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4.4 out of 5 stars44
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 April 2016
As always from Agatha Christie, a good read . I have read all of her books and I enjoy Re reading all of her books.
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on 4 March 2009
Published in 1939, a few months before the cosy world of the English village was finally shattered, Christie here introduces us to Luke Fitzwilliam, an experienced police officer returning to England after a career in the Far East. After a string of several Poirot novels you sense she was wanting something fresh, someone fresh to write about.

Fitzwilliam has time and money on his hands - he's clearly in no hurry to find somewhere to live or an income to live on. Barely touched down on Blighty's shores, he makes the acquaintance of an old lady, the archetypal strangers on a train. She confides in him that she has uncovered a series of murders in her picturesque little village. He initially dismisses her as a confused old bird, but later has reason to believe she was on to something. He takes himself to the village and quickly establishes that there have, indeed, been a number of sudden deaths. It's a village which boasts two pubs, but only a handful of suspects (retired army officer, doctor, lawyer, antique dealer, and some other possibilities from the landed gentry and professional classes - well, you couldn't expect our hero to have to deal with the lower orders).

Fitzwilliam is not a Poirot. As a detective he is a bumbling fool. He is ludicrously old-fashioned and emotionally shallow in his relationship with women - he falls in love at the drop of a lock of hair, like a virginal adolescent, then seeks to win fair lady through bluster and the romantic gravitational pull of a detective launching into a compelling mystery ... enlisting the aid of a partner.

Red herrings abound, but in rather contrived fashion. Any reader looking to follow the detective skills of the hero will be left sitting in the sidings while the express train hurtles past. The story is plot driven - it relies a little heavily on coincidence: the characters are barely sketched (perhaps the most convincingly drawn character is a Persian cat). Superintendent Battle (who'd first appeared in "The Secret of Chimneys") makes a brief appearance, but the apprehension of the murderer requires luck rather than grey cells. You are left able to guess at the murderer, but rather through intuition and reading the writer's mind rather than following clues or unravelling a puzzle.

Entertaining, well-paced, but hardly a classic. You long for the return of the little Belgian.
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on 9 June 2000
I enjoyed this book because it had some touches of the macabre. The dear Lavinia Pinkerton was excellent as was Lord Whitfield. I liked the dramatic finish
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on 9 May 2015
Excellent seller, item just as described and would use again. Thank you
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on 2 December 2014
Great read
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on 29 July 2014
BRILLIANT
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on 16 February 2015
very quick delivery lovely condition a great read
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The possibility that murder is easy is the focus of this ingenious little novel. Ideas for writing murder mysteries certainly came easily to Agatha Christie during her long writing career. She devises a memorable opening to this one. She also turns a cozy convention she had helped to establish in its head in order to thwart the reader’s attempt to guess whodunit.
The game she plays with the reader here necessitates having neither Hercule Poirot nor Miss Marple participating. The sleuth is Luke, a recuperating young man who chances to share a railway carriage with a garrulous old lady, Miss Pinkerton, who is on her way to Scotland Yard to enlist help in putting an end to a series of accidental deaths in her village, deaths that she believes are murders. Intrigued, especially when she is killed by a hit and run driver before reaching her destination, he decides to investigate.
So expect to enjoy time with him in an English village full of eccentrics where all the work is done by servants and most of the time is spent in gossip. Don’t expect sophisticated prose or an intrusive narrator. Agatha Christie keeps herself well hidden, directing a large cast as they deliver banal dialogue, and contriving wonderfully well to lead suspicion away from the killer.
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on 8 March 2013
A wonderful story. Couldn't wait to hear the conclusion of radio 4 serial, so downloaded it. Not disappointed! Have downloaded several more by Agatha Christie
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on 5 January 2014
This book wasn't what I was expecting; no Poirot or Marples! But it held my attention and the plot was good and well sustained. so a good read
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