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Agatha Christie sells herself short with this remark--the most interesting thing about this case is the fun that Christie herself has with the mystery! Setting up a "closed room" murder, which in this case takes place on an airplane traveling between Paris and Croyden, she plays with the reader's expectations, parodies the exotic murders in other mysteries of the period, and provides a large cast of easily remembered characters whose lives come under scrutiny for their possible relationship with the deceased.

The victim is Mme. Giselle, a French money-lender who ensures repayment by keeping a black book of blackmail information. When she is killed with a poisoned dart shot from a blowpipe while the plane is in the air, no one, including Hecule Poirot, sees the murder take place. Poirot teams up with Inspector Japp to interview the passengers--a motley assortment, including a pair of French archaeologists, a London doctor, a mystery writer (a hack who finds real murder even more exciting than his own novels), a young hairdresser on vacation, a dentist, and the actress wife of an English lord, a woman who is a compulsive gambler.

Christie's ingénue, Jane Grey, the hairdresser, is attracted to both the dentist (Norman Gale) and to the younger of the archaeologists (Jean Dupont), providing some warmth and emotional connection in this mystery, and two of the passengers work with Poirot to try to solve the mystery. How did someone use a blowpipe to kill Mme Giselle without being seen? How would someone get the rare snake venom used on the tip of the dart? Who is Mme Giselle's daughter, a girl brought up in an orphanage in England? Which of those on whom Mme Giselle had blackmail information had an opportunity to kill her?

A challenging mystery for the reader, the novel is also amusing for its emphasis on the exotic and its deliberate romantic excess. Written in 1935, when Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers were all the rage, this novel is a delightful example of the popular genre, highlighted with some tongue-in-cheek pokes at herself and her fellow writers. n Mary Whipple
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on 3 February 2009
'Death in the Clouds' was written in 1935 and as such one might well think it would be rather dated. Not a bit of it, in fact, after reading it I was very surprised to find it was so long ago. In it Agatha Christie does a 'Houdini' type trick by confining a murder to a passenger section on an aircraft going to Croydon from Le Bourgot Airport.As it happened Hercule Poirot was on board and immediately to his embarassment even became a suspect.However it was a mytery suitable to his preference for sitting and thinking things out..giving so few possibilities this was not easy.. yet he comes up with several ingenious ideas and of course the correct answer which evaded me until end.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 November 2008
In its time, I expect the thought of Poirot flying in the air liner Prometheus (albeit to Croydon) was quite exotic. It certainly makes a change from country houses, though the plot does turn to the odd country house later on.
It's not too difficult to guess what didn't happen in this mystery, but not that easy to guess what actually did happen. Having said that, I wasn't too surprised to find out who did it.
Not that this really matters in one of Agatha Christie's novels. The point is that it's an entertaining read, with a few good characters including inspector Japp, and Poirot doing his stuff.
The book loses its way a little in the middle when we go on a visit with the various suspects and witness some pretty vacuous 'romance' writing.
On the whole though, it's up to the usual standard, has a couple of trips to Paris thrown in, and a court scene.
These facsimile editions are just what they say: perfect copies of the originals. So perfect that they have to have an extra dust jacket with the barcode and 2008 price. They are very nicely done, though by no means 'luxury' versions. I like them because they're a great size to hold and look good on the shelf if you buy a few.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2011
Death in the Clouds, first published in 1935, is one of Agatha Christie's many novels featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Ten people are travelling on a plane flying from Paris to London. During the flight a woman is found dead in her seat - apparently a murder has taken place without anyone seeing it happen. Among the other passengers is Poirot, who can't believe a crime has taken place right under his nose! The mystery proves a difficult one to solve and after landing in England the suspects are allowed to go back to their everyday lives. As Poirot continues to investigate, he uncovers some secrets about the murdered woman and discovers that more than one of her fellow passengers had a reason to want her dead...

Like many classic mysteries, the crime takes place in a confined space so that we know from the beginning who the suspects are. The fact that this novel is set on a plane makes a nice change from the usual country house! The suspects include a beautiful aristocrat with a cocaine addiction, two prominent archaeologists, a doctor, a dentist, a businessman, a hairdresser - and my personal favourite, a crime novelist, whose inclusion gives Christie a chance to have some fun at the expense of her own genre. The characters don't have a lot of depth and there are only a few that we get to know well, yet Christie makes it easy to remember who is who. There are plenty of red herrings to make the reader suspect first one person and then another; it's even possible that Poirot himself could have committed the murder!

I enjoyed studying the seating plan at the front of the book and the list of the contents of the passengers' luggage in an attempt to work out what had happened - but as usual, I didn't even come close to solving the mystery. In a way I'm glad that my crime-solving skills are so bad because it means I can be surprised by all the twists and turns of the plot as the author intended. Although Death in the Clouds is not one of the best Christie books that I've read so far, it was still an enjoyable read.
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on 12 October 2012
Death in the Clouds is a classic locked room mystery - a murder is committed in a space occupied by thirteen people, yet no-one witnesses the crime and all of them could conceivably have a motive for the death. Christie excels at creating such puzzles and telling them in an engaging, often witty voice, that is all show and no tell. The secret is clever plotting that slowly reveals how various elements of the murder were committed and why, but which keep as many suspects in the frame as possible until a final denouement whilst feeding the reader red herrings and leading them down false paths as they try to determine the killer's identity. Her telling is aided by well drawn characterization, especially Poirot and Japp, and some nice observational touches that keep matters plausible. There are two weaknesses to her style of storytelling, however, both evident in Death in the Clouds. First, the story is all about the puzzle and rarely do they open up wider reflective questions for the reader. The effect is a tale that is intriguing but which lacks contemplative depth. Second, it is almost impossible for the reader to deduce the identity of the murderer before the denouement as some crucial clues are held back and often they are quite outlandish. Nevertheless, Death in the Clouds is an enjoyable read and Poirot is a delight.
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on 16 February 2008
Death in the Clouds is classic Christie: a closed group of suspects, an ingenious plot, and some extra fun for fans in the shape of one character, Daniel Clancy, a detective novelist who hates his most famous creation, an irritating Finnish sleuth, which bears some resemblance to Christie's feelings for Poirot. Most importantly, the plot is tight, and the solution all but unguessable. There's even a little emotional resonance to round off the light-hearted exercise in solving a seemingly impossible murder.

Inceidentally, unlike some readers, I don't think the story would be improved by having all the action take place on the plane - more to the point, the setting ought to provide clues for a careful reader.
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on 22 December 2010
This Poirot novel, set in 1935, has an interestingly different tone. Poirot is on the plane with the murderer, and so the case is something of a closed box in that all the suspects are known immediately, much like Orient Express.

There is no-one to play the Watson role in the absence of Captain Hastings and so the narrative flicks around the characters with surprising ease, depicting each scene in turn from a different point of view, minimising our time in Poirot's head so as not to give the reader too many clues. The internal dialogues of the characters play a large part in this which gives it a different flavour which seems unusual at first but soon slots into place.

The story is a good one, in keeping with the traditional ideal of presenting all the clues to the reader so that they can try to guess. I didn't succeed in solving the crime, Despite several of the clues and red herrings being rather obvious. The insertion of an author of detective stories as one of the suspects is a stroke of comic genius on Christie's part, which she uses to gently poke fun at her own chosen genre.

Overall, an enjoyable light read and certainly one f the better mysteries Poirot has solved.
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on 30 April 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book. Its one of Christies/ Poirot's best. The characters were all well developped and I was really surprised when I found out who the murderer was. Even when I read it a second time I only found one clue towards it being him/ her, so Poirot should be proud!
This is one of the books where there is a element of romance in the story, and the reader can see Christie's other side as Mary Westmacott, her pen name as she wrote romance stories. And there is a happy ending, always nice in a crime book.
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This is one of Agatha Christie's most enjoyable mysteries, with Poirot not only solving the murder but also enjoying success with his match making powers. It is during a flight from Paris to Croydon that a murder takes place - when moneylender and blackmailer Madame Giselle is found slumped in her seat, apparently killed by a poisoned blow dart. The whole thing seems incredible and Poirot sets out to discover who the culprit is, while protecting the innocent. There are some wonderful suspects here - a crime writer, a cocaine addict and her favourite archeologists among them. A side story has dentist Norman Gale teaming up with pretty hair assistant Jane Grey, who has used her winnings from a sweetstake to indulge a long wanted trip abroad and, in doing so, changes her life forever.

Christie never seems dated and Poirot is my favourite fictional detective of all time. Wonderful storyline, characters and a deft hand make this an assured and well plotted mystery that is a joy to read.
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on 19 July 2010
Death in the Clouds is my first foray into the world of Hercule Poirot, a man for whom death, murder and intrigue are rarely far behind. But then great as Agatha Christie's novels are, they are escapist fantasies. Like the cannon of Sherlock Holmes, they can seem silly and slightly unbelievable if you stop to think about them too hard. It is the skill with which the plots are executed makes them highly enjoyable.

In Death in the Clouds, Hercule Poirot takes a short airplane journey from Paris to Croydon (how the world has changed), during which time one of the passengers is murdered. The only clues are a dead wasp, a blow dart and a blowpipe shoved down a seat. With characteristic flair and circumspection, Monsieur Poirot gathers the evidence before the murderer is revealed in the final pages. A textbook murder mystery.
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