Set in London and cast with young, modern people who desires and consumptions got the better of them. This is more of a "pulp" book than the other ChrSet in London and cast with young, modern people who desires and consumptions got the better of them. This is more of a "pulp" book than the other Christie books I've read so far.
The characters were believeable, though in the end, I did not really believe the motive of the murderer at all. It seemed less convoluted and too "easy" an out--especially for the Queen of Mysteries.
It's refreshing that there's a segment of Christie's world that doesn't just sit about for tea and gossip about the latest murder. But they blatantly have affairs and spike their cocktails with cyanide and kill one another in public.
80-year-old Miss Marple is portrayed as too old a lady to go about town on her own, though both she and her doctor know better, and which Inspector Cr80-year-old Miss Marple is portrayed as too old a lady to go about town on her own, though both she and her doctor know better, and which Inspector Craddock learns himself. Given the conventions of the time, though, she is obliged to accept the household help her nephew Raymond pays for, and not protest. Pity. She could have solved the crime in much less time otherwise.
We are back in St. Mary Mead of Much Benham, but this time, the outside world encroaches in, what with the development around the corner bringing in a younger, less Victorian generation, and all their new conveniences. The ultimate sign of the times happens when the famous movie star Marina Gregg moves into Gossington Hall...and murder follows.
Be patient with this book, please. It takes several chapters to get anyone killed. And many more for other bodies to fall. Miss Marple solves the mystery without even leaving her house. It's a small leap of imagination. But then again, she DOES have all day to sip tea and mull things over in her mind.
What I looked forward to the most in this book was being in St. Mary Mead itself. I really enjoyed my first introduction to the place in Murder at the Vicarage, and wanted more. But this book seems to take place at a time when the quaint village way of life is subject to modern progress. It's sad for me to think of a place I love slowly being erased into oblivion. That's what I saw happening here. It foreshadows a definite end of the series, of Miss Marple, and that special way of life....more
Who are you crazy people who like this book, think it memorable, or - gasp! - among one of Christie's best works??!! This book sucked ostrich eggs. ThWho are you crazy people who like this book, think it memorable, or - gasp! - among one of Christie's best works??!! This book sucked ostrich eggs. The only reason I kept reading it to the end was to unlock the "mystery" of Mr. Quin, and to revel in Christie's spiral into the dark and supernatural. Little did I know that this was Christie at her laziest.
The 12 interlocking, and often repetitive, stories featuring both Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite, are rough sketches of (potentially intriguing) mystery plot lines with both these characters superimposed and made to fit into them. Imagine her with a week to turn in her latest book to the publisher, and ending up with this patch-job and not caring either way about it, as long as the check clears. Really.
Though Mr. Satterthwaite commendably solves the mystery presented in each story, no one is brought to "justice", as is stated on the book jacket. Because he never calls the police. He's simply content to know who did it, then move on. For a man of high society, there's no sense of moral obligation here--Satterthwaite doesn't seem to care if there's a murderer still on the loose--as long as he knows who it is, and the he's not in any danger.
And talk about lazy: at least every story recounts the dark, motley nature (physical and otherwise) of Mr. Quin, and Mr. Satterthwaite's feelings towards him. And every story includes the summation of Mr. S. as a lover of the arts, a sympathetic ear, and someone with money who can travel about at whim, and who knows everyone (convenient setup, eh?), and his feelings towards Mr. Quin. Am I being repetitive?
To make a pill harder to swallow, the author doesn't allow us to know Mr. Quin anymore than when we started. Is he a supernatural being? Is he Death reincarnate? Is he after Mr. S, and this is a slow torture Quin is subjecting him to? The stories do not lead one to any sort of conclusion, wrap up or sense of finality.
They do lead one to a dead end road, at which stands both a charming house on a hill and a dump heap. This is where people go to die or live on in ignorant bliss. Metaphor? If only Mr. Satterthwaite, upon entering down that path, had met one or the other end. But he doesn't. The book just ends.
My copy (Fontana,1965. ISBN0006166512) is deathly in need of a copyeditor. Grammar, punctuation mistakes and even printing marks left in....more
Well, I actually finished the book I thought I'd never get through, a very fast read of the Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Mamah Bouton Borthwick, aWell, I actually finished the book I thought I'd never get through, a very fast read of the Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Mamah Bouton Borthwick, as told from her point of view, but not in her voice, which I expected, since the prologue (in her voice) ends with "Maybe I can tell my story in a way that is useful to someone else."
So you know, you expect her to tell the story, no? Don't. Bother. Reading. Further.
This is a very amateurish first novel which was not pushed into the direction it should have gone, which would be more visceral, darker, personal. It's a love story, no? I felt no love in it whatsoever.
The author's main problems are two: her consistent use of reminiscences (a passive, sloppy device), and her pendantic, unimaginative narrative (which reads like a half-hearted Ayn Rand novel). FLW is made to be a self-righteous, entitled ass who lectures everyone (including Mamah, the reporters, his protoges, etc) and takes advantage of even more. And Mamah is a depressed, brooding, mixed-up adultress with feminist ideals that justify her way of living (to herself,though her actions seem to contradict them). Is she more in love with FLW, his Art, or his Genius? Can't tell.
The only really believeable characters in this book are Julius (the madman) and Lizzy (the neglected sister). They are important to the story, though they are side characters. Everyone else is a cardboard cutout dropped in where it fits.
It's an intriguing premise, and I think, could have been better written. It's easy to finish because , for all it's in-your-face theory-in-practice, is not an intellectually rigorous novel.
I have no idea why it's on the New York Times bestseller list....more
Until this book, which we picked up at Alison Bechdel's reading in town last week, I'd only read the Dykes strip iuntermittently, and often didn't unUntil this book, which we picked up at Alison Bechdel's reading in town last week, I'd only read the Dykes strip iuntermittently, and often didn't understand it. Chalk it up to living in a hole in the wall and not leaving it to check out the social climate for a long time.
I think the storyline works better in this collected edition, instead of the bi-weekly strips Bechdel published. Because the stories and characters are so complicated, and each episode contains so much information, and transformation.
Her Sept 11th strip, wordless, and so somber, was especially moving.
I realize this is the last book, and so there is no way of tying up loose ends. but after reading other Miss Marple mysteries, I was surprised that thI realize this is the last book, and so there is no way of tying up loose ends. but after reading other Miss Marple mysteries, I was surprised that this one made her out to be pretty nimble, doing the neighbor's gardening and such, since in other previous Marple books, she was rendered as a feeble old lady, not fit for detective work.
Even so, her doctor recommends fresh sea breezes, and so she goes out, and - surprize! - stumbles upon a murder case that is 18 years cold. Of course, Dame Christie does so well what other writers attempt, which is to render horror so fully. Is the house really haunted? How could Gwenda really have known about the strangulation?
Here Miss Marple is a character of little consequence--she merely guides the main characters along their quest--though, of course, getting yourself invited to tea in that small little cove might have been a monumental task for anyone else.
I knew this was the last Marple mystery and was looking for inferences to it, but found none....more
I got 100 pages in before I literally threw it across the floor! You want to care about the adoptive mother who was slain two years ago with a fire poI got 100 pages in before I literally threw it across the floor! You want to care about the adoptive mother who was slain two years ago with a fire poker through the gullet. But nothing is rendered with feeling, and though the Argyle household is appropriately rendered as cold and heartless, our investigator, Mr. Calgary, has no other motive but to move the book along.
Leave it to rot on the library shelves with the other obscure lesser tomes....more
Witches, really? Has Dame Christie gone over the edge this time? Of course not, as is revealed in the end, murder is most mundane, and even the most eWitches, really? Has Dame Christie gone over the edge this time? Of course not, as is revealed in the end, murder is most mundane, and even the most elaborate of schemes has a mastermind, and his/her own psychological motives.
I borrowed this from the library, since I was looking for stand-alone mysteries (not part of a series), and this one caught my eye. Look for her trademark small villages, where gossip reigns supreme, and the biblical references. Oh, and there's a character here who reminds me of Mdme Christie herself!
PS: this edition is grossly unedited... lots of grammatical, type mistakes....more
After reading a couple Miss Marple mysteries, and suffering all those hints as to her background, I decided the first introduction to the lady would bAfter reading a couple Miss Marple mysteries, and suffering all those hints as to her background, I decided the first introduction to the lady would be most appropriate.
But this book doesn't offer much more than any of the other stories, to Miss Marple's backstory. The genius of this novel is our narrator, the Vicar of St. Mary Mead. He is as transparent and honest a storyteller as one ever wants (what more could you expect from a parson?), in rendering the townsfolk in true color, in reflecting on the investigative developments and his own lapses of Christian charity. His unique position affords him the trust of just about everyone. And he learns from Miss Marple that everyone is fallaible, and that human nature is unpredictible.
The murder itself is standard fare, technically. I've realized now I like the bloody killings more than I do the poisonings in general. And this one gruesome event set in a so heavenly and cloistered a village makes for great gossip, which makes for a circuitous route to the truth.
This is the best Agatha Christie book I've read so far. I only hope there is more set in St. Mary Mead....more
I disagree with the arrangement here. Miss Marple's first book should be first, ending with the last. That's how I read them anyway. I don't think itI disagree with the arrangement here. Miss Marple's first book should be first, ending with the last. That's how I read them anyway. I don't think it makes a lick of difference otherwise. These are some of the best books, ever. so don't ask to borrow them from me, I probably won't let you.
I'm reviewing both books under their separate titles, but I read them in this one volume....more
This is the first Christie novel I read narrated from a man's POV, which highlights the contrasting father-son relationships witnessed in this book, tThis is the first Christie novel I read narrated from a man's POV, which highlights the contrasting father-son relationships witnessed in this book, though the narrator himself never compares them.
Charles is our speaker, in love with the rich heiress whose grandfather was poisoned. Charles works in tandem with his father, the Assisstant Commissioner of Scotland Yard in charge of the case. They have a nurturing apprenticeship going on, though it's unclear whether Charles will pursue police work. His father can read his face and know to ask what the matter is.
In stark contrast, the dead man left a favored son (Roger) and a slighted one (Philip) among his heirs. Roger suffers under an enabling relationship feuled by his love and admiration for the patriarch. Philip has retreated into his studies to shut out the shunning of him.
Most all the characters are rather fully rendered, especially Josephine, the devil who eludes and implies and plays detective to get to the bottom of the mystery.
In the end, it was our narrator that I liked least, since of all the Christie books I've read, I'd only figured this one out before the reveal at the end. Charles, our narrator, who is neither a seasoned detective nor intimate with the family, couldn't or didn't try to put all the pieces together. And his father? He'd suggested he knew, but his slowness in acting (or was it too much trust in his son's abilities?) allowed a few more deaths than necessary....more
It probably helps to have read a few Miss Marple books before getting into this one--both to fully appreciate the cleverness, and to have a backstoryIt probably helps to have read a few Miss Marple books before getting into this one--both to fully appreciate the cleverness, and to have a backstory to our "old pussy", as she is called in this book. In absolutley no time does Miss Marple deduce the the solution to the missing corpse. She also wastes no time in finding a suitable proxy to unlock the mysteries of Rutherford Hall for her.
Indeed, Lucy Eyelesbarrow, is as capable and clever as they come. And she is very likeable: practically all the men make proposals of some kind or another. And even the young boys want her to stick around forever.
I very much cottoned to the personalities of the schoolboys and to Lucy, as they represented a lively curiosity about the world, in contrast with everyone else (including Miss Marple), who all seem to have lived life long enough to get worn down, cyncial, brutish, or corrupt.
In the end, Miss Marple traps the unsuspecting killer and Lucy is left to sort out her future prospects....more
This is the ultimate quick-read, combining suspense, mystery, isolation and ever-deepening paranoia into a fast-paced, bare-bones thriller.
There's notThis is the ultimate quick-read, combining suspense, mystery, isolation and ever-deepening paranoia into a fast-paced, bare-bones thriller.
There's nothing extraneous in this very carefully constructed mass murder. Agatha Christie's mysteries tend to take place in the cloistered, self-contained settings, where there is no escape, and where everyone is watching. Such is the case here, too. She masterfully unfolds the sequential deaths such that, though they are predicted, still surprise. There are no clues to who is next, or why. Or how.
I found the device of the nursery rhyme a little tedious, though I was tempted to refer back to it, trying to guess what would happen next. But in the end, it really didn't matter. You knew everyone on the island was doomed. It was very reminscent of "The Most Dangerous Game", a short story about manhunting.
Like all the other Christie novels that I've read, the tangled series of events is unraveled for us and the murderer revealed. I should have expected it, though I didn't.
This book is racist and sexist, but the intricacy is laudable....more
the best thing about this is being able to compare the development of the strip from its ealry days (in the book) to it's modern counterpart (in currethe best thing about this is being able to compare the development of the strip from its ealry days (in the book) to it's modern counterpart (in current daily strips). There were more girls back then. More hi-jinks. Less Beetle. ...more
You might get more information from this book if you know about the political history of the events that are talked about, or even of Kashmir itself.You might get more information from this book if you know about the political history of the events that are talked about, or even of Kashmir itself. I didn't, and not much else in the book helped me to learn about it. (Notes, back-or-the-book blurb, etc.)
Because of this, one can read the book as I did, for the quality and enjoyment of the poetry itself. Ali explores Eastern and Western traditional forms to great success. And as a whole, the book ends up being a collective of lost missives, unable to have reached their destinations.
Yay! Dreamy sub-space-in-your-head trippiness is back! Considering it's how Scott met Ramona, it seems very appropriate in this book.
More girls fightYay! Dreamy sub-space-in-your-head trippiness is back! Considering it's how Scott met Ramona, it seems very appropriate in this book.
More girls fighting (and kissing!)
Scott DOES get it together, I mean, job, girl, priorities. We all grow up, don't we? And reading Scott Pilgrim as he finesses the subtle slip into grown-up-ness, lets one realize how quickly it all passes when we follow the decisions of our heart.
Here Innocence is lost time and again in its unavoidable clash with the complexities of the heart. Knives is heartbroken and still in love. Ramona seeHere Innocence is lost time and again in its unavoidable clash with the complexities of the heart. Knives is heartbroken and still in love. Ramona seems merely in the background, as Envy does what she does best, which is basically KICK ASS.
It's too bad that it takes a loser ex-boy of hers to bring about her downfall. And a lying, cheating ex-boy of Ramona's to show us that though some fakers fake real well, they meet their just ends, too.
Scott looks great in a suit. This is what the crowd yells when two hot girls are about to kill each other in a sweaty dive: "More high kicks!", "Pull her hair and stuff!", "Make out!!", etc....more
What 20-something guy wouldn't cream his pants to have both his girlfriends fight over him in the public library?
And Knives really fights for her man.What 20-something guy wouldn't cream his pants to have both his girlfriends fight over him in the public library?
And Knives really fights for her man. And as if two girls weren't enough, the cliffhanger ending is a knockout.
But who are we kidding? It's not Scott who's the most interesting, big-eyed character here. It's Ramona (who has now cut off her hair!) And her evil exes. Lucas is a lightwieght. Make that featherweight.
The Scott Pilgrim books allow one to look on that poseur/latent adolescence of one's life with a little levity. Teen-friendly!...more
My first Miss Marple book, and a more sincere book than the two Poirot novels I read. Why? Because although Miss Marple is an unlikely detective (yetMy first Miss Marple book, and a more sincere book than the two Poirot novels I read. Why? Because although Miss Marple is an unlikely detective (yet again), she is liked and trusted by the characters she is surrounded by. There's no stuffiness about her. No narrative comment about her queer mannerisms.
The story is average, using thte motifs of cloistered setting and letters, and "interviews". As you'd guess, Miss Marple solves the mystery and the affair is put to rest. Unusually high body count, though.
In every other Agatha Christie book, I find nuances of racism and sexism. This one had a police offical asking: "Who's the nigger in the cobhouse?"
It's a colloquialism I've not heard before, am somewhat offended by (especially since he's an Englishman)....more
This sarcastic, dim-witted, vulgar but lovable witch is one of my favorite comic strip characters. She chain smokes cigars, carries a fifth of whisky,This sarcastic, dim-witted, vulgar but lovable witch is one of my favorite comic strip characters. She chain smokes cigars, carries a fifth of whisky, and is 1500 years old. Not bad.
What I love are the now tried-and-true stock characters: the fool, the philosopher, the father-figure. They all inhabit a rapidly-changing piece of landscape that moves as quickly as the conversation.
It's the most unique thing about Russell Myer's strip, I think. Magic surrealism causes the environment to shift and change, helping in a way no words can, to accentuate the mood of the scenario. From panel to panel, Broom Hilda and Gaylord could be (and are) sitting on a tree branch, walking a narrow cliff-high road, then onto a small rock island underneath a tree.
It's Seussian in its improbable dreamlikeness. It's beautiful and undemanding.
This book is the first Broom Hilda collection I've read. It came in a boxed set called Tempo Cartoon Library, with collections of other strips. I read this one first because I love Broom Hilda the most....more
I found myself surprised and delighted that I had such sympathy for Frankenstein's "monster". Despite flaws in storytelling, and perhaps writing, thisI found myself surprised and delighted that I had such sympathy for Frankenstein's "monster". Despite flaws in storytelling, and perhaps writing, this book is great for its exploration of the place of humans in the heavenly order. Man vs. Monster. Man as God. Nurture v. Nature. The inherent good and evil in all of us. And what it is that tips the scale. ...more
Christie should have published this as "The Mystery of the Mill House" instead. In any case, it is the bestest, most storied, dense Agatha Christie boChristie should have published this as "The Mystery of the Mill House" instead. In any case, it is the bestest, most storied, dense Agatha Christie book I have read so far (it's my 4th one). This is the only one I've read that's not part of a seriees, and so I think I shall stick with the standalone stories from now on.
All characters are pretty believable. What Christie does here that is different from the Poirot and Marple stories, is imbue the book with loads atmosphere. And it works! Granted, the story takes us to South Africa, which is in the midst of an uprising, after being on an action-packed cruise. There's plenty of scenery that might be new to her readers. The heroine, Anne, is typical of the spunky, smart, romantic woman-child that inhabit these kinds of stories. Yet, as cliche as that sounds, she is a wholly trustworthy and likeable narrator.
The end comes to be a meeting of the minds, where in the Christie style, the pursuant has a tete-a-tete with the quarry. But who is the hunted? Who is they prey?
Very well done, Madame Christie. This one should be made into a movie. ...more
This is the best of these pocket-type Peanuts readers I've got my hands on so far. Schulz left the darkness at home when he put this collection togethThis is the best of these pocket-type Peanuts readers I've got my hands on so far. Schulz left the darkness at home when he put this collection together. Yet, the schmalz of "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" type collections are missing too.
What's left seems the truest account of the daily agonies and ecstacies of youth. (See the storyline of Lucy and Linus playing a boardgame.)
Sally's still practicing her handwriting. Charlie Brown is in the hospital. Marcie declares her intentions. Lucy keeps a promise. Peppermint Patty gets dolled up. There's lots of sweet Snoopy / Woodstock stuff here too. ...more