I was truly enjoying this novel about halfway through. There, indeed, was something quite delicious in trying to unravel--spoiler alert... I think?--
I was truly enjoying this novel about halfway through. There, indeed, was something quite delicious in trying to unravel a “locked-room” mystery. And this was certainly written in a way that will confound readers to an extent that a supernatural bent could even be chosen as final recourse, so seemingly impossible was the feat by which the supposed “assailant” escaped notice in making his or her… well, escape.
But the novel, in feeding the reader piecemeal evidentiary facts to sensory impressions or astounding hypotheses, instead served to remind me of the premise of the parody film, Murder by Death. The revelatory ending scene showed Capote’s character accusing the whodunit genre – in the guise of admonishing the famous detectives/ sleuthing aficionados gathered around him – of belatedly providing its readers heretofore-unforeseen or wholly unexpected twists in the plot that did not fit one single scene in the previous chapters. Or of introducing totally new characters out of nowhere just to conveniently suit the ending as the author sees fit.
Yep. This is how I felt during those moments when Rouletabille: (1) revealed to Sainclair how he conveniently came upon the phrase concerning the presbytery, etc. [at that point I already felt cheated by the protagonist for having had valuable access to information before the incident in the Yellow Room] ; (2) just about mentioned to the reader, oh, by the way, just in case the reader’s interested, that there happened to be a notice in the papers well before the incident concerning Mlle’s Strangerson’s missing reticule; (3) revealed what he found in the concierges’ home that made them guilty of a certain petty crime rather than as accessory to the attempted murder; (3) later mentioned that he actually saw the healing scar on the hand of the villain that also served to further affirm his suspicions; (4) disclosed that there was a certain IMPORTANT portion of Mlle Strangerson’s life that was totally unaccounted for (and an aunt??); and, of course, (5) divulged to all and sundry that Larsan was this heretofore other character that the reader absolutely knew nothing about nor realized should have had knowledge about.
I don’t know. But these tidbits of revelations and HOW they were revealed soured me to the way the novel uncovered the supposed truths of the incident. Too many details given later that were not even remotely hinted at. Too many details that felt like a sucker punch to the sensibilities of a reader. A plot twist is all well and good – really, plot twists are what attract us to these mystery novels – but a plot twist borne on the shoulders of absolutely out-of-the-motherfudgin’-blue circumstances just takes the wow factor out of enjoying the exposition.
This was long-winded. And I kept saying 'heretofore'. Damn.
Story short: two and a half oh, okay, then… THREE stars.
Highly-enjoyable (and funny!) read – though perhaps my enjoyment in it stemmed more from the dialogues/ banter between the characters and the way BernHighly-enjoyable (and funny!) read – though perhaps my enjoyment in it stemmed more from the dialogues/ banter between the characters and the way Bernie’s mind worked rather than from how the plot eventually unfurled.
To get it out of the way: no, I really was not all that enthused with how the truth came about. Or what the cause of the crimes turned out to be. It was a bit of a downer, to put it mildly.
But I am trying not to dwell on that (taken as a whole, the execution of the denouement could perhaps be considered trivial in the larger scheme of the novel) and, instead, focus on how this book did entertain me.
It has been glossed to death how ironic the premise is: that a burglar, in the “harmless” intention of stealing a book whose current existence and location was not even a cemented fact, suddenly found himself having to solve a series of deaths played out in the manner of the English whodunit greats in a conveniently-English-ish setting. And that’s how the charm of this work finds footing.
Bernie as a character doesn’t take himself too seriously. He knows how to poke fun at himself without it having to be about self-pity. And he’s terrific at bandying wits – be it against a 10-year old or his intrepid companion the cat or the lesbian. A laidback guy who takes things in stride whilst able to drop an inconspicuously clever rejoinder without batting an eyelash. Love him.
The novel itself in general is appealing, acting as a sort-of-backwards homage to crime novels and crime novelists alike. It embroils itself in the murky details of the deaths while regularly breaking the fourth wall by reminding the reader, that, yes, indeed… this is almost-kinda like the thing that happened in that famous Christie novel while the case of that body lying over there is just the sort of thing that Sayers will plop on the lap of the intrepid Lord Peter Wimsey…
All-in-all, a quick yet still engrossing read....more
I feel compelled -- seeing as this is my fourth foray into the sleuthing adventures of Lord Peter Wimsey -- to make at least a passing comment on yetI feel compelled -- seeing as this is my fourth foray into the sleuthing adventures of Lord Peter Wimsey -- to make at least a passing comment on yet this another work of Ms. Dorothy Sayers that I chose to read over the dozen (and counting) other titles by perhaps more or less illustrious writers in my to-read-preferably-before-I-die list.
And that's just it.
The fact is, this is my 4th time deciding to read another Wimsey novel when the likes of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and even Don Quixote, among scores more, are insistently and loudly entreating to be read, given that I have shamelessly hoarded them from over the years past and committed the pernicious sin to let them gather dust in a tiny, cramped bookshelf.
What can I say. I am slightly enamored with Lord Wimsey.
Call it a crush. A silly girly crush.
Despite the many criticisms on this character -- his high-handedness in delving into police matters that do not concern him (other than, of course, that bit of murder charge against his brother); using his name and prestige to tread where others are normally not allowed to intrude; or having the audacity to be rich so as to be able to utilize resources in the pursuit of a 'hobby' of solving crimes which are decidedly no laughing matter for those immediately involved -- I am pathetically ready to admit that I find him exceedingly charming. With a rapier wit I wish I were continually personally exposed to. Plus a dry humor almost always coupled with either self-deprecation or an affected air of grandeur.
And I adore his interactions with the esteemable Bunter and the long-suffering Parker.
I read this back now and I realize that I've yet to mention a word on what I think about Unnatural Death. See -- just thinking about Wimsey even now is proving to be a quite distraction.
It's not the most elaborate act of murder, for sure. But I think I am going to echo the other reviews (kidding, I haven't really read any) and say that the long trail of clues, true and otherwise, all the way up to that one truly breath-stopping moment in the novel, were what made this installment engrossing.
Although, to be frank, the genealogies of the Dawson and Whittaker families as they have been laid out left me with no minor headache. As well, the connection between the Whittaker and the Forrest personas could be seen from a long way off.
But other than those little niggles, I found it enjoyable seeing how Wimsey and Parker worked in tandem. Because more than half the time they really do appear like an old married couple.
And yes, I will go far as to say that I am envious of Charles as being one of the very few people who Peter will promptly affirm as a close, reliable friend. Someone, moreover, who he can pester to no end. Although his lordship will proclaim that it his friend the Inspector Parker who is the fuddy-duddy, always harassing him with annoying trivial details such as material evidence.
Okay, damn it.
I regret to inform that the foregoing is decidedly not a review.
And now please excuse me as I relish the anticipation of reading the next Wimsey novel....more
A few pages in into this book and I already felt the first stirrings of regret.
Regret for not having read this sooner.
Regret for not having picked upA few pages in into this book and I already felt the first stirrings of regret.
Regret for not having read this sooner.
Regret for not having picked up another work by this author right after having enjoyed, “The Man Who Was Thursday,”
…THREE YEARS AGO.
Yes, I regret a lot of things in life. And overlooking this piece of work for so long when it contained these tiny gems of brilliance is a shame I felt keenly long after having turned the last page on another one of Father Brown’s expositions.
Simply put: I do adore mystery who-dunnits.
And my mouth was positively salivating at the prospect of pitting Agatha Christie’s much-decorated Poirot against Chesterton’s unprepossessing priest.
Well, the priest is certainly that. Until he opens his mouth and proclaims the first of his many seemingly-extraneous observations. From “The Blue Cross” to “The Three Tools of Death,” the nature of his shrewd character set against an almost-negligible countenance besets the reader with the desire to consume more of his adventures.
To be sure, I was misled into thinking at first that Valentin would claim center-stage in this novel. And so it was nothing less than a shock when the second story righted itself.
By then, every word out of Father Brown was something to watch out for.
(For the sake of being frank, the first 3 or 4 stories were the most interesting. By the time one reaches “The Honour of Israel Gow,” one gets the feeling of bland redundancy. It picks up a bit again with “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” and tries valiantly to finish strongly by the next story.
In a sense, the whole novel could be hailed a disappointment for not having sustained the ingenuity of plot perhaps set by “The Secret Garden,” but not for anything else can I say that I regretted reading this book.
A strong-willed woman finding high adventure in an Egyptian dig? Dammit… where did I stash my little green-eyed monster…?
Oh yeah. Bring on the romantiA strong-willed woman finding high adventure in an Egyptian dig? Dammit… where did I stash my little green-eyed monster…?
Oh yeah. Bring on the romanticism. The sensational accounts of mystery and mysticism. And while you’re on it, throw in the backdrop of ancient Egyptian ruins and the serpentine Nile on the mix.
No worries. I’ll just be here, making a curled-upper-lip-fish-face of bitter envy as I read through Peabody’s – what did the back say? — “debut Egyptian adventure…”
Of course, it didn’t matter that the whole premise of the mystery was decidedly “un”-Egyptian. What made me so envious were the characters with their skill in deciphering hieroglyphics, who can be found dust and sand-covered up to their eye sockets from hours of meticulously uncovering a find, whose idea of a high is the sounds of ululation that ring out when a discovery is made… and so on and etcetera.
Then there’s Amelia Peabody herself. It’d be easy to blurt out ‘feminist’ when it comes to word association. As it is, I’ll just think of her as possessing a backbone of steel, contrarily impulsive as well as maddeningly sensible. Possessed of a rapier wit while also given to bouts of acerbic self-righteousness. A somewhat admirable figure, true.
The only thing really that sticks at my craw is the glaring fact that she has had money to dispose of as she pleases as she embarks on her “adventure.” Not much, mind, but certainly enough. To have independent means with which to travel the world and go to places she has always dreamed of – and at her own pace, too – … well, whoop-de-doo.
Oh, hey. It seems I’ve found my green-eyed pet.
Anyway, so… this first installment has plenty enough for a good ‘while-the-time-away’ read. Even if Amelia can sometimes be quite long-winded as she lays out (to the reader) her motives, her observations, or even her knee-jerk reactions or thoughts. Or perhaps it’s just Peters reflecting how a person during that period would express herself.
The skirmishes they have had with their mysterious wrapped and moaning menace can be exasperating, I admit. Half the time I look on at Emerson (or Radcliffe, I should say. Dashing, no?) and Company as more fumbling than anything else.
(Amelia’s foamy, feminine garb, always getting in the way, was apparently as much a villain as their ‘mummy’.)
And that’s when I belatedly recall that these people are scholars or just average citizens with no aspirations for any heroic endeavors. So I suppose I should scold myself when I rant and wonder why Emerson, in the midst of danger, is not engaging in acts that are more… daring? Bold? Dash-ing?
When I do consider it, there is something refreshing at the image of an unwilling ‘hero’ who is ‘dark’ and ‘brooding’ but surprisingly not menacing or possessed of breathtaking dexterity at weaponry or any other secret lethal skill. In a way, this Emerson fella has that nice balance of a quietly dependable ability that can be reassuring without being that overly hot-stuff “manly-man”.
Is it becoming a little obvious that halfway thru the book I became more engrossed with the dynamics between Emerson and Amelia? Their verbal sparring is actually more enthralling than when the mummy shambles up into their midst. By the time revelations were made anyway, the whole storyline has become somewhat gauche.
Which reminds me, if you’ve read up to this point, I should probably have pointed out that this “Amelia Peabody Mystery” has got no sleuthing of any kind.
When I realized that, I just transferred my curiosity towards Emerson and Amelia. Blame it on the many romance novels I fed myself through the years. Give me one sniff of an attraction between two vibrant characters and I would expect passion before the story ends.
And sure enough, a kiss or two were exchanged. If ambiguously.
Amelia, being Peabody, understandably spared herself the luxury of for-once letting herself go and wax over toe-curling desire, so the reader will just have to content herself with the knowledge that she and Emerson really have the hots for each other.
Overall though? This was not terribly satisfying if your thirst was for a game of clues and perhaps a race for time (or something along those lines). Even the archaeological aspect dwindled away shortly after crossing the halfway mark.
If I have to be callous about it, it’s more of a case of much ado about nothing. Or maybe I’m just whining over the fact that Egyptian ruins had to be center stage for all this drama when in fact Egypt has got nothing to do with it at all.
Did that even make sense? No? Eh, never mind … ...more
This story of ‘psychic possession’, as other reviews state, is the first of its kind that I have encounInsidiously horrific, unrelentingly disturbing…
This story of ‘psychic possession’, as other reviews state, is the first of its kind that I have encountered; so much so that, several chapters on, I was still half-believing that what the main character, Arthur Lawford, was experiencing was nothing more than a nightmare. But, really, it wasn’t.
Deeply psychological, this ‘transformation’ that he went through – that of suddenly and mysteriously taking in the face, form, and voice of someone named Sabathier (long-ago dead) – posed upon Lawford the nature of existence that he has had (back when he was still…well…Lawford).
It was upon seeing the reaction of the people around him that he realized who among his friends were worth trusting. He even began to have doubts as to the faith that his wife holds for him, and ultimately saw the many cracks that were there all along in his marriage.
There were also copious moments wherein the story touched on the philosophical, exploring questions on the nature of life, one’s purpose for living, the presence of another plane of existence, reincarnation, and the power of evil.
Frankly, this is quite a depressing story, with the main character often deliberately derided or abandoned by those whose understanding he was hoping to count on. During those times, he questions his sanity and his very identity – is he still Lawford? Or has Sabathier taken over him completely? Is there still a remnant of his old self?
There is subtlety in the way the author took the horror factor up a notch in every chapter or new day that Lawford found himself still stuck with Sabathier’s face. A face that provokes disquiet within anyone who chances to see it. Here, then, the gothic aspect emerges, as Lawford is forced more and more to stir only in the night when there is less chance of bumping into an old acquaintance. Sounds from the night, whisperings in the dark, and stealthy voices from another part of the house also collude to constantly drive him on the edge of sanity.
Though a bit difficult for me to wade through, what with the long dialogues and constant debates on whether he really is possessed or not, there is an unmistakable mastery in the way de la Mare presented a horror story with the evil not even wholly present or even completely explicable. It is more of the unease within that gives this story force....more
My third foray into Ken Follett and he’s yet to disappoint.
Starts a bit slow what with the exposition of the central characters: Alex, the ruthless GeMy third foray into Ken Follett and he’s yet to disappoint.
Starts a bit slow what with the exposition of the central characters: Alex, the ruthless German spy sent to Cairo, Vandam (yes, really), a 40-something major in the British Staff Intelligence, Elene, a beautiful Jewish woman who’s had a string of bad luck with men, Sonja, a renowned dancer in Cairo with a strange sexual fetish (but, more importantly, an Anglophobe), and several others.
But the pace steps up when Vandam gets intrigued with the case of murder by a European named Alex Wolff who seemingly vanished into thin air. Soon enough, things take a turn for the worse when he realizes that Wolff is a spy for the Nazi. Then it becomes a cat-and-mouse game. Vandam becomes tenacious on Wolff’s scent and the spy recognizes a worthy adversary.
The beauty of thrillers such as this is the coming together of events and people in so ‘innocent’ or at least inconspicuous moments that would later have shattering effects. What’s more, Follett was able to sustain it all throughout. And his portrayal of the characters leaves no room for any perfect personas: all of them are flawed and constantly stumble into mistakes.
Thru providence and the sheer gullibility in the part of a British officer, Wolff was able to get highly confidential information, resulting in resounding defeats for the British. As the trail of Wolff almost always strangely leads to the discovery of the English novel by Daphne du Maurier, Vandam begins to put two and two together as to how Wolff operates. And as the looming force of the German army advances ever closer to Cairo, Vandam has to work quickly to catch this spy in his own game, even if it meant using Elene as bait, the woman whom Vandam is rapidly becoming attracted to.
This is a real take-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat race for time. By the third quarter, I was regularly quietly blurting ‘oh, fucking hell’ whenever a new twist comes around to thwart Vandam’s plan. I was glued to the pages.
A real treat. The ending ending was a little too soppy for my taste, but it’s negligible. And though Wolff is not as compelling (nor as scary) as Die Nadel, the story is still gripping. ...more
This collection of ‘adventures’ is plain proof why Sherlock Holmes is a household name in solving mysteries. Sometimes it onlFast, entertaining reads…
This collection of ‘adventures’ is plain proof why Sherlock Holmes is a household name in solving mysteries. Sometimes it only takes the full account of the victim or witness right there in his room at Baker Street, and before hands-on investigation is suggested, Holmes unsettles everyone by stating that he has more or less solved the case.
It is indubitably no mean feat that Arthur Conan Doyle was able to present succinct mystery cases within a few pages. If for nothing else, that is enough to commend him. Quick mystery fixes, indeed.
Certainly I enjoyed The Adventure of the Speckled Band, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, and (to an extent) The Man with the Twisted Lip. The other short adventures…well, some of them left me hanging. Unsatisfied. Disgruntled. Incredulous.
Case in point: The Five Orange Pips – really, the KKK? The story served nothing save to prove that the author had knowledge of this group. But as to incorporating something fictionalized about them, he fell short. It would have been better if he never bothered with this kind of plot.
And The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb felt like a joke. The only mystery here is why Holmes made any effort to solve it in the first place.
Even the last one, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches became too predictable it was a disappointment when one’s guesses proved right.
And yes…I am acting like a tool.
Who the hell am I to criticize works of fiction placed snugly in the pantheon of classical literature?
But there it is. I am 50/50 about this collection. It is more than worth reading if only to discover how the veritable Holmes went about his cases. But then, coming on the heels of my recent trawling through Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries…Holmes unfortunately forlornly appears a diminished figure.
Yeah, yeah. I know. My chronology’s all skewed. But the damage is done… ...more
A bit sad to read through. It’s as if the luster from Poirot’s ‘glamour’ as a detective has lost its strength.
The premise is a promising one, don’t gA bit sad to read through. It’s as if the luster from Poirot’s ‘glamour’ as a detective has lost its strength.
The premise is a promising one, don’t get me wrong: can one resolve a murder that has been resolutely concluded 16 years ago and, for all intents and purposes, left (almost) everyone with no doubt as to the identity of the killer? Poirot hardly thought twice and set off to show the readers just that.
Murder in retrospect, indeed.
In a way, Christie does prove that all one need is the functioning of the grey matter in solving complex riddles.
But the whole novel left an unsatisfying aftertaste. Having the bulk of the ‘clues’ come from the memories of five people who were around the time and place of the murder sixteen years ago is just stretching it a bit for me.
Hell. I can’t even remember verbatim a conversation that I had with another person yesterday.
But the people on this story can remember not just whole conversations, but facial expressions, the food that they ate, the weather, the clothing they had on, and even the location of objects around that time.
It just seems too convenient. And though the author is painfully aware of this – Poirot is made to give assurances (time and time again) that one’s memory can reveal a lot of things – the fact that at least 4 out of the 5 people echoed each other’s memories to a certain degree is not something I believe can happen in real life.
Even the way the poisoning of Amyas Crale was done was a bit like, “eh?”
But I suppose that’s just my bias kicking in. I suppose I was a bit bored by the time Poirot was in the throes of his ‘revelation’ bit. ...more
Was telling myself subconsciously (or so I’d like to imagine) that it couldn’t have been *that person* who committed tGenius of a work. Mind-bending.
Was telling myself subconsciously (or so I’d like to imagine) that it couldn’t have been *that person* who committed the murder (when Poirot was in the midst of his exposition and the facts pointed to just one remaining suspect), but the mind really has a great capacity for denial…so I was really still surprised by the truth. (If you weren’t and consider me an inutile…erm…well…hell! Keep it to yourself! Haha!)
This was heady rush of a whodunit. Enjoyed it immensely. Recommend it widely :) ...more
Feels like the Orient Express all over again. But instead of being a shallow copy of the plot – a horrible thing for an author to do, yes? — Death onFeels like the Orient Express all over again. But instead of being a shallow copy of the plot – a horrible thing for an author to do, yes? — Death on the Nile is more than able to stand up on its own in terms of its share of thrills, its healthy dose of the whodunit among a motley crew of characters, and even its sprinkling of romance.
It’s Poirot again at his finest.
(And, may I say, so far as I have been able to tread among the Poirot Mysteries, the one at his most introspective and sympathetic yet.)
There’s really a lot going on in here. Murder, theft, hidden identities, and so on. A most interesting contrast to the placid progress of the boat along the Nile where events take place. So the temptation to guess who onboard killed Linnet Doyle, the beautiful English heiress, is all the more compelling.
There’s the hot-blooded jealous ex-bestfriend, the unscrupulous American trustee, the sullen miss whose mother is difficult to live with, the mulish young man who spouts anti-capitalist ideals, the archaeologist with a strange telegram concerning, of all things, potatoes, the snobbish elderly woman with all the trappings of prestige, and so forth.
One of the entertaining aspects of the novel are the levels of exposition Poirot deigned to make to whoever constituted his rapt audience at the moment. By dishing out in increments who might have done the deed in so-and-so way, and then practically turning to the reader and saying, “Eh bien, it was a good try, no?”, Poirot is a master in keeping those about him in tenterhooks. And a fair share of those who listen come out genuinely outraged by the lengths with which he stretches his conjectures, just for the sake of teasing the morbid thirst of those around him. A detective first, but a performer second.
I can understand why Christie eventually felt a little fed up with her most famous character – Poirot is really a force to be reckoned with. And he attacks in the most subtle, unexpected, but damnably unreservedly ingenious ways. His ‘clearing away’ of the ‘extraneous matter’ in order to get at the heart of the crime/s is nothing short of impressive. And such brilliance of course cannot help but go into his head. In the meantime, however, I cannot but marvel at his skill. I’m afraid it might be a long time before I tire of him.
As things stand, this is my second favorite after Orient Express. Very fast-paced. Verging on dramatic, even, at some points. And, throughout, a very respectful novel…in the sense that it doesn’t waste with the reader’s time, and is in keeping with delivering its promised goods.
Wanted so much to put this down – coz the hour on the clock was silently accusing me of being up still – but this story just wouldn’t let go.
Which maWanted so much to put this down – coz the hour on the clock was silently accusing me of being up still – but this story just wouldn’t let go.
Which may sound strange, considering that the plot is pretty straightforward – a letter challenging Poirot’s sleuthing capabilities tells him to watch out for an immanent event (of course it’s a murder…this is Poirot we’re talking about). The letter is tauntingly signed, A.B.C.
Sure enough, a murder is committed in the quiet little town of Andover. And a well-known railway guide called ‘A.B.C.’ is found near the corpse.
As with the town’s name, the victim’s name begins with ‘A’, and the most obvious person who could have done it cannot be accused, as the letter, the scene of the crime, and the whole dynamics of the murder do not fit with the possible motives. Poirot is left stumped.
Fast-track to 2 more letters and 2 more murders…of persons and towns with names beginning with ‘B’ and ‘C’, respectively. Everything appears squeaky-clean, and yet kinda weird. The victims do not have any palpable connection with each other, and it becomes more and more evident that Poirot and the police are dealing with a coldly calculating and dangerous ‘madman’ – one that is ostensibly bent on showing off his skill of being 2 steps ahead of the detectives. The public is stirred into a furor.
But way before that (practically at the beginning, as a matter of fact), the reader is already given a glimpse of one Alexander Bonaparte Cust. A reserved, unprepossessing man who is shown ticking off someone’s name in his copy of the A.B.C. railway guide.
By that point, the most obvious reader reaction would be to think, ‘well, then, that takes care of the suspect’s identity’ and then just sitting back and letting the scenes unfold as to when and how Poirot catches this Mr. Cust.
As I’ve said, pretty straightforward, right?
In fact, halfway through the novel, I felt that Poirot was not up to snuff. There were barely any deductions and clever observations being made. And, to be honest, I was starting to feel a little let down by our resident Belgian detective.
And this is where the brilliance of Agatha Christie laughingly poked fun at this gullibility of mine.
It’s as if the author knew 5 chapters back how the reader is going to react as the narrative progresses. Knew it, and yet is rubbing her hands together in glee.
Just when she knows that the ‘thrill’ of mystery is beginning to leech off…she breaks down practically all ‘comfortable’ assumptions being made by the characters and the readers and shows that the murders actually conceal a vastly different motive.
Poirot’s signature explanation near the end of the whole event reveals that everything is not as it appears to be. And no, he has definitely not lost his touch.
Things are simpler than the reader is led to believe (hence my 4 stars). And yet is still more complex than the average in-your-face murder (hence why I’m still loving it).
What I’m saying? This cat-and-mouse game is one that kept me on the edge of my…uhm…sofa.
And when I finally turned the last page, I had a well-satisfied, yet sheepish, smile on my face.
What can I say? Another keep-you-on-your-toes mystery.
The characters mess with the head. The clues and ‘Peculiar Things’ clarify and bewilder. And thWhat can I say? Another keep-you-on-your-toes mystery.
The characters mess with the head. The clues and ‘Peculiar Things’ clarify and bewilder. And the story certainly shows the aggravations of finding oneself stuck in a small, cozy village that has just suddenly borne out its first murder in a long, long while.
Smack in the middle is the village’s highly likeable, dryly humorous, and long-suffering vicar who has the inconvenience of finding the village’s least favorite member slumped dead in his own study, of trying to prevent his incompetent housekeeper from quitting just to appease the missus, of hearing out in a day-to-day basis the suppositions, observations, and indignations of the more well-meaning, elderly women of his parish, and of agonizing if his younger, vivacious wife is actually having an affair…
All the while doing a not-inconsiderate amount of sleuthing on his own – with the valuable aid of the redoubtable Miss Marple, whose spot-on observations and insights on the village folk has made her a point of disgruntlement for the police constables.
With one or two more incidental plots thrown in into the mix, The Murder at the Vicarage is a story that subtly lures one to keep a wide-open eye on everything said or done – coz you have no idea which of these are really worth paying attention to.
I have to admit being near-driven bonkers with trying to keep up (especially when the ‘time’ aspect is factored in), but that just really makes me more glued to the pages.
The ending and exposition of what all the fuss is about may come out as a bit anticlimactic…but still, the entire detective-experience of getting into that point was well worth it. Another enjoyable read. ...more