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4.3 out of 5 stars45
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Miss Marple is staying at Bertram's Hotel. This is a quiet place very much in the Edwardian mould with good English food and guests who seem to have strayed from the same era. Miss Marple has fond memories of staying at the hotel as a child and is at first pleased to see that it hasn't changed. She meets old acquaintances and takes some gentle trips around the capital and does some shopping. Then she starts to wonder whether Bertram's is actually quite what it appears to be.

Meanwhile Scotland Yard is wondering whether there is a connection between the hotel and some major crimes which have happened recently. When Canon Pennyfeather disappears from the hotel apparently without trace Scotland Yard and Miss Marple join forces. I really enjoyed this intriguing story with its many sub plots which at first seem totally unconnected. Miss Marple is at her inquisitive best - eavesdropping on conversations because she is frequently overlooked when sitting quietly in a corner; and observing the details that other people ignore.

If you like your crime novels set in a gentler, less violent age then you cannot beat Agatha Christie. Her plots are excellent and her characters always interesting and her stories stand the test of time.
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2012
This is not your usual Christie "who dunnit" and that makes a nice change. After a slow start, the book evolves into an enjoyable tale about a mysterious and highly successful gang of thieves, and it features a hugely likeable central character in Chief Inspector Davey (Miss Marple is a fairly minor character for most of the book). The book relies on some outrageous coincidences which gets a little annoying, but the writing style is enjoyable and comforting. Sadly I found the end very disappointing: the band of criminals plot just fizzles out, and we finish with a bizarre and unnecessary confession from the "master criminal" when it seems there is no concrete evidence at all.

But it is entertainingly lightway and very readable in a relaxing Sunday afternoon sort of way.
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on 25 November 2009
Agatha Christie mysteries always provide an intriguing cast of characters that are so lively, you can picture them sitting across the table from you. The sense of place is another wonderful feature of these novels, and nowhere is that more pronounced and remarkable than in this book - At Bertram's Hotel.

I found this to be a different kind of mystery with some interesting characteristics. The book certainly held my interest, but surprisingly not because of the plot, which I find okay. For me, this was a slower, more disjointed, and meandering plot and mystery. There are a number of places where I thought the story could have been tightened up and better focused, but it is a charming one still. What really struck me and has stayed with me is the sense of place. Bertram's Hotel is an enigma - a place out of time. As the world has sped up and sped by, it is an oasis of old-fashioned traditions and values. It is remarkably unchanged and has become a popular spot for those people, now elderly, who knew it from years gone by, as well as tourists seeking a taste of authentic and original London. However, as we all know, time touches on everything. Bertram's Hotel may seem unchanged on the surface, but as you peel away the layers, and peer behind the veil as it were, all is not as it once was. To remain a place suspended out of time, other things must change, and change they have. There is the core of the mystery of this book.

Only through the keen observation of Miss Marple, her notice of the minutest of details, do we get to uncover what is really going At Bertam's Hotel. There are very sinister goings-on, but there is also a larger social and societal shift underway, one that left me with a distinct melancholy for what is sometimes lost to time, and a sadness that we cannot stop it from happening. A thought-provoking and worthy read.

Rai Aren, co-author of Secret of the Sands
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on 13 December 1998
This book is a page turner, but Miss Marple's contributions to the solution of the mystery seem to be incidental. As with Christie's later books (the 60s +) I wasn't all that surprised by its resolution. For Miss Marple at her best, try "The Body In The Library" or "Murder At The Vicarage".
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on 30 November 2007
Spending an holiday in London far away from St Mary Mead, Miss Jane Marple stays with pleasure but uneasiness at the beautiful, old-fashioned, Edwardian Bertram's hotel of her youth. Bertram's to her is "something of an enigma" : "none of this place seemed real at all .. the atmosphere and the people .." She wanders around London, from Army and Navy stores to Battersea Park, looking for emotions from the past. To the contrary, hotel client Bess Sedgwick has spent her life living in the present and avoiding the past - her daughter Elvira included. Investigating a series of big scale robberies, Maigret-esque Chief-Inspector Davy of Scotland Yard, "bovine, placid, and patient", meets these and other characters - while a new robbery, a hotel client disappearance and a murder in the fog are on the way .. The style in this mystery novel is particularly fine - mature and assured, amusing and amused. The setting of the story - that starts and revolves around Bertram's hotel, zooming on locations in London - fills the novel with the liveness of a multiplicity of characters. Splendid usage of places as turning points in the plot. If you like novels where town is a character in the story, try the terrific "The Friend of Madame Maigret" ("L'amie de madame Maigret"), one of the masterpieces of belgian author Georges Simenon.
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on 6 February 1999
I highly recommend this book to Agatha Christie fans of Miss Marple stories. It has a particular charm involving an elegant old-style hotel and its seem-to-be prominent guests. It has been a re-read for me for years.
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on 2 July 2009
An interestingly fresh take from Christie in this one. While Marple is present, and deducts a little, it's a completely different type of tale from what I have come to expect.

Unlike the previous novel which I found somewhat tedious, this one didn't follow the usual formula. The murder itself didn't take place until right at the end, and while there is one twist which is the same as in one of the earlier novels, the murder is for once not the main aspect of the plot.

Generally, I'd say the mystery is weak - a lot of what is happening seemed fairly obvious, although that might be because I have vague memories of seeing a televised version (though I remember additional murders in that!). Marple's involvement is limited and seems a little odd that the police are so interested in her views given they haven't got experience with her.

Overall, I enjoyed this one. It had a little more of a thriller feeling to it, and an interesting and slightly more modern group of characters and an excellent setting. Definitely not a major Marple one but a nice one nonetheless.
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on 16 July 2011
I was expecting At Bertram's Hotel to be a little tedious like Nemesis but I was completely wrong. Although the murder doesn't happen until 3/4 of the way into the book there are 4 different mysteries going on at the same time which seem to be unrelated but in a fantastic finale we realise they are all connected. As always the murderer was totally unexpected. The book is set in an old-fashioned, expensive hotel in London so the setting is a nice change from the usual countryside. The characters are well-developed and the plot is great. The structure of the story is different to the usual Agatha Christie mystery which makes it more interesting. Although this is one of her longer books I found it so exciting that I read it in two days! I would say this is my third favourite Miss Marple book after They Do It With Mirrors and A Murder is Announced. Highly recommended!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 September 2014
This is a later Christie novel, published in 1965. By this time, Christie was an old lady, her attitudes and tastes dated. An ideal time to write a Miss Marple novel!
Miss Marple is on holiday in London, at old-fashioned Bertram's Hotel, which she remembered from her youth. Still Victorian in atmosphere. it has well-disciplined staff and many elderly patrons. Miss Marple encounters a childhood friend there, Lady Selena Hazy, and is intrigued by her fellow guests - famous adventuress Bess Sedgwick, young Elvira Blake, an heiress, and her guardian Colonel Luscombe, and Canon Pennyfather, who is about to attend a conference in Lucerne. He has a misadventure when he goes to Lucerne on the wrong date and is knowcked unconscious in his room when he returns.
Bess Sedgwick turns out to be Elvira's mother., They are both in love with the same man, racing driver Ladislaus Malinovski. Also involved is the hotel commissionaire, Michael "Micky" Gorman, who has a a link with Bess Sedgewick's past.
The complex plot is managed well by the author, and with her usual ingenuity she unveils secret after secret until the true murderer is unveiled. She displays her usual strengths - her characters are interesting and she is psychologically shrewd, so that the action develops from the strengths and weaknesses of her characters. In her lifetime, she was notorious for making the most unlikely character the murderer; it became a joke. In fact, it is said that she wrote her books up to the last chapter, then decided which the most unlikely character was and then rewrote and adjusted sections of the book so that this person was finally revealed as the killer. I leave you to judge whether she did that in this book.
Miss Marple does not play a large part in this book. As so often happens in the Miss Marple books, she is an unobtrusive, sharp-eyed observer of the other characters, quietly putting two and two together.
This is an enjoyable story, perhaps pretty unlikely in places and maybe a bit contrived. The Bertram's Hotel atmosphere is well-created, dominating the book. Typical Agatha Christie entertainment!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 June 2014
This is a later Christie novel, published in 1965. By this time, Christie was an old lady, her attitudes and tastes dated. An ideal time to write a Miss Marple novel!
Miss Marple is on holiday in London, at old-fashioned Bertram's Hotel, which she remembered from her youth. Still Victorian in atmosphere. it has well-disciplined staff and many elderly patrons. Miss Marple encounters a childhood friend there, Lady Selena Hazy, and is intrigued by her fellow guests - famous adventuress Bess Sedgwick, young Elvira Blake, an heiress, and her guardian Colonel Luscombe, and Canon Pennyfather, who is about to attend a conference in Lucerne. He has a misadventure when he goes to Lucerne on the wrong date and is knowcked unconscious in his room when he returns.
Bess Sedgwick turns out to be Elvira's mother., They are both in love with the same man, racing driver Ladislaus Malinovski. Also involved is the hotel commissionaire, Michael "Micky" Gorman, who has a a link with Bess Sedgewick's past.
The complex plot is managed well by the author, and with her usual ingenuity she unveils secret after secret until the true murderer is unveiled. She displays her usual strengths - her characters are interesting and she is psychologically shrewd, so that the action develops from the strengths and weaknesses of her characters. In her lifetime, she was notorious for making the most unlikely character the murderer; it became a joke. In fact, it is said that she wrote her books up to the last chapter, then decided which the most unlikely character was and then rewrote and adjusted sections of the book so that this person was finally revealed as the killer. I leave you to judge whether she did that in this book.
Miss Marple does not play a large part in this book. As so often happens in the Miss Marple books, she is an unobtrusive, sharp-eyed observer of the other characters, quietly putting two and two together.
This is an enjoyable story, perhaps pretty unlikely in places and maybe a bit contrived. The Bertram's Hotel atmosphere is well-created, dominating the book. Typical Agatha Christie entertainment!
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