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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle, #1)
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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  7,772 ratings  ·  410 reviews
A bit of adventure and quick cash is all that good-natured drifter Anthony Cade is looking for when he accepts a messenger job from an old friend. It sounds so simple: deliver the provocative memoirs of a recently deceased European count to a London publisher. But the parcel holds more than scandalous royal secrets. It contains a stash of letters that suggest blackmail --
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (first published 1925)
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Best Agatha Christie Book
31st out of 82 books — 797 voters
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Best Cozy Mystery Series
92nd out of 1,223 books — 1,362 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was really surprised to see that this review has an average rating of almost 4 stars.

I like most Agatha Christie books but when Christie deviates from her standard mysteries into political and international intrigue-type stories she doesn't do it well (see also "They Came to Baghdad" which I actually thought was better than this). The characters are fake and the conspiracies and coincidences are way too fantastic to be believed. At multiple points I considered putting the book down and not fi
My first Agatha Christie book.Maybe I am exhilarated at the moment after finishing the book and gave it a four but personally there are a lot of things that bothered me a trifle such as the repeated references to Sherlock Holmes and some racial slurs. The reason might be the mindset of the people during her(Agatha Christie's)days.
As expected from her,the twists and the turns in the last 50 pages or so kept me gripping. Her writing style is concise with a plot consisting of interesting characte
Agatha Christie, one of the greatest mystery writers of all time - some would say the greatest - was one author whose works I found too creepy to read when I was a kid. (I have to blame this on my sis; she used to feed me Christie's stories when we were alone in our room at night with the lights turned off etc - and when images of dead bodies and children being murdered while bobbing for apples can be quite traumatising and scar one for life:D)

Anyway, when my interest in Agatha Christie was reki
Ana T.
The Secret of Chimneys is my final entry for the Cozy Mystery Challenge and I’m glad I ended with it because the whole story is just so cosy and a perfect example of the genre. It has a grand ancestral house with secret passages, mysterious deaths, famous thieves, compromising documents, disguised identities and fun characters. I really enjoyed it!

Somewhere in Africa, in the 1920s (the book was published in 1925) two friends meet and have a strange conversation about stolen love letters and the
One of my favorite Christies ever. Anthony and Virginia alike are the type of people I wish I were friends with in real life; Bundle and Lord Catterham are adorable (so adorable that I'm glad we got to see more of them in the Seven Dials Mystery, along with Bill and Codders); Superintendent Battle is, as always, superb. The mystery itself gets a shade confusing in spots, and Anthony himself admits that much of his involvement in the matter comes about by amazing coincidence, but what does that m ...more
Norah Sumner
Real rating: 4.5

This was awesome.I loved the characters and the really complex and interesting story;there's also a lot of humor and even sarcastic remarks.The ending is sooo good!I really liked Virginia,she's a bit crazy,isn't she?


Those last 20 pages were insane,I had so much fun reading them!But seriously now,this book is really interesting,with royal intrigue,phenomenal main character and great twists-what more can I ask for?

Favourite quotes:

I'm the kind of person who marries enthusiasticall
"O cenário para este crime foi sendo construído aos poucos de forma bastante sólida (como já vem sendo costume), porém (e como elemento diferenciador) existiu uma forte componente política no centro da questão. Mais uma vez reitero que questões políticas são um turn-off para mim, porém o crime foi construído de forma tão sublime e a explicação foi tão credível que acabou por compensar esse aspecto que (para mim) é negativo."

Sarah ( Paris )
رواية غريبة..
لم تعجبني كثيرا..
لم يكن أنطوني كيد يعلم أنه سيتورط بسبب مهمة تصورها تافهة وقام بها من أجل صديق ستجعله محور مؤامرة دولية خطيرة..
في هذه الرواية ملوك وملكات ووزاراء وقناصل..
وأصحاب ألقاب ..ابتزاز وكثير من الأسرار وبالطبع جرائم قتل ..
جو غريب بالنسبة لرواية من تأليف أغاثا ..
لم يعجبني هذا الخليط .
ما أحبه في روايات أغاثا دائما ..
كم هي حقيقية ..
كم هي ممكنة ..
كم هي بسيطة ومعقدة في ذات الوقت ..
تدخل للنفوس وتظهر أسوأ مافيها ..

الحبكة جيدة رغم بعض الغموض في الصفحات الأخيرة ..
From IMDb:
An attempt to bring a famed stately home back to its former glory is marred when a visiting Austrian diplomat is shot to death decades after the disappearance of a priceless diamond.

A movie was made based on this book and it's available at YouTube, with Julia McKenzie, Ian Weichardt, Laura O'Toole.

Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
A great Agatha Christie novel. Not as good as Poirot. This is also about a 'hot' man and a spunky girl and lots of excitement, spying, danger, and shady characters. No one is who they appear to be. Very cute and clever.
Rita Fernandes
Adorei o final, havia algumas coisas previsíveis mas a maioria deixou-me de boca aberta. Muito bom ;)
Richard Ward
Agatha Christie blended together kinds of crime fiction for this one:
1. The whodunit detective novel that she was so good at. Neither Hercule Poirot, nor Miss Marple, nor even Tommy & Tuppence this time. Instead, we get Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard. Yet even he doesn't play as big a part in solving the crime as you'd expect. Instead, one of his suspects does as much of the work as he does. Typical of Christie, much of the book is set at a country estate in England, though the open
When good-natured adventurer Anthony Cade accepts two commissions from his friend Jimmy McGrath, he little realizes that the simple delivery jobs will throw him into a web of international intrigue and danger. His first task is to deliver the recently deceased Herzoslovakian Count Stylpitch's memoirs to his London publisher - a manuscript whose secrets warring political factions will do anything to prevent being published. Anthony's second task is to return a package of indiscreet love letters t ...more
BOTTOM LINE: An extremely high-ranking Balkan politician writes a tell-all book to be published when he dies, which he has, recently. It comes to young Anthony to keep this manuscript safe and to deliver it to the publishers at an agreed-upon date, not before, not later. Of course there are many folks out to stop the printing of this outrageously true history of a dark time in an old country. With that as McGuffin, rich'n'exotic characters using false names and with many motives, a huge old hous ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
The Secret of Chimneys is the first Christie novel to feature Superintendent Battle, who will, over the course of his career, be the featured detective in two more mysteries, The Seven Dials Mystery and Toward Zero. Battle, however, takes second place to one Anthony Cade, who, when we first meet him, works as a tour guide in Africa. At a bar one day Cade meets an old buddy, James McGrath, who has been tasked with the delivery of the memoirs of the now-dead Count Stylptitch of Herzoslovakia to a ...more
Sarah Sammis
The Secret of Chimneys: 05/06/05
The political upheavals of WWI seemed to have inspired a great many popular fiction books in the years before WWII started to gear up. Many of these books take a rather humorous and satirical approach to the machinations of one country to control the flow of events of another country. The Secret of Chimneys is Agatha Christie's contribution to this "genre."

Ignoring the romantic ending, The Secret of Chimneys is a political satire that pokes fun at the British Em
Sep 15, 2015 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ac
Otro buen libro de Agatha. La historia arranca lenta al principio porque gran parte de la trama gira entorno a la subida al trono de un rey en un país (ficticio) que tiene petróleo, el interes de Inglaterra de que ese rey sea "flexible" a sus intereses y el de un magnate petrolero que, por supuesto, quiere tener la ventaja de ese negocio. Esa parte política de la novela es lo que menos me gustó, aunque sí me parece algo que pasa actualmente donde las potencias y empresarios se aprovechan de país ...more
Virkistävää lukea pitkästä aikaa Agatha Christietä. Tämä kirja sattui olemaan omassa hyllyssä, mutta ei ollut huono valinta ollenkaan. Kiemurainen juoni, hupaisat henkilöt ja mainio arvoitus.
Julie Davis
I remember most of this, as it turns out, but I'm a sucker for Christie's stand-alone "adventurer" tales. Yes, I know this is called a Superintendent Battle novel and I'm also a sucker for him, as it turns out. However, this is Anthony Cade's tale and, as such, is a "young adventurer" story.

I'm listening to an Audible offering because Hugh Frasier recorded a lot of the Agatha Christie novels and they strike me as something that would be good fun to listen to. He does a very good job, aside from
A very enjoyable Christie that felt different and much more light hearted than others I have read.
Marika Oksa
Luin kirjaa ilmeisen sopivana hetkenä, sillä tämä sekametelisoppa osui ja upposi. Viihdyttävä ja hauska kirja, juonenkäänteistä ei ole puutetta. :)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A different sort of outing for Mrs Christie, we have no PI to deal with, no musichall mannerisms, no "here's my head my butt is comin'" meddling by the village gossip--just a rattling good read that made me laugh more than once. I am not used to quite so much light banter in a Christie mystery. The narrative voice is completely different from usual, more Wimsey-whimsical and less homespun philosophical, with just a touch of the James Bonds. The only film I ever saw of this novel was one of the l ...more
اول تجربة و لن تكون الأخيرة أبداااااا :)
Luffy Monkey D.
Unlike other books, I reacted more strangely than usual in two ways. First, I checked previous reviews here. I had to because there was no guessing how received and how viewed this book was. Secondly, I had personal feelings in the matter of the hero. I almost never feel annoyance or jealousy at a Mary Sue, but here I thought of poor Bill and how he never had a chance. The fact that Agatha Christie tried to give even him a happy ending - that came out wrong - is slightly annoying. The story tri ...more
Tim Evanson
Allegedly one of Agatha Christie's favorite books, it's not one of mine. I'm a big Christie fan, but this book starts out with a completely senseless and impossible beginning (one friend asking another to take a packet of letters and a manuscript from South Africa to England). After some relatively meaningless "action" in London (in which the main character acts impossibly stupid), the silliest murder in the Christie oeuvre occurs.

It's meant to get someone delayed, so they don't visit the great
I definitely enjoyed The Secret of Chimneys. I picked this one up because I accidentally read The Seven Dials Mystery first. When I learned that Seven Dials Mystery starred so many characters first introduced in The Secret of Chimneys, I knew I would have to read this one right away!!! If I loved Seven Dials so, so, much, I knew I would probably love this one too. And I did enjoy it. And I definitely loved the characters, I probably would have loved them anyway even if I hadn't already known the ...more
May 14, 2010 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Agatha Christie fans
The next book in my effort to read through Dame Agatha's collected works, I found this book to be a bit contrived, with too many coincidences and a bit too predictable. Perhaps I need to take a break from her books? In any case, it was still a decent quick read and an interesting tale. I liked the story and loved the characters, but the book was not my favorite. I should have read this one before reading The Seven Dials Mystery, but I read them close enough together to get some continuity from t ...more
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Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is t
More about Agatha Christie...

Other Books in the Series

Superintendent Battle (5 books)
  • The Seven Dials Mystery (Superintendent Battle, #2)
  • Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot, #15)
  • Murder Is Easy  (Superintendent Battle, #4)
  • Towards Zero (Superintendent Battle, #5)

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“When I want to get anywhere, I usually do.” 3 likes
“As far as it is possible for one upright Christian gentleman to dislike another upright Christian gentleman, Lord Caterham disliked the Hon. George Lomax.” 2 likes
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