquiri which many suspect was meant for Gregg. Gregg had been seen staring at a painting reportedly with a frozen look at the party. Miss Marple begins investigating as does Detective-Inspector Dermot Craddock.

In their investigations, they find out a lot about Gregg’s past. For a long time, she was unable to have biological children and adopted three children. One of her adopted offspring Margot was at the party. Eventually, she had a biological son but her son was intellectually disabled and Gregg had a nervous breakdown over this. More murders happen. Rudd’s secretary Ella Zielinsky is poisoned and Gregg’s butler Giuseppe is shot.


I think this is a great book. The backstory of the plot especially in relation to Gregg’s backstory is incredibly well thought out. The mystery element is very well and cleverly put together. It is very interesting how Hollywood and a small English country village are brought together. Gregg is not an easy character to like. She was certainly never a good mother to her four children but she is a complex and interesting character all the same. This plot is well thought out. You know that none of it is just thrown in as filler. Everything is tied together in the story perfectly that by the end you are like of course, how did I not work that out? But it isn’t easy to work out yet it all fits amazingly together when you finally do read it. A very interesting cast. I loved Heather. She was like all fans and her joy was infectious. I loved how Agatha wrote her. I could imagine her reading all the Hollywood gossip in the papers and magazines.


A great read.


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And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie Review!

And Then There Were None eBook by Agatha Christie | Rakuten Kobo


And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie is a fantastic thriller.

Eight people have been invited to a remote island in Devon. These eight people are governess Vera Elizabeth Claythorne, soldier Philip Lombard, Justice Lawrence John Wargrave, Dr Edward George Armstrong, private investigator William Henry Blore, spinster Emily Caroline Brent, World I hero General John Gordon MacArthur and alcoholic Anthony James Marston. Joining them also on the island is cook and housekeeper Mrs Ethel Rogers and her husband butler Thomas Rogers. The guests are unsure why they have been invited here but soon find themselves in a race against time as one by one they begin to be killed off by a mysterious killer or killers. Classic claustrophobia by Christie.

I love the book. It’s a great plot and is extremely well executed. The mystery and suspense is excellent and the overall idea of the why and who is very neatly done without any loopholes. There is a lot of great things also about this book outside of the mystery element. Christie shows things like domestic abuse, corruption and class and status issues among other issues that probably wouldn’t be spoken about in 1939 so I felt Christie was brave to do that. The characters are really well-thought out and the elements fit really superbly together and seem effortlessly to do so. Nothing in this book is ever what it seems and that’s excellent thriller writing.

A must-read.


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The Secret of Chimneys By Agatha Christie Review!

The Secret of Chimneys (1925) by Agatha Christie is an intriguing political mystery. It’s a short read which can be read in a few sittings. Or one sitting even if you are a very quick reader!

The plot follows the main character Anthony Cade who gets wrapped up in a political conspiracy where the monarchy is under threat in Herzoslovakia. Anthony is in Africa when he takes a job from a friend James (Jimmy) McGrath to get some coin and ends up at a lord’s estate in deep in a murder mystery. The job involves Anthony returning blackmail letters to a woman in England and dropping off the memoirs of a man who has passed away. This book is not a Poirot or a Marple and gives Christie the chance to show her writing chops through a new character in Anthony. The book mostly takes place in England where Anthony meets Virginia Revel who has been landed with a mystery dead body of a man who she may or not have killed but Anthony believes she hasn’t. So he disposes of the body for her and they embark on solving the crime together. I like their spunk together and they have great dialogue with each other. They are falling in love too and there is great chemistry between them. Admittedly readers do have to suspend their belief a little bit at how much danger and tight spots they put themselves in to seek adventure. But it’s fun to read.

There is a great set of characters in the book which is a signature of Christie mysteries. She doesn’t let readers down in this aspect either. You tend to switch from one or more to the other or others as your guess for the killer or killers on a regular basis with all the red herrings Christie produces. So that is great mystery writing. At times, some of the situations seem a little contrived to fit it all together but it’s still a great read. I didn’t get the ending to the mystery though without giving too much away I did guess there was a little more to Anthony than met the eye. This is also the first book in which Superintendent Battle features trivia fans.

There is a lot of racism where foreigners are called ‘dagos’ and I actually would have liked Anthony if he didn’t show racist feelings. A conversation between Anthony and the Baron near the end of the novel revealed both their racist feelings when the Baron says, “Merciful God in heaven! He has married a black woman in Africa!” to which Anthony replies, “Come, come, it’s not so bad as all that. She’s white enough-white all through, bless her.” I know many people would say it was the context of times and it was. I do understand that and that perspective but I am a modern reviewer and I wouldn’t feel fair judging the characters differently to modern characters. I think Christie was showing what was often said back then but in terms of Anthony being the protagonist it takes the likability of him away. I think the way I feel on it in brief is that I admire Christie’s accuracy from a writing perspective but it still doesn’t mean I like Anthony as a character or that I would ‘give him a pass’ because of the era he lived in.

The book is a fantastic read and very engrossing. It has Christie’s usual signature style of accessible writing that everyone can enjoy. Even though she is writing about political matters she still writes it in a way that everyone can understand and enjoy. I wouldn’t be too up on politics and the ins and outs of it but I could still enjoy the book and follow what was happening. Her style as always is natural, direct and conversational and I absolutely love that style of writing.

Another triumph for the Queen of Mysteries!

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Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? By Agatha Christie Review!

Image result for why didn't they ask evans book pan


Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934) by Agatha Christie is another wonderful read by the queen of crime.


Bobby Jones is out playing golf with Dr Thomas when they both find a dying man who has fell or possibly was pushed over a cliff. While the doctor goes to get help, Bobby is left with the man. The man’s last words are “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” which doesn’t mean anything significant to Bobby at the time. Bobby also finds the photograph of a woman in the man’s pocket.


The man dies and the mystery into his death, identity and what his last words meant begins. Frances Derwent, mostly known as Frankie, joins Bobby in his detective endeavors. Bobby and Frankie remind me a bit of Tommy and Tuppence from other books of Christie’s. Bobby is reasonably reserved but still up for a good adventure and Frankie is much more adventurous and seems to relish making plans for how they will go about solving the mystery. They are a very likable twosome and watching their friendship evolve into romance is very sweet and enjoyable. The pair have known each other from when they were young and their relationship overcomes the barriers of class. Bobby is son to the Vicar of Marchbolt while Frankie (Lady Frances) is daughter to the Earl of Marchington but neither could care less and good for them.


This is a standalone book which is a shame because it would be nice to read more of Bobby’s and Frankie’s adventures. But I guess Dame Aggie couldn’t be expected to do an on-going series with all her characters as much as many of her readers like me would like her to have. Some moments in the book do seem slightly contrived to move the book and the case on and you do find yourself saying to just go with it for the sake of the story. But it is a brilliant light read and I could forgive these moments of contrivances because the story was so entertaining and interesting. There is also a wonderful array of suspects in true Christie style and two great detectives in Bobby and Frankie.


I did guess who the guilty party/parties were but there was still great mystery to the book. How Christie weaved together the plot was really as always quite genius even here in one of her earlier works. She also kept back the mystery of the man’s final words very well and without giving too much away played a trick on any readers who like to assume too much. I’m not too fond of assumptions being made so I quite liked her bit of trickery to be honest. Still not giving too much away it was quite modern writing in this aspect which was fabulous.


A really great read. Light, fun, intriguing and engrossing.


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Endless Night By Agatha Christie Review!

Image result for endless night agatha christie


Endless Night (1967) by Agatha Christie is a gripping book with a great twist in the tale.


This book is narrated by the main character Michael Rogers. Soon into the story the working-class narrator who changes jobs regularly meets a rich heiress Fenella “Ellie” Guteman near the spot where their future home is to be. They soon fall in love and marry. Ellie puts money forward to build Gipsy’s Acre to start their new life together and Michael brings his friend architect Rudolf Santonix on board to build the house. Like most of Christie’s mysteries there is many characters in this book which leaves the reader with many suspects to choose from. Always exciting. In this particular mystery we meet Miss Esther Lee who warns Ellie to leave or something bad will happen. I really like Esther, she’s my favourite character in the book. She is just this interesting and eccentric woman who is just wonderful and intriguing. Of course in the small village they all think (or maintain in any case) that she’s batty but as the book progresses we realise she’s quite clever and very in tune with what’s going on. We also meet Major Phillpot who is the village ‘god’ and becomes friends with Michael, Claudia Hardcastle who Ellie goes horse riding with, Claudia Hardcastle’s ex husband Stanford Lloyd, Greta Anderson who is Ellie’s secretary and friend who Ellie asks to stay with them, Cora Van Stuyvesant who is Ellie’s stepmother, Andrew Lipincott who is Ellie’s trustee and guardian, Frank Barton who is the husband of Ellie’s aunt and Mrs Rogers who is Michael’s mother.


As the story progresses, Esther’s warnings begin to scare Ellie and soon she is found dead after going horse riding. The inquest finds that it was heart failure and falling off her horse which killed her. But was it? Add into this, Rudolf  dies in hospital saying to Michael, “Why didn’t you go the other way?” Following this, Michael goes to America to Ellie’s funeral and gets the inheritance she left him in her will. But more death is around the corner when Esther’s and Claudia’s bodies are found and now Ellie’s death is being seen as possibly more sinister.


So this is a book with four deaths which makes it very intriguing because there is so many options for each death throwing the reader in different directions. I didn’t figure out the outcome of this mystery when I read the book but afterwards it was like, “Yeah, that makes sense”. Christie has weaved this mystery together wonderfully. It’s complex with four very different characters being killed but it ties together brilliantly and with that wonderful talent Christie had of a complex mystery been tied up with simplicity. It is a very clever mystery in which you can literally trust no one involved and the way Christie chose to write the story aids the overall thriller element very well.


Beautifully crafted and a great read that keeps you turning page after page and ending up reading more than you planned to read in one sitting. Wonderful.


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The Murder At The Vicarage By Agatha Christie Review!

Image result for the murder at the vicarage


I’m currently taking part in the Agatha Christie Readathon by James J. Cudney from the blog  This Is My Truth Now.

This is the final review of four books by Queen Agatha. 🙂


The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) by Agatha Christie is the first book featuring Miss Marple. The book is narrated by Parson Clement, who is the vicar of St Mary Mead, where Miss Marple is a resident. Fellow resident Colonel Protherone is killed in the vicar’s study and leaves Miss Marple in a dilemma as everyone seems to have a reason to do away with him. In fact Miss Marple can think of at least seven people who have a reason to kill the Colonel.

On the case with Miss Marple and Parson Clement is Chief Constable Melcheff and Inspector Slack. And there is a whole cast of characters joining them. As well as the highly unlikable Colonel Lucius Protheroe (R.I.P), there’s the Colonel’s wife Anne Protheroe, the Colonel’s daughter from his first marriage before Anne, Lettice Protheroe, the vicar’s wife Griselda Clement, the vicar’s nephew Dennis Clement, Parson Clement’s and Griselda’s housemaid Mary Adams, archaeologist Dr. Stone, Dr. Stone’s secretary Gladys Cram, the curate Mr. Hawes, the doctor Dr. Haydock, painter Lawrence Redding, Mrs. Lestrange who has just come to the village and the three busybodies Mrs. Price-Ridley, Miss Hartnell and Miss Wetherby.

Having grew up in a small town I can say that Christie really got the whole small-town atmosphere spot-on. The scenes with the older ladies talking about all the events in the town and in everyone’s lives in the village was so authentic to reality. I think the cast of characters together is a fantastic diverse mix which all work really great together and ensure that a variety of interesting events and situations occur. I love Griselda. She is so fun and down-to-earth and her relationship with Parson Clement is beautiful. Their interactions are golden and Christie wrote the chemistry so brilliantly in the dialogue between them.

The mystery itself, without giving anything away, is very clever. It has an understated brilliance about it. An excellent read that you will very much enjoy.


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