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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 June 2007
As a die hard Christie fan, and loving the previous four T&T books, I felt I had to slog through and finish this one, and although the whodunnit is answered after a fashion, I still don't know whydunnit. Christie wrote this one as an aged writer and it shows, with the main characters, themselves in their seventies, prattling on about nothing interesting or germane, and "witness" characters sounding like a visit with aged relatives who talk about people you have never met and they can't seem to quite remember. Although in the end we do find out who did the actual dastardly deed(s), it doesn't seem to matter; I won't type out a spoiler here as far as motive, suffice it to say it was very unsatisfying and confusing. Perhaps an English reader would get more out of it as there are references to what I think are actual historical events that happened in England, but I can only guess. If you are a fan of T&T by all means read this one as it is the last, but for all other Christie readers I say skip it.
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VINE VOICEon 9 April 2007
If you are a diehard Christie fan who has already devoured most of her work, go out and buy this book, you know you'll have to read it sooner or later! If on the other hand you're new to Christie, avoid this one like the plague, it could put you off for life. The last book she wrote is, in a word, dreadful. No plot, no mystery, reams of trivial and inconsequential conversations which go nowhere and have no relevance - it's like eavesdropping on a couple of senile old biddies sat behind you on the bus! How it ever got published in this form is the biggest mystery. I guess by this time her publishers realised that anything bearing the name 'Agatha Christie' would sell by the shedload, no matter how bad. And it's still selling today, so it seems they were right! And you thought 'Passenger To Frankfurt' was bad...............
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on 28 October 2007
...and remember this is her last book. She uses her characters Tommy and Tuppence to say goodbye, and to go back to her early youth. The house they buy is the house she grew up in on the outskirts of Torquay (since demolished and built over with villas). In her mind, though, it still exists, and it still contains all her old toys and books. It also contains the past, always a Christie obsession. She loved to note how things changed and got forgotten - and how other things, like megalomaniac plans for running the world, were always coming back in different forms. T&T reminisce about all their old cases, and meet a couple of characters from previous books (Mr Robinson and Colonel Pikeaway). By delving in the distant past through the misty memories of old-age pensioners and the legends that have been handed down to the latest generation, our heroes find the "papers" various factions have been seeking for decades. A missing mastermind? A worldwide association recruiting vulnerable young people to commit deeds of violence? Is that so unlikely? After this novel, like Prospero, Christie put her toys back in their box.
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on 29 June 1999
The only reason I kept reading this book after the few initial chapters was that its written by Agatha Christie. I have always enjoyed her mysteries but this one was extremely boring and repetitive, wasn't much of a mystery anyway. I love the way Agatha Christie shapes her characters in other books but if one wants to keep admiring her genius, avoid Postern Of Fate.
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on 31 December 2015
Not her best. In fact, probably her worst, and I write this as someone who has read and loved all of Christie's novels. Tommy and Tuppence are old now; Agatha Christie is old, and boy does it show. We get endless, rambling, circular discussions about dogs and gardens and electricians and children's books, and how The Laurels is a silly name for a house, which are all quite inconsequential to the plot. Tommy and Tuppence go and see a lot of other old people and have the same endless, rambling, circular conversations over and over, with very little information forthcoming. At one point they find a pocketbook and spend a page and a half speculating and free associating about what could be in it, instead of just opening the damn thing. This rather sums up the book in its entirety.

The premise has great potential: our heroes must solve a generations-old murder with just two sentences to go on, which only the very oldest inhabitants can remember first-hand, beset by decades of rumour and misinformation; but unfortunately the plot that Christie cooked up just bumbles blindly about, occasionally walking the dog, not actually discovering any useful information or clues, and the (rather weak) solution is then summarily disclosed in the final chapter by a supporting character who had apparently forgotten to mention earlier that he knew the whole story. For diehards and completists only.
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on 26 June 2001
The last book published before Christie's death turns out to be a big let down. The Beresfords have become tedious and the endless conversations about dogs are a huge turn off - more at home in one of the children's books with which this story abounds. Unlike the previous Tommy and Tuppence books, the action is minimal and it is a real struggle to finish this book. The end is predictable and the one moment of excitement not even that excitement. Also, the old enemies in the past idead is dredged up again from the vastly superior 'The Secret Adversary' and we are left with a tired old book which doesn't deliver. Avoid.
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on 15 September 2015
Great story, brilliantly read. Despite being second hand x-library stock the tapes play as new. Nothing beats cassettes - they may be old fashioned but one can listen to them in bed, they will switch themselves off when reaching the end, and above all you don't need earphones! (And new recorders/players still available on the open market.)
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on 28 June 2013
Tommy and Tuppence are highly intelligent and resourceful people and they are shown to be a bit 'woolly' in parts here. Their 'elderly' status is a tad overplayed. Nevertheless it grips you and you want to make sure they come out OK in the end as you know they will.
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on 21 December 2015
I would have said that even a bad Agatha Christie would be better than any of the modern fiction writers, but having slogged through this, I'd have to change that opinion. Her publishers should have suppressed this travesty.
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on 24 March 2014
This book was, I understand, the last one Agatha Christie wrote before her death and I am so sorry to say, you can tell. The storyline wanders, could be told in one chapter and really isn't very satisfactory at the end either! She waffles through 80% of the story with conversations and statements which either repeat themselves or have nothing whatsoever to do with the storyline. The storyline is so weak as to almost be non-existent. I am a total Agatha Christie fan and must have read almost everything she has written, but her Tommy and Tuppence books are, in my opinion, her weak links.although N or M was really rather good but the characters were then still in middle age but in this book they are now in their 70s - and it kind of shows!! My least favourite of the 80 something she wrote I am afraid.
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