Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Wealthy, mean Simeon Lee has invited his family to spend Christmas. We've got 4 adult sons, three of whom have wives with them, and a granddaughter from Spain, an exotic young woman out of place in the traditional English setting. Simeon's goal, however, doesn't seem to be a happy family reunion. Instead, he is amusing himself by re-igniting all the old angers and rivalries. Of course, it's still a shock to them when he ends up dead, murdered in a locked room. Hercule Poirot's Christmas was another reread for me, and to be honest I'm surprised I didn't remember who the killer was. Poirot was staying with a friend in the neighborhood when the death was reported and agreed to help discover the killer. Of course, we've got plenty of motives, from hatred to money to diamonds, and everyone in the household is a suspect. I like how much even the most minor of the characters has their own personality. Each...
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Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh

Tied Up in Tinsel was a reread for me. I always enjoy Marsh's mysteries and this is no exception. Troy is spending Christmas at Hillary's manor house, painting his portrait. We meet all the other guests and staff, most of whom were former convicts. And then, of course, someone is killed. Well, someone disappears, but this is a Marsh book, we know he's dead, it's just a matter of finding him. Alleyn of course comes to the house and takes over the investigation. Reading Tied Up in Tinsel is like spending the holidays with old friends. Honestly, murders at country houses during the holidays are my favorites. The house guests and staff are an eccentric lot and almost all could be considered suspects. There were also enough clues that we could put it together, which is not always the case when Alleyn is investigating. We don't always know what he's thinking or clues he notices. Maybe I'll go back and...
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Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

So, my favorite part of Death in the Clouds is that a jury believes Poirot is guilty of the murder, although their opinion is not upheld. And really, someone is always dying around him. Granted, the fact that he was foreign had more to do with their suspicion than anything, but nonetheless. A woman is killed on the same plane Poirot was on. Unfortunately, Poirot was asleep at the time. Flying does not agree with his stomach. From the clues on the plane, the woman was killed by a dart from a blowgun. We have a nice limited group of suspects - it had to be someone on the train. We also get appearances by Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard and Parisian chief inspector Giraud, showing the different ways the three go about investigating. The suspects are an interesting lot, the solution's well done. It's perhaps not memorable, but it is a solid book. ...
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Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

I know to trust Agatha Christie, but her international thriller-type books are not my favorite. So, when Cat Among the Pigeons started out with a revolution in Ramat, I was a bit worried. Prince Ali Yusef is preparing to leave the country, but before he does, he entrusts his good friend with a fortune in jewels, asking that they be gotten to England and to the man who will know what to do with them. The jewels end up at a Meadowbank, a prestigious girls school, along with several people on their trail, and this is the kind of setting I like. It's a closed group of people, the students and the staff. Soon, the phys ed teacher is killed. The killer has to be at the school, but the investigation doesn't progress well, and two more people end up dead. Eventually (over 2/3 into the book), Poirot takes on the case. Poirot doesn't do much investigating here. A bit of talking...
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Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Murder at the Vicarage was a reread for me, but I didn't actually remember anything about it. This is the first book featuring Miss Marple and is set entirely in St Mary Mead, a small town where not much happens, and the ladies of the town know everyone's business and routinely gossip about it. Leonard Clement, the vicar, returns to his home one evening to find the body of Colonel Protheroe in the study. Protheroe was not well-liked in town and there are several people who may have wanted him dead. Clement is our narrator. We have a police detective who is a bit, not bumbling but oversure of himself. And we have Miss Marple who sees a lot and has a good sense of human nature. It's Miss Marple of course who solves the case, along with help from the vicar. The mystery itself was good. We've got plenty of suspects, fair clues, and decent red herrings. The villagers are...
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Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Miss Marple is shrewd, observant, and calculating, but she uses her identity as an older woman as a disguise, allowing herself to appear confused, fragile, doddering. In this outing, an acquaintance, wealthy financier Mr. Rafiel, has sent her on a mission after his death. She is to bring justice, but to whom or why, he doesn't give her any clues. I like that the focus here is on Miss Marple, she is doing the investigating, not playing back-up to someone else. Love is the theme here. All kinds of love: family, romantic, deadly. Miss Marple talks to everyone, first to figure out what exactly the mystery is and then to solve it. She does a good job pulling out information and putting it all together. She's a character I appreciate more now than I did when I first started reading Christie's books as a teenager. She's not flashy, but she is sly and convincing. This is not the strongest of Christie's...
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