Thursday, April 10, 2014

Agatha Christie Challenge - 1930s Non Series

I decided that this was the year I was going to read all 85 of Agatha's books in one year.  I tried in 2012 and didn't quite make it so I thought I'd do a retry.  Turns out 85 books is a lot of books especially when you're reading other things.

This is a group review for the 4 books that were published in the 1930s that aren't attached to a series.  The 30s started the maddening trend of Agatha's books having 2 titles - one from the US and one from the UK.  This makes for lots of fun when trying to collect them as sometimes the titles are anywhere close to each other and they're both available pretty much everywhere.  This led to some frustrating double buys when I was trying to collect them all at used bookstores before the internet was easily available.

Murder at Hazelmoor or The Sittaford Mystery (1931)

The premise of this book is so good.  At a dinner party in a snowbound village the guests decide to hold a seance.  During the seance it is revealed that a friend in a neighboring town has been murdered.  No one knows what to think when it is discovered to be true.  Luckily the very clever Emily Trefusis, Inspector Narracot and reporter Charles Enderby manage to unravel the puzzle.  This was a really fun read based off an unusual concept.  Emily is really the star of the book.  She's a classic Christie heroine - smart, quick on her feet, willing to take a risk and very likable.  4 Stars

Why Didn't They Ask Evans? or The Boomerang Clue (1934)

When Bobby Jones, a minister's son in a little town in Wales, is playing his usual terrible game of golf he does not expect to find a body.  So he is quite surprised to find a man who has just fallen off a path barely clinging onto life.  He has a photograph in his wallet of a beautiful girl and manages one sentence - Why Didn't They Ask Evans? before he dies.  Bobby and his friend Lady Frances Derwent begin an adventure into England to discover who the man is, who the woman in the picture is and who on earth is Evans.  This has a very similar feel to The Seven Dials Mystery but is even more full of twists and turns.  I loved this one.  4 Stars

Murder is Easy or Easy to Kill (1939)

A harmless looking little old woman makes a comment to recently returned from India Luke Fitzwilliam about it being easy to kill it sticks with him. Especially when the woman is than later killed in a hit and run and then when the man she said was going to murdered is.  Luke goes down to the little village to figure out what is going on meeting the beautiful and interesting Bridget Conway while he's there.  This one didn't grab me as much as the others.  I wasn't as interested in the characters and the mystery while unique didn't have Christie's usual flare to it.  3 Stars

And Then There Were None or Ten Little Indians (1939)

The story of 10 muderers who can't be touched by law stuck on an island and being picked off one by one is one of Christie's best.  It is original, it is entertaining and it is unlike any of her other books.  This book is much more action oriented than her other books but still maintains her very thoughtful attention to detail.  The story bounces back and forth from different perspectives giving all 10 a complete in-depth personality.  We also see their crimes, hear their side of the story and how they're living with the consequences.  There is a racial slur used a few times in an expression which dates the book a bit but I believe it's only used twice.  Other than that this book is a classic mystery perfection.   5 Stars


  1. And Then There Were None cemented my love of Agatha Christie. I have a perpetual goal to read all of her books as well :) She was such an amazing author! I am glad to have found another Christie fan!

    1. I hadn't reread And Then There Were None in awhile and I was surprised at home much I enjoyed it even though I already know every twist and turn. It's definitely nice to meet another Christie fan! They're aren't enough of us around!