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By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence Series #4)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  6,739 ratings  ·  277 reviews
While visiting Tommy's Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about "your poor child" and "something behind the fireplace".

When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization le
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Paperback, 212 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Signet (first published 1968)
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And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha ChristieDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieThe A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Best Agatha Christie Book
43rd out of 93 books — 676 voters
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingMaisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Favorite Historical Mystery Series
139th out of 684 books — 685 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Henry Avila
Agatha Christie's leisurely murder mystery, begins in an old ladies home.Tommy Beresford is visiting his Aunt Ada, at Sunny Ridge. The spinster is 80 and still tough,she likes tormenting Tuppence the nephew's wife, who has come along.(Ada needs some fun in her sedentary life)Tuppence befriends Mrs.Lancaster ,an inmate. This woman ,who seems slightly confused,always talking about a dead child!Miss Packard, who runs this peaceful establishment, doesn't take Mrs. Lancaster seriously.Three weeks lat ...more
Hannah
This was an incredibly chilling mystery; I had the cover image and the creepy, insane mutterings of the killer burnt into my mind and preventing me from falling asleep. Scary.

Agatha Christie has produced yet another brilliant mystery, one that is intense and possesses gripping tension throughout the entire novel as the detectives attempt to solve the puzzle. Tommy and Tuppence are back again, now very much advanced in age, but still as spirited as ever. The light romance between the two is very
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Laurel Young
I'm going to go ahead and give this five stars, because it is fairly rare for Dame Agatha to go all-out creepy with her books and I'm amazed at how well she does it here! I read this book a very long time ago and never forgot the image of the old lady calmly saying that the milk is not poisoned TODAY and inquiring about the body walled up in the fireplace. Gave me shivers! So I had a sense of happy deja-vu when I read the first chapter and realized that this was *that* book...so many of Christie ...more
Santiago
Picture Tuppence sitting infront of a fireplace at Sunny Ridge, as Tommy is upstairs visiting his old aunt. Beside her sits an old and kind woman drinking hot milk. Then she asks Tuppence, lost in thought: 'Was it your poor child?'

Tommy and Tuppence books are somewhat more of adventure than Poirot's and Mrs.Marple's. This one is great. They inherit a picture of a house from an old aunt of Tommy and Tuppence decides she has seen that house somewhere in England and goes looking for it. This crazy
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Cheryl
It is true of most of us that when the antagonist of a crime novel has psychological problems, our fear factor escalates. Perhaps it's because we have difficulty aligning our reality with an impaired person's fantasy world. When our effort fails, we realize the danger walking among us and the unpredictability of it all!

There is a part of us that wants to understand Mrs. Lancaster's question, "Was it your child?" Though completely out of context and foreboding as well, Tuppence tries to logically
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Chris
Masterful Agatha Christie classic. A Tommy and Tuppence mystery in which the intrepid Tuppence takes center stage. Subtle, multi-layered mystery that shows all of Dame Agatha's plotting and character creation skills. One of my all time favorites.


(view spoiler)
Meave
Oh Aggie, your mind really must have been going to have written this and considered it a complete novel. It doesn't make sense! It's terribly disappointing, especially because Tommy and Tuppence are usually so delightful. But in this mystery not only do they lack believable motivation for taking any action, they don't get to do much of anything together, and their chemistry is all wonky, which was the most depressing part.

I'll take some of the blame for not understanding the plot, as I did fall
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Kavita
Tommy and Tuppence pay a visit to Tommy's Aunt Ada at her old age home, and fall headlong into a superb mystery. I am a little surprised that this book is rated so low by AC fans. It is one of Christie's creepiest books and there are several heart-stopping scenes, and the book is worth reading for these alone. Admittedly, the plot is a little convoluted, but it is not fully unbelievable and the story unfolds in a decent manner. It does not confuse you, but I guess fans find it tough to reconcile ...more
Faa
Apart from Poirot and Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence are my other distraction from the real world. It is strange to read this book and realized they had grow old together. However, as vigilant as Miss Marple herself; both Tommy and Tuppence never show signs of old ages. They grow old together amazingly and their ability to discern ramblings, gossips and real mysteries was as sharp and witty as ever. When Tuppence left behind by Tommy who attended the league of old men, she found her footsteps a ...more
Trapezio
Admittedly I have not read many novels by Agatha Christie. It seems like in her novels the plot often changes and evolves as the story progresses. Prudence Cowley (Tuppence) with the support of Thomas Beresford (Tommy) is chasing a wild comment by an inmate in Aunt Ada’s old age home – Sunny Ridge.

Despite a weak start and the author manages to seize our attention and intrigue with its fast pace and unconventional characterisation. The question, “was it your poor child”, from one of the character
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Blake
This is my first Agatha Christie book, I know "Blake, why didn't you read her best, And Then There Were None." Well, I am not quite sure why I chose this one mainly because they cover was enticing and I just wanted to check it out. And I know I gave it 3 stars but she really is a great writer.

GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK:
- The ending was phenomenal! Everything an ending for a mystery should be: thrilling, heart wrenching and heart pumping.
- Her writing style is obviously great
- I loved the ch
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Geert Daelemans
The weakest Tommy and Tuppence novel

While Tommy Beresford visits his feeble old Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge rest home, his wife Tuppence meets old Mrs. Lancaster in the sitting room. The solitary woman is drinking a glass of milk because "It is not poisoned today." Suddenly she looks at the fireplace and asks: "Was it your poor child? That is where it is, you know." When three weeks later Aunt Ada dies, Tommy and Tuppence revisit the rest house. Intrigued by the fact that old Mrs. Lancaster has sudd
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Lisa Findley
Several really creepy moments, lots of Tuppence-focused action, good stuff.
Library-KAT


"By the pricking of my thumbs...... Something wicked this way comes"

Well now that's odd, because the book does not have Miss Marple in it, but the movie does...... Sigh.

Tommy & Tuppence are a modern couple who have grown older and are retired..... Tommy worked for the spy network" and Tuppence would always insert herself into his business (nosy Parker).

In this story they are off to visit Tommy's acerbic Aunt Ada who is staying in a home for elderly women.... Aunt Ada can not stand Tuppence s
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Aries

L'amore per l'avventura e per il mistero è una di quelle passioni che non si affievoliscono con l'età. Ne sono una dimostrazione evidente gli ormai maturi coniugi Tommy e Tuppence Beresford, i due simpatici investigatori un tempo definiti "giovani avventurieri". Infatti ecco che la visita di cortesia all'anziana e petulante zia Ada, ospite di una casa di riposo, e il curioso incontro con la signora Lancaster, una premurosa e svampita vecchietta dai capelli candidi destinata a "partire" senza las

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Jules Goud
I've already said it. But I'll say it again. Tommy and Tuppence are my favorite!

I found that "By the Pricking of My Thumbs" (will now be known as BTPOMT) was a little bit more muddled then some of Christie's other works. It seemed to me that there weren't any clear connections between what Tuppence and Tommy were learning and what they were investigating. It really wasn't until the solution was revealed when everything that we learned made sense. It seemed so simple to me that I can't believe th
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P S Karr
By the Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie is a Tommy and Tuppence mystery. We first met this pair as The Young Adventurers in The Secret Adversary. I admit I developed a liking for these characters a bit late, but once I did, I couldn’t stop. This is yet another nursery rhyme type title like And Then There Were None and Hickory Dickory Dock.


Tommy and Tuppence are in the twilight of their life, enjoying a leisurely pace of life. They realize they haven’t visited their Aunt Ada in a while. S
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Ivana Azap
Good book, little creepy...
Recommend it in the docile times ;)
Jesus Ismael
I've wanted to read this one for a long time, but in my country it's difficult to get. It's the last one also from Tommy and Tuppence for me to read, since I've already read the 4 others.
I really enjoyed it and consider it excellent. I've read criticisms about the repetitiveness of information in dialogues and the un-focus style of the narrative. While I can see some validity in these points, I like to think about them as qualities in AC writing from the 60's and on that help to give the narrat
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Ana
Todos os meus livros de Agatha Christe foram comprados numa pequena livraria, administrada por um velhote britânico, que tinha por hábito ouvir a BBC 1 Radio - ou, pelo menos, era o que estava a tocar quando eu lá entrava. A livraria fica à beira do canal, numa rua paralela à rua principal de Gent, uma cidade a algumas dezenas de quilómetros de Bruxelas, na Bélgica.

Foi, portanto, nessa cidade que descobri a minha paixão por Agatha Christie - e, invariavelmente, por Tommy e Tuppence Beresford.

Não
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Carissa
I admit it, I'm now a die-hard Tommy and Tuppence fan. Ok, so my adoration actually started upon seeing Anthony Andrews play Tommy in a rather muddled interpretation of this story. But if I hadn't watched the episode, I would have never decided to read the book! A book which, as it turns out, is loads better than what the screenwriters pieced together. Who knew they created such a dreadful Frankenstein's monster?!

When Tommy's aged Aunt Ada dies in a home for elderly ladies, her belongings are di
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Shakespearesgirl
By the Pricking of My Thumbs stats out the way you'd expect an Agatha Christie novel to start. The background is established, and then things start happening more and more quickly. the problem with this particular novel is that the ending doesn't actually wrap up all the questions raised. This was disappointing because usually Christie does an excellent job explaining and resolving everything, and the lack of that sort of wrap-up was highly unsatisfying.

That said it was really quite good, and I
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Nd
Five stars for an Agatha Christie book. I haven't been doing goodreads long, but it's difficult to use the star system when comparing different types of books. So I just have to rate them within their own type. To my way of thinking, Agatha Christie is very nearly a type unto herself.

Generally, I don't read books by the same author back-to-back, but the last one was so enjoyable, and this is the last in a large collection I've been working on for a few years. Without my realizing it, this one wa
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Elsa
I always enjoyed a good Agatha Christie’s book, unfortunately “by the pricking of my thumbs” is not a “good” Agatha Christie’s!

The story is so weak! Tommy and Tuppence are not my favorite characters (that would be Poirot) but I already read some books about their adventures and they were quite good and interesting, but this…. is…I’ll have to say it even if it breaks my heart…. is a bad book!

The reason they start to investigate is ridiculous (Tuppence meets an old lady in a nursing home, and deci
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Matteo Pellegrini

L'amore per l'avventura e per il mistero è una di quelle passioni che non si affievoliscono con l'età. Ne sono una dimostrazione evidente gli ormai maturi coniugi Tommy e Tuppence Beresford, i due simpatici investigatori un tempo definiti "giovani avventurieri". Infatti ecco che la visita di cortesia all'anziana e petulante zia Ada, ospite di una casa di riposo, e il curioso incontro con la signora Lancaster, una premurosa e svampita vecchietta dai capelli candidi destinata a "partire" senza las

...more
Maureen
Christie was in her late 70s when she wrote this and, after decades of spewing out books, had clearly stopped bothering. I'd never heard of the protagonists - Tuppence and Tommy - before and I'm not surprised why.

This is half-hearted piffle, splodged together and peppered with the odd bit of reactionary nonsense directed at the modern world of 1968.
Tara
Rather weak plot, if I recall, which is a major failing when it comes to murder mysteries...but nowhere near as bad as that dreadful "Postern of Fate." It's tragic; Tommy and Tuppence are the best Christie characters, but they always get the worst story-lines.

Bernabé Borrero
I have to admit that this book is not the best of Agatha Christie I've ever read, but in spite of that, as usual in her, Christie really surprised me with the end.
Maria
Thoroughly enjoyable mystery with a twist ending, Ms. Christie had me as thoroughly confused as she did Tuppence. Since I had read it years ago, I vaguely remembered who the villain was, so I didn't try to guess it this time, just concentrated on the information Tommy and Tuppence acquire as they go along and tried to determine what was useful versus what was not. The mystery element is extraordinarily complicated, but it works, and Tuppence triumphs again. This time her daughter Deborah, marrie ...more
Sangita
A 'Wow' masterpiece by Dame Agatha Christie.

The story starts of very simply, with a visit to an old age home where Tommy's Aunt is staying, but snatches of conversation with an inmate takes an exciting and chilling turn when Tuppence decides to explore a disappearance.

Taking the readers for a verdant ride across the English countryside, the author brings in a couple of interesting characters - everybody has something to hide. And then comes THE twist, one of the best that I have ever read.

Dame
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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 Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880
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More about Agatha Christie...

Other Books in the Series

Tommy and Tuppence Series (7 books)
  • The Secret Adversary
  • Partners in Crime
  • N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)
  • Postern of Fate
  • The House of Lurking Death: A Short Tory (Tommy & Tuppence)
  • The Case of the Missing Lady (Tommy & Tuppence Series Short)
And Then There Were None Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)

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