Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “By the Pricking of My Thumbs” as Want to Read:
By the Pricking of My Thumbs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  10,122 Ratings  ·  545 Reviews
When Tommy and Tuppence visit an elderly aunt in her gothic nursing home, they think nothing of her mistrust of the doctors. But then Mrs Lockett mentions a poisoned mushroom stew, and they find themselves caught up in an unexpected adventure.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published 2001 by HarperCollins (first published November 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about By the Pricking of My Thumbs, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Amelia Perry as Greg said, they are all stand alone and so it doesnt matter whether you have read any before, however you will get more context from reading the…moreas Greg said, they are all stand alone and so it doesnt matter whether you have read any before, however you will get more context from reading the earlier ones! enjoy :)
(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Laurel Young
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Meave
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jim
The title comes from Shakespeare's Macbeth, "By the pricking of my thumbs,Something wicked this way comes". This is the first Tommy and Tuppence novel I have read but it won't be the last. Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit Tommy’s Aunt Ada in a retirement home called Sunny Ridge. While Tommy is visiting with his Aunt, Tuppence goes to another room where she meets and has a conversation with another resident Mrs. Lancaster. Mrs. Lancaster unexpectedly says "Was it your poor child? There behind t ...more
Medini
A recipe for one of Agatha Christie's most creepy, atmospheric thrillers:

A senile old lady's mysterious words.

A sudden disappearance.

An oil painting of a house which invokes an unexpected sense of déja vu.

A dead body walled off behind a fireplace.

A stuffed, glassy-eyed, broken doll.

A string of unsolved child murders.

A missing grave.

A killer in a home for elderly ladies.

A cache of precious stones.

All these set in a picturesque setting, along with a sprinkling of gossipy middle aged villagers, shi
...more
Bookworm
Oct 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-care-for
I feel an explanation is required since really, I would have thought NO ONE could rate a Tommy and Tuppence one star, but there you have it.

I'm just not into her mental-murder mysteries, and while I enjoyed 3/4 of it comfortably, by the fourth I was uncomfortable and the last two chapters were just ghastly. It was, to be brief, too much for me-I prefer a mystery with a detective who quietly goes about arranging clues in order and making observations, with a less psychotic murderer.
Summer
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm hovering in between a 4 and 5 star rating on this right now, so we'll just say 4.5 for now.

Oh my goodness, Agatha Christie is brilliant! The only other book I've read by her is And Then There Were None, which I deeply enjoyed, too, but I actually kind of guessed the end of that one (like I wasn't 100% confident, but when it was revealed, I was like yeah, I should've run with that thought). This mystery was much more complicated, though, because there were red herrings all over the place and
...more
Christine
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My goodness I loved this book. It is without a doubt this is my favorite Tommy and Tuppence story. It is brilliantly creepy and perfectly engaging. Tuppence gets caught up in a mystery that is about the old, the young, what time can do to a person, and how you never quite know if your perception of something is the right one. It has nothing to do with war (which I prefer as I'm not big on their wartime stories) and everything to do with the pasts of people you wouldn't think had things to hide. ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
Another off the Agatha Christie list as I continue my voyage of rediscovery, cruising down the long long river of books I read in my teens and have almost forgotten.

'Pricking of my Thumbs is, as GR says, #4 in the Tommy and Tuppence theme and as these were my very favourite of Christie's characters it was kind of a given that I was going to enjoy it.

This one is set after WWII, so our heroes are middle aged now, with grown and married children but still with indomitable characters and Tuppence
...more
Santiago
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lina Mouloudj
sigh! i'm so disappointed..

well, this is a summary about how did the "adventure" started:

Tommy and Tuppence went to an old age home called Sunny Ridge to visit Tommy's ant, Ant Ada.. while Tommy was talking to his old ant, Tuppence sat with Mrs Lancaster who also resides at Sunny Ridge, suddenly Mrs Lancaster asked Tuppence "was it your poor child? there behind the fireplace", those words sticks in Tuppence's mind...

after a few weeks And Ada died, so Tommy and Tuppence went to Sunny Ridge to get
...more
Greg Z
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I'm working my way through all of Dame Christie's works (she's my favorite author in a comfort book/food way) and thought I'd try one presented to us rather late in her career (the 1960s). Forty years after Christie first presented that dynamic spy duo, Tommy and Tuppence, to us in the 1920s, they are back at it, this time investigating a murder at a "home for old ladies." (Let's all just get it over with, roll our eyes at this sad cliché - two old detectives at an old folks home, which thankful ...more
Kavita
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, uk
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
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
...more
Chris
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2016-reads
Nothing give me more comfort than reading an Agatha Christie book while traveling. Not sure why, but she's been my go to for probably 20 years or more. And I was introduce to Tommy and Tuppence! I had no idea she had characters other than Poirot and Miss Marple!
Ahmad Sharabiani
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4)
تو باغ، رزها باهم رقابت دارند، با بویی دلفریب و مست کننده
ا. شربیانی
Renee
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoyed Christie's Tommy and Tuppence novels. I do like how she has them age as time goes by and they are a little different in each book. Here they are around retirement age and are starting to feel a little older. It was a fun read, but I think there was maybe just a little too much added to the plot. (view spoiler) The ending did surprise me ...more
Diana Long
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Tommy and Tuppence mystery where the reader now finds them in their 70's. For the majority of the book Tuppence is on her own when she decides to investigate a painting and clues left by an elderly aunt, a mystery going back many years but one she is determined to solve with dire consequences.
BookishSteph1
3.5 stars
Patrick
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings at this time....need a few hours to think about this one. A very quick listen, narrator superb. Dark story line for sure but I do think that is the point with AC's storytelling.
Mansuriah Hassan
This is the first Tommy and Tuppence series I have read but it definitely won't be the last. "By The Pricking Of My Thumbs" offers the sense of adventure, wit and charm from the main characters, husband and wife duo, Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Beresford. This novel possesses a chilling tone that intensifies as the story progresses.

There are practically no dead bodies, only the shady disappearance of an old lady. The story finds Tuppence interested in a painting of a country house that is inhe
...more
Amy
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
Disclaimer: I tried to like it. It's Agatha Christie for goodness sake! I hope this is not representative of her other works. Maybe it's just me. Lots of people gave it four or five stars and said that it was "chilling". That said:

WARNING: May cause marked drowsiness, confusion of thoughts due to mind-wandering, slight headache and a severe case of "get-on-with-it-already!"

It started out promising. I enjoyed the obvious "Britishness" of it. The dialogue between Tommy and Tuppence was playful and
...more
Lucia
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this is a memorable novel by AC. I found the central idea good, but I did not quite  like  the plot. However, this mystery  is enjoyable thanks to Tommy and Tuppence. She gives us the most important help, that is "to tie up everything" and leave aside  the elements which are not relevant. A method dear to Poirot and Miss Marple. But they use reasoning and logic for their deductions, she doesn't. She uses intuition. Mrs Boscowan made the point asking: "Who's the one who got the imag ...more
Faa
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Meriana
3,5 stars bulatkan ke 3
Tidak seburuk yg saya kira. In fact, saya malah dibuat ketawa-ketiwi-ngakak di akhir dan (terutama) awal cerita. Memang percakapan pasangan profesional tua yg kompak ini benar-benar mengena.

Kalo di cerita t&t yg sebelumnya si Tommy yg kena gasak, sekarang si Tuppence. Kasihan juga sama si Tuppence sampe kayak begitu. Pinter bener AC-sensei dalam menentukan kondisi Tuppence >..<) Terus kondisi Tommy waktu Tuppence nggak pulang-pulang itu juga kasihan banget... Kay
...more
Lucía
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Is this the creepiest novel ever written? Fairly, it is not. But, getting straight to the point: this book scared the heck out of me in a way no other has ever done. By the dénouement my inner alarm set off and there I was, sitting on bed under a blanket yelling at the book in my hands... well, one's to live books, that's the fun. *insert gesture of dignity here*
I consider this one a good option for people who enjoy reading A. Christie and anyone in general who wants to give her a first try. Se
...more
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)
Maureen
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Beth
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This has some really creepy moments, but it's also really scattered, plot-wise, and kind of completely insane. It doesn't hold together at all: there are remnants of three different stories crammed together, and none of them feel properly resolved.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Light Thickens (Roderick Alleyn, #32)
  • In the Teeth of the Evidence (Lord Peter Wimsey, #14)
  • Pearls Before Swine (Albert Campion Mystery #12)
  • The Scoop and Behind the Screen
  • Agatha Christie: A Biography
  • Champagne for One (Nero Wolfe, #31)
123715
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
More about Agatha Christie...

Other Books in the Series

Tommy and Tuppence (5 books)
  • The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence #1)
  • Partners in Crime (Tommy and Tuppence #2)
  • N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)
  • Postern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence, #5)
“I don’t particularly want to think of your funeral because I’d much prefer to die before you do. But I mean, if I were going to your funeral, at any rate it would be an orgy of grief. I should take a lot of handkerchiefs.” 3 likes
“That's where all the trouble in life comes from. Thinking.” 2 likes
More quotes…