A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

The hook here is that Horowitz has written himself into the book, a Watson figure to Hawthorne's Sherlock. It seems a silly conceit to me. I guess it lets him mention his other work, but we all know this is a fictionalized version of Horowitz, basically a character, so I don't see the point. Anyway, this time around Horowitz and Hawthorne are sent to the island of Alderney for a small weekend literary festival. And of course, while they're there, someone is killed - a wealthy sponsor of the festival, murdered at his own house party. The island is locked down, no one allowed on, no one allowed off, while the police, with Hawthorne's help, try to figure out who the killer is. Everyone on the island seems to have a reason to want the man dead. The house party/isolated island gives us a limited number of suspects, but everyone here has a secret and there are red herrings galore. Horowitz...
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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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A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

I never appreciated Miss Marple when I was younger. Poirot is flashier, Tommy and Tuppence are funner, Miss Marple is calm and quiet. She's also a brilliant observer and is more than capable of telling the detective on a case everything he is missing and who the killer is. This time around, Miss Marple enter the case because a young maid she trained, Gladys Martin, had been found strangled in the garden of the house where she worked. A couple other members of the household have also been killed, Rex Fortescue and his wife. Thankfully, Inspector Neele knows of Miss Marple's reputation and is willing to accept her help with the case, even if he does sometimes think she might be batty. Rex Fortescue is a ruthless business man with questionable practices. We've got a household full of suspects, several red herrings, and plenty of misdirection. Miss Marple sees through it all though. The plot was well-done, as usual with Christie,...
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Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie

Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie

Murder Is Easy starts well. Luke Fitzgerald, retired policeman, meets Lavinia Pinkerton, an elderly woman, on a train. Lavinia is sure there is a serial killer in her village and is on her way to tell Scotland Yart. Of course, Luke doesn't believe her, but then she's killed by a car before making it to Scotland Yard. He also reads that the "victim" she predicted, a doctor, has been found dead. So, Luke heads to the village to do some sleuthing. Luke is a bit bumbling in his investigating. And he manages to fall in love with the striking, intelligent Bridget Conway, pretty much at first sight. She's good as his sidekick, smart and familiar with the townspeople, but I could have done without the declarations of love. On the other hand, it did help push the plot along. We've got several suspects, including an antique dealer who was not portrayed very well, a doctor, a lawyer, and a few others; all...
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Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Jane Wilkinson a beautiful actress is married to Lord Edgware. She approaches Poirot, asking him to help her obtain a divorce. However, when Poirot and Hastings, go to see Lord Edgware, he seems to have no issue with divorcing her. Jane Wilkinson will have her freedom after all. Then, Lord Edgware is found dead, leaving Jane a widow, free to marry the Duke she has her eyes on. Jane Wilkinson has no motive now, no many how many times she may have threatened to "get rid of" her husband, and a solid alibi. So who did it? We have a fair number of suspects, including a nephew in need of money, a daughter who disliked him, and another actress adept at impersonations. Each chapter brings us a new revelation, a dead suspect, a clue, a red herring. Poirot seems a bit unsure some of the time. Just when he thinks he has the solution, something happens that shows him he's...
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Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne is a bit unusual for a Christie detective. He is not a conventional detective, but a person who provides "happiness"; his ad in the paper says: "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne." He's understands human behaviour, a bit like Miss Marple but with more statistics. With his acquired knowledge, he sets out to sell ‘happiness’ to people, in rather smart and surprising ways. He uses a mixture of fantasy, crime-solving, and psychology to resolve his clients' unhappiness. The stories are initially set in England. The later ones are set in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran where Parker Pyne while on holiday keeps finding new clients. I can't say I didn't enjoy Parker Pyne. Some of the stories are quite clever. I didn't love it however. ...
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