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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Vintage Whodunnit
I don't personally tend to be very fond of the early Christie novels overall. They usually seem a bit lightweight, a bit too sparse and economical, and too full of Bright Young Things making glib jokes and arch comments all the time. There is a bit of that in 'The Sittaford Mystery', (published in 1931), but on the whole this is a very readable mystery novel. Set in a...
Published on 6 April 2006 by S. Hapgood

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best
But it has its moments. The South African Willetts are accused of being typical colonials - their hospitality is too effusive. Mrs W wears a knitted suit that is just a little too dressy for the country. What was her "afternoon frock" like, I wonder? Emily (trying to solve the mystery and get her fiancee off the hook) cries on her landlady's shoulder to get some...
Published 12 months ago by L. R. Fisher


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Vintage Whodunnit, 6 April 2006
By 
S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
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I don't personally tend to be very fond of the early Christie novels overall. They usually seem a bit lightweight, a bit too sparse and economical, and too full of Bright Young Things making glib jokes and arch comments all the time. There is a bit of that in 'The Sittaford Mystery', (published in 1931), but on the whole this is a very readable mystery novel. Set in a remote village on Dartmoor, a group of people are holding a seance in a snow-bound house, when a message comes through, seemingly from The Other Side, that one of their neighours, Captain Trevelyan, has been murdered. It turns out to be true, and that the murder happened at exactly the time it was revealed in the seance. When an amiable, but not terribly clever young man, James Pearson, is arrested for the murder, his resourceful fiancee sets out to catch the real culprit. I didn't guess the murderer at all in this one, and it was a genuine surprise. What I also liked was that there was no long-winded and highly complex reason as to why the murderer did it. The explanation when it comes is all too human, and very much par for the course in village life! We are led up plenty of garden paths and blind alleys in this one, but the conclusion is very satisfying.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TIMELESS MYSTERY WELL READ, 28 Aug 2003
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
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True mystery fans may read and reread tales by the doyenne of all mystery writers, Agatha Christie. With the advent of audio books we can now listen and relisten to our favorites. Surely that will be case with "The Sittaford Mystery" superbly read by acclaimed British actor Nathaniel Parker.
In this, the first novel in which Ms. Christie makes use of the supernatural in her plotting, a seance is being held. The six participants enjoy this pastime, they view it as a lark - that is until a spirit spells out m-u-r-d-e-r. The deceased is supposedly Captain Trevelyan. Not only supposedly, but truly as in only a few hours the Captain is found dead.
It was a brutal murder; death was caused by a vicious blow to the head. Jim, Emily Trefusis's fiancé is the prime suspect. It is up to her to clear his name. For help she turns to a retired Inspector, and a very nosy newsman.
Is this trio able to unearth the truth?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best, 1 Dec 2013
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But it has its moments. The South African Willetts are accused of being typical colonials - their hospitality is too effusive. Mrs W wears a knitted suit that is just a little too dressy for the country. What was her "afternoon frock" like, I wonder? Emily (trying to solve the mystery and get her fiancee off the hook) cries on her landlady's shoulder to get some information out of her. Emily is surprised to find that "letting go" and "breaking down"(something a lady should never do) is actually a relief to the feelings. After the villain is unmasked, she borrows Violet Willett's makeup and powders her face which has begun to "shine". What odd things people used to worry about! How is it that we can do quite well without face powder?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was glued to my seat for this mystery..., 1 Sep 2012
By 
C. FULLER (Brixham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Originally broadcast back in 1990 this is a superior Agatha Christie story handled expertly by dramatist Michael Bakewell and regular Agatha Christie radio drama director Enyd Williams.
As someone who has enjoyed BBC radio drama for over 5 decades this is certainly in my top few plays to date. Yes, I did have an idea about who dunnit early on but I still found it a surprise as to why they dunnit!
The play is full of well known voices and Geoffrey Whitehead was excellent as Inspector Narracott. Listen out for that well known actor John Moffatt but not as Poirot this time. Archers fans will also recognise Jack May who was for many years Nelson Gabriel. This was a fast moving 2 hours plus and I will listen to the play again soon. Good value.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Silk Purse From A Sow's Ear, 11 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This Radio 4 dramatisation is much, much better than the original novel, but then the original novel is an awful mess that reads like it is two disorganised novelettes badly sewn together. This play is far more coherent than the novel, the scriptwriter has managed to whip the the plot and characters into shape; but what a strange choice it is for a dramatisation... If they wanted to dramatise an eerie Agatha Christie with a strong whiff of the supernatural, there are so many other, better, books they could have taken. What about doing The Mysterious Mr Quinn? There aren't enough Harlequin/Detectives in English literature, and we should make the most of the ones we have.
Be that as it may, this is an enjoyable play. The Sittaford Mystery centres around the death of an irrascable old landlord whose death is foretold by an ouija board at a party held by his own tenants. Entire communities are snowed in; there are escaped convicts scampering about Dartmoor; desperately needy people inherit large sums of money; mysterious foreigners abound; everybody is under suspicion; and bright young thing Emily Trefusis is looking for a husband. So all the elements for a romp through Agatha-Christie-land are present and a rollicking good time is had by all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Radio drama at its best, 22 Nov 2009
The Sittaford Mystery combines the elements of the cosy life of a village cut off by snow , a murder mystery , love interest and a nod to Conan Doyle. One of Christie's early works I believe, certainly no Poirot or Miss Marple in evidence here. Clear convincing acting, with some famous voices. The story appears edited oddly in parts, so that some of the plot links seem to be missing , but this does not detract from the climax.
The plot and production hold the listener's attention. Violent death there may be, but listening to this product brings comfort and enjoyment !
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best, 5 Aug 2014
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Whilst I love everything Agatha has written, certain books I find less memorable than others, and the Sittaford Mistery is one of them. Although cleverly crafted and reasonably satisfying in its ending, I didn't quite warm to the choice of sleuth, the almost too 'wonderful' Emily, whom all men adore and all women are keen to help, in spite of her poking her nose in everyone's affairs. There is a sort of naivety about this book which reveals it as one of her early efforts and I am now keen to move on to one of her more substantial novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry Agatha this is better than the book, 10 Aug 2009
By 
SPURS (HEATHFIELD, EAST SUSSEX United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
You should listen to this on a cold winters night or even better on a day or night while it is snowing (but don`t wait that long). The book is good but the BBC has done wonders with it with this full cast production. Don`t want to spoil it by giving anything away so buy it and just sit back and be transported to the time of your granparent`s and parents.. pure bliss.
Well done the Beeb
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but perhaps a little long, 17 Feb 2010
By 
Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Poor 'Sittaford Mystery'! The ITV Marple series did tremendous damage recently to this very reasonable early Christie novel, changing almost everything including the identity of the murderer and practically the entire cast! Thankfully, this BBC Radio play stays much closer to the source material. 'Sittaford' is a 'non-series' novel - this is no Miss Marple or Poirot to solve the murder. Here, the honours are taken jointly by the likeable Inspector Narracot, bright young thing Emily Trefusis and decent journalist Charles Enderby. This adaptation follows the novel very closely and that is perhaps its one fault. There are an awful lot of characters in the book and I do feel that some of them could have been cut out without much harm, especially as several have very few lines and very little to do.

Some of the sub-plots are a little far fetched but that is more Christie's fault than the scriptwriter but the basic premise is sound and the denoument very satisfactory and Emily is well worth encountering - well voiced here by Melinda Walker. I also liked Geoffrey Whitehead as Narracot, Stephen Tompkinson as Enderby, Norman Bird as Barnaby and Margaret Courtenay as Miss Percehouse. The remaining cast are also fine (although both Willets' accents are definitely more pronounced towards the end - they sound very English at the beginning) and sound effects very atmospheric.

I do feel the story drags a little towards the end (we could probably have done without the second table turning, for example) and then Emily wraps the whole thing up with astonishing swiftness. I also feel the audience are cheated on a few vital clues here and there (the boots for example, aren't mentioned until Emily's final explanation) but on the whole, this is very much worth listening too.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Standalone earlier work, and a great Christmas read, 20 Dec 2004
By 
Nicholas Sales (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I love period pieces of detective fiction - Ngaio Marsh's "Death and the Dancing Footman" springs to mind - and this is another wonderfully atmospheric period piece, this time by Christie.
By the standards of Christie's career, this is an early work (around her 15th book, published in 1931), and probably less well-known than her Poirot and Marple series.
I don't always find Christie's characterisations particularly rich and deep, although that's not why I read the books, but this has some believable people in it, as well as some interesting proto-feminist themes.
If you've read "The Hound of the Baskervilles", you may notice at least one similar plotline aside from the geographical similarity, although it isn't a spoiler to reassure you that there are no giant mutant dogs in this!
Christie captures the atmosphere of rural isolation, and life in the late 1920s very vividly, and portrays a cold country Christmas well enough to make you shiver, and when combined with the supernatural core of the story, you should shiver.
While this is not Christie's best book, it is a more unusual work (as the standalones are), and very readable too, with historical interest to boot.
For maximum enjoyment, read this book in dark midwinter, next to a roaring fire.
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