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Destination Unknown

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  9,565 ratings  ·  722 reviews
In Agatha Christie’s gripping international thriller Destination Unknown, a woman at the end of her rope chooses a more exciting way to die when she embarks upon an almost certain suicide mission to find a missing scientist.

When a number of leading scientists disappear without a trace, concern grows within the international intelligence community. And the one woman who app
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published November 1st 1954)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
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Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Christie thrillers are such a departure from her usual whodunnits, that they're a real mix bag.
This started so strongly and with promise but ultimately descended into chaos.

Hilary Craven is so down that she contemplates suicide, that is until she is given a better way to die...
She is tasked with impersonating a wife of a missing nuclear scientist who is believed to have deflected to the Soviet Union.

This is so real cold war behind the Iron Curtain stuff.
Which makes the Moroccan setting even
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Hilary Craven has lost everything that is dear to her and cannot contemplate life any longer. As she sets out to act on her despair, she is approached with a proposition...

I said it before and I say it again: Dame Agatha did not write good spy thrillers. This another proof of it. Although, Destination Unknown was not as outrageously bad as Passenger to Frankfurt - I mean really, not many books are as bad as that - this one was quite boring.

Maybe it was because the story was too slow paced, or ma
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read 81 of Agatha Christie's 82 books (I've always refused to read Final Curtain) between the ages of 14-16. I loved her books heart and soul - but my reading taste matured and at some point I became an insufferable snob when it comes to genre fiction. However, after a long quarter with an pedantic twerp professor for a literature class I decided I needed a completely frivolous break from literary fiction. I picked up And Then There Were None for a reread. It read fast and fun and reminded me ...more
This was not a typical Agatha Christie book at all since it was more of a spy thriller than a detective story. While I think I definitely prefer her "classic crime solving", it was still interesting to see AC dipping her toes in a different genre. (I listened to this on audiobook btw.)
Marija Simić
I kept thinking, something is wrong! Then, I realized, something is missing. A murder.
Still, pretty enjoyed this book, although it's not really Christie's 'typical' book. But, still, contains many interesting characters! I know it's good, when I close the book, and say, 'Man! I feel I just came back from a journey.'
So yeah, not a master piece of Agatha, but still, easy, interesting read.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: subscription, audio
There are definitely highs and lows in this one-- overall, it was a Christie book written when she was still in top form, so it's a pleasant enough reading experience. I enjoyed Hilary & Peters, but aside from that, this feels pretty stuck in its time. Not a bad time, but not one of her best IMO ...more
Vikas Singh
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Christie novels. A fast paced spy thriller, it has all elements of international espionage and intrigue. And in true Christie fashion there is a twisted end. The story line is so gripping that you would want to finish it in one go. Superb reading
Simona B
Aug 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Destination Unknown kind of anticipates Passenger to Frankfurt, in my opinion, and that's enough to explain why I couldn't enjoy nor stand it.
Matthew Mitchell
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A delightful meaningless romp.

The queen of mystery took a break from Poirot and Marple to produce a post-war action/adventure thriller story about the mysterious disappearance of scientists all over the world and the unlikely spy who cracks the case. Always moving (to a destination unknown), along the way there is murder, adventure, mistaken identity, and even love, all with that Agatha Christie tongue-in-cheek humor and charm in a decidedly more Hitchcockian vein.

Destination Unknown is Tommy &
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled all of the way through this Agatha Christie stand alone mystery. I felt it very dry and uninteresting most of the way through. There were a few characters I really wanted to like, but because of the way the story was written, I could not get close enough to them. Right up to the last chapter in the book, it was hard to see where this plot was going to take me and how it was all going to turn out. I stuck with it, and admit that the outcome made me smile. I think the conclusion was "a ...more
Leslie Hickman
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: to anyone who loves the classic times around the 40s
Shelves: mystery
Now this is the type of Mystery book that makes me love to read! I love reading Agatha Christie the her books there are no cursing, violence, etc. They make you have to use your mind. This book is not a "serial" from what I can gather...there is no Tommy & Tuppence, Miss Marple or M. Hercules Peirot to solve the crime. I actually did not get all the story till the end. There were more than one tale woven into this story. ...more
Apr 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm a little bit disappointed, it was more of a spy thing than a mystery novel and am not that fan of spying books, kept waiting for the intrigue but it didnt show up, hoped for better than this, mais bon..
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
f you open up an Agatha Christie novel looking forward to a nicely arranged corpse in front of a roaring fire, and Hercule Poirot standing over them – then this one might disappoint – though it shouldn’t. There are no corpses – and no Poirot or Marple – not even a brace of Beresfords.

This is one of Christie’s thrillers – and it is excellent in a similar way to the They Came to Baghdad was. Like so many Christie’s novels set in the places she travelled to – there is a great sense of place, and sh
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Emilia Fox

A brilliant young scientist has disappeared from Paris. The international community is concerned, as he is only one of several scientists who have recently dropped from sight. His wife, Olive Betterton, may know more than she is willing to say, but she lies in a Moroccan hospital bed, dying from injuries sustained in a plane crash. Meanwhile, Hilary Craven is in the grips of depression – her daughter has died, her husband has left her. She has nothing to live for … u
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was 12 we were leaving the states to move back to England. About a month before we left I realised that there was absoultely no reason for me to be paying attention in class, as I was leaving before the end of term, would never get those grades and was soon to be starting a new school in a foreign country. So instead I decided I would read all the Sweet Valley High books and Agatha Christie books in the school library. (I did very well and achieved this averaging about 3 books a day). Of ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Danger! Disguises! Spies! The Iron Curtain!

This book would fit much better under the class of thriller than mystery. It features a great female protagonist who has been dealt a really harsh hand (cheating husband, death of a child), and is stopped from committing suicide with an offer to dip her toes in the pool of espionage.

It was written during a time when everyone was giving Russia/communism an extremely intense side eye, so the general fear of those and other related things aren't necessaril
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a traditional murder mystery, but rather a political thriller/mystery. It starts with two rather grey men working in a rather grey office, discussing the disappearance of several scientists from various countries, but one in particular from England. Tom Betterton has vanished recently without a trace, and his wife has no idea where he has gone.

At the same time, a young woman is so desperately sad at the death of her young daughter and the breakdown of her marriage that she sees no po
Chitra Iyer
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Destination Unknown is the book of the month for July’s reading challenge. I was pleasantly surprised that Agatha Christie (AC) had ventured into something unique and away from her comfort zone. Her hesitation to take up bold moves in the story does show but this was, nonetheless, a satisfying read to say the least.

Here’s a quick summary for you before getting to the review.


When a number of scientists begin to disappear, the intelligence community is concerned. Their only hope is Mrs Oliv
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very different mystery from Agatha Christie. I admit that I kept flipping the pages expecting someone to die on the next page, but to my surprise, no murder happened at all (excluding anything happened before Hilary Craven took the role of Olive Betterton). Nonetheless, I really like the plot. The main story isn't about murder but it's a crime all right; and I think the idea of introducing "another way" to suicide by sending that very person to a dangerous (something with th
Diana Long
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of her normal murder mysteries, but an enjoyable, well written and thoroughly engrossing story. In this work, the disappearance of the worlds foremost scientists, doctors, etc. causes alarm across the globe. A crime hasn't actually been committed or has it? A woman who contemplates suicide is interrupted in her attempt and enlisted to aid in solving the mystery by going undercover. As the pages turn the plot thickens and our heroine goes on one hazardous adventure. Plenty of twists, tur ...more
Carolyn F.

This book seemed a bit of a departure from Agatha's previous books which I liked. Great ending.
Krissa Hill
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With just 100 pages left I thought this was a solid 3 star. How could I doubt Agatha Christie? My head just exploded with how surprisingly complex this was!
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Yeah this was bad and not the Agatha I know. I gave it 3 stars because she’s Agatha but it was one of her worst written.
A different platter from Agatha Christie. Destination Unknown never comes up as a straight laced detective fiction. Rather it falls into a unknown Christie genre of spy/political fiction. Scientists disappearing from all over the world leaves the West baffled. The book is all about trying to find out who or what is making them disappear.

A common theme of Christie present in this book is a simple woman who is also the main protagonist helped on by a male government official. All in all this book
Niki (nikilovestoread)
There is just something about Agatha Christie books. I've enjoyed almost every one I have read. Destination Unknown is a bit different from her normal murder mysteries, but I really enjoyed it. It was fun to see her take on a different theme (more of a spy thriller) and add her own style to it. Famous scientists around the world are disappearing without a trace. Hilary Craven is enlisted by Mr. Jessop to help him get to the bottom of the disappearances and figure out what is going on. The disapp ...more
Heather W
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read with an unexpected twist at the end, Destination Unknown tells the story of Hilary Craven as she is recruited to help the Government locate missing scientists.

I devoured this book, and was fairly sure I knew what was going on as the story developed...oh how wrong I was! This is definitely a story were the less you know about it going in, the better. Would definitely recommend.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of it was had an atmosphere a little more dystopian than I expected. Which made it an interesting read. Had the usual happy ending most Christie books have. The ending felt a bit abrupt but I don't see how the novel could have sustained more writing.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Take a puzzle of disappearing scientists, add a young woman who feels her life is over, and toss in a dash of Morocco for a suspense story with a last minute twist.
This book is more of a spy thriller than a mystery. Christie writes detective stories better. However, this is still a quick and enjoyable read. Hilary Craven is sad and depressed and is thinking of killing herself when she is presented with a dangerous task. She might very well be killed, but at least it would be an honorable death. She agrees to impersonate another woman in order to penetrate a hideaway and hopefully find where missing scientists are going. Thus begins an improbable journey th ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I really like Agatha Christie--her writing is interesting and wonderfully British, proper but still with a touch of wry humor. But what I love the most about her--what everyone loves the most about her--is the fact that I NEVER guess her mysteries. They're always a surprise.
I can't give this book the 4 stars I'd like to because it didn't feel like a mystery, really. There wasn't a central murder, with a detective (famous or unknown) interviewing suspects. The story basically revolves around a wo
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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 Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in t

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