Continuing with the example of the New York Times Books (@nytimesbooks on Twitter), this third installment of books read in 2016 focuses on works by Agatha Christie.
- “Elephants Can Remember” by Agatha Christie on 9/2/16 – 3/5 stars.
The storytelling of Elephants Can Remember was very good and readily comprehensible. The formula was true of the Hercule Poirot convention, and I enjoyed that. The twins outcome was clear to me earlier than I had hoped, which led me to a lower rating of the book than I would have otherwise given.
3.0-stars out of 5.
- “The Murder on the Links” by Agatha Christie on 9/13/16 – 3/5 stars.
A fun mystery, though I feel the book tries to hard to establish cache over the cleverness of Hercule Poirot in that basic detective work wasn’t performed by the police. That aside, Poirot and the plot were ahead of my suspicions of who did what.
- “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie on 9/14/16 – 4/5 stars.
Perhaps the best Agatha Christie book I’ve read yet! This is the quintessential Hercule Poirot book that I’ve read; no, I did not correctly detect the solution ahead of time. There’s a reason for the statement “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades;” in sniffing out something close, I was not correct.
I recommend reading this book!
- “Death in the Clouds” by Agatha Christie on 9/14/16 – 3/5 stars.
Another interesting and quick read that I finished same day. The overt nastiness referenced by other reviewers seems to have been cleansed from this edition.
The mystery entertained, and I missed the solution once again. Clues were present; traps were laid; it wasn’t until the big reveal that the motive (and the murderer) became apparent to me.
- “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie on 9/18/16 – 4/5 stars.
Death on the Nile gets 4-stars for filling in more of the background before the murders than other Agatha Christie novels. I was 75% correct in getting the plot correct before the big reveal. As with Christie novels, the telling of the story relied on the two-handed dialogue approach. As suggested previously in this review, the real-time reveal of some clues felt like more of a sporting chance in determining the plot; the more adventure than mystery quality of this story led to the 4-stars rating.
- “Nemesis” by Agatha Christie on 9/21/16 – 3/5 stars.
With Nemesis, I earned the fun of mystery-solving centered around Miss Jane Marple. The mystery was involved with plenty to consider. The weird premise centered around withholding much of the vital information until late, and precisely who was there to help or harm. I enjoyed the way the form of unfolding the story was switched up.
I figured out the perpetrator of the crimes correctly, though missed the motive. I missed uncovering the players that were the adversaries/helpers as well.
Overall, I give ‘Nemesis” a 3-star rating.
- “The Man in the Brown Suit” by Agatha Christie on 10/12/16 – 3/5 stars.
With The Man in the Brown Suit, the mystery-solving is centered around the adventures of young “gypsy girl” Anne Beddingfield. The cast of characters take a cruise to South Africa with Miss Beddingfield playing amateur detective after failing to interest Scotland Yard in a pair of deaths early in the story (before setting sail). A jewel heist and intrigue offer the story telling more as a thriller feel than a mystery feel, which is a manner of storytelling unlike most other Agatha Christie novels that I’ve read.
The resolution around who the criminal mastermind was eluded me. The chess moves that brought about resolution to the crime was clever; that so many characters were clever in concealing the nature of their behaviors also proved beyond me this time.
To have been so off in my reasoning feels a bit confusing, honestly. That I currently feel no desire to go back and reread this book for missed clues perhaps has to do with my overall lack of affection for this book, which is reflected in my rating. I give The Man in the Brown Suit 3-stars.
- “4:50 from Paddington” by Agatha Christie on 10/17/16 – 3/5 stars.
With 4:50 from Paddington, I found another Agatha Christie novel of pleasant, mannerly characters in the largely British way that I imagine is a real thing. Miss Jane Marple interacts with a pair of elderly ladies throughout, doing quite little in the way of detection throughout the story until the last dramatic revelation. In fairness, the story does tie out as a mixture of train mystery and, as with many Christie novels, a largely family affair.
The resolution around who the criminal mastermind, as with most Christie novels, was eluded me. I am less displeased with the lack of my solving this mystery as I was in missing The Man in the Brown Suit, though I alas must grant this book as another rating of 3-stars.
Matt – Wednesday, December 21, 2016