The Tuesday Club Murders was underwhelming. When it comes to Agatha Christie I just expect a little something more from her writing. This collection oThe Tuesday Club Murders was underwhelming. When it comes to Agatha Christie I just expect a little something more from her writing. This collection of short stories chronologically falls very, very early in the Miss Marple series and you can definitely tell that Christie is still trying to find just what Miss Marple is creatively.
The collection is framed by the idea that a group of friends, and regulars in the Miss Marple series, are all gathered together and decide to play a game. Each person tells the others of a mystery that they have personal knowledge of and then the others have to solve the puzzle. Each story is told from the perspective of the teller through a narrative and then the group discuss the story afterwards. Needless to say, although this sounds like a great concept, the execution was painfully forced, especially in the first five stories. This conceit requires a that the reader suspend some of their disbelief. You just have to accept that pretty much every British person on the planet has intimate and exact details of some horrible crime and then you're good to go.
My suggestion if your planning on reading this collection would be to skip right to chapter six and start from there. I found the first five chapters to be the most lack-lustre part of the entire collection. It was a bad foot to start off on. However, from "Thumbmark of St. Peter" (Chapter 6) onward the stories get progressively better and better. I ended up really enjoying the rest of the collection. It felt more true to Christie as a writer and the mysteries began to really hold my attention.
After the first six stories the Tuesday Murder Club concept is abandoned (thankfully) and we abruptly transition to a dinner party that Miss Marple has been invited to. After the party the guests fall into the same situation as the Tuesday Murder Club where they each tell of a crime and then have the others deduce the outcome. This time the concept is entirely more successful. There's nice banter between all the different characters and the mysteries get more and more interesting with some real gems of creative storytelling.
While I was reading I considered this book to be a bit like a palate cleanser. It's very light, calm, and easy to put down and pick back up again. I was incredibly happy that I ended up enjoying this book in the end well enough to give it three stars, even if it is a little generous. ...more
This was actually my first Hercules Poirot mystery and as a long time Agatha Christie reader it did not disappoint. I'm a sucker for a seasonally themThis was actually my first Hercules Poirot mystery and as a long time Agatha Christie reader it did not disappoint. I'm a sucker for a seasonally themed mystery and Hallowe'en Party fit perfectly in my build up to October 31st festivities. The mystery was well constructed, the characters were interesting, and I loved the way the story featured some of the classic parlor games played around Halloween with the kids. ...more
In The Fourth Bear, mystery meets fantasy as we enter a world of police procedure like I've never seen it before. The story follows Inspectors Jack SpIn The Fourth Bear, mystery meets fantasy as we enter a world of police procedure like I've never seen it before. The story follows Inspectors Jack Spratt and Mary Mary as they head up the Nursery Crime Division in the town of Reading. They specialize in crimes featuring familiar faces of our collective quaint childhood memories in a dark and twisted reality where the Gingerbread Man is a highly skilled serial killer and Goldilocks ends up dead.
The Fourth Bear was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. Although the beginning felt a bit clunky, I quickly found myself immersed in the world of Reading and all its wonderful mayhem. The Fourth Bear walks that fine line between an original concept and the comfortable familiarity of police procedure in the mystery genre. The book is aware of all the tropes, cliches, and mystery plot point and embraces them all with an enthusiasm and self awareness that made me smile. However, because of the oddness and randomness of the world itself I can honestly say I never knew what was going to happen next. This world was just so full of possibilities that I could never pin down just exactly how it would all end till the very end. This kept me reading into the night and well past my bedtime.
Another big plus for me was the characters. To start with the Gingerbread Man genuinely freaked me out. Imagining this over sized evil cookie should not be scary, but it was creepy how evil he was and not knowing when he was going to pop up next and cause trouble was a great through line. I also loved the secondary plot line of Jack's family and possibly malicious car and Mary Mary's dating life. It added to the story by making the characters more than just police officers. It added to their personalities and made the bizarre world of Reading a little more grounded in reality. I also totally fell in love with Ashley. That squishy alien stole my squishy heart.
However, I also have to point out that this book was not perfect. There was the unfortunate choice of having each chapter begin with a excerpt from a fictional book that tells us all about the official records set in the area. At some points these paragraph long excerpts would give us some additional information about what was going on in the story, but in my opinion they were just an excuse to have paragraphs of exposition that could have easily been taken out. It kept breaking up the flow of the story and were totally unnecessary. Without this I would have easily rated this a five star book.
All in all this book was still very solid and I will definitely be looking into the other books in this series. I cannot wait to see what else can be done with this concept! ...more
Books like Dead Men Kill are pretty much made to be listened to. In the style of old 1950's radio plays the audiobook is executed very well. There areBooks like Dead Men Kill are pretty much made to be listened to. In the style of old 1950's radio plays the audiobook is executed very well. There are different people doing the voices and various sound effects which bring the story to life and really makes it feel like the time period. This audio version is only two hours long and it moves at a swift pace.
Recently with the start of this summer I have been listening to a lot of old radio plays in the form of podcasts on my iPod. There are a ton of people who are using podcasts as a medium to bring back some of the old style radio. Back in the day when there wasn't TV or the internet, there was the radio. Radio Detective Story Hour has a bunch of archived radio plays from the 1940's to 1950's and The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a podcast recorded in front of a live audience that brings back all the classic tropes with a wink and a nod tying in science fiction, punch-drunk paranormal, superheroes, and war time tales. When I remembered that I had the audiobook of Dead Men Kill I just had to give it a listen. It was perfect timing, but unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. I can tell you that if I had read this book instead of listening to it I would have gotten bored fast.
In Dead Men Kill, the title says it all. People are seemingly coming back from the dead and killing their former employers in gruesome and brutal fashion. Someone is using the situation to blackmail the city's elite, but people keep dying and no one quite knows what to make of it. But Detective Terry Lane is on the case! To be honest, how Detective Lane manages to solve anything is completely beyond me, but solve he does.
Right now zombie mythology is much more common knowledge than it was back in 2006 when this was first published and that played a big factor in my lack of enjoyment of the mystery itself. The big twist is one that you see coming from a mile away and because of this it came across more like what I would expect from an episode of Scooby-Doo rather than some thrilling suspense novel. However, there were still some creepy moments, especially because I listened to this when I couldn't sleep at four in the morning.
So in the end I would give it three stars for the production, but only two for the story, which has me rounding with a 2.5 star rating overall. ...more