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

(Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries #4)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  14,759 ratings  ·  893 reviews
While visiting Tommy's Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about "your poor child" and "something behind the fireplace".

When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization le
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Paperback, 212 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Signet (first published November 1968)
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Jeffrey There is no need to read the other books in the Tommy & Tuppence series but you will get more from some of the references if you have read the earlier…moreThere is no need to read the other books in the Tommy & Tuppence series but you will get more from some of the references if you have read the earlier volumes.(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,759 ratings  ·  893 reviews


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Start your review of By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4)
Henry Avila
Agatha Christie's leisurely murder mystery begins in an old ladies home quite appropriately .Tommy Beresford is visiting his bold ( or mean a better word) Aunt Ada, at the tranquil Sunny Ridge, the spinster is 80 and still tough and she likes tormenting Tuppence the nephew's wife, who has come unwisely along, (Ada needs some fun in her sedentary life). Tuppence befriends Mrs.Lancaster a lonely inmate in need of one. This woman seems slightly confused and always talking about a dead child which c ...more
Laurel Young
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4), Agatha Christie
While visiting Tommy's Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about "your poor child" and "something behind the fireplace". When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization leads her on a dangerous adventure involving a missing t
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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 inheri
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samantha  (books-are-my-life20)
Bit of mess this one, there are many loose ends left hanging but i liked tommy and tuppence relationship.
Melindam
OK, so the Tommy & Tuppence stories are not really among my favourite Christie books.

And this particular story just left me ...bored.. I guess? So, no more than 2 stars,
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Amy
This book took me months to read. I do not think I have ever struggled through an Agatha Christie novel the way I struggled through this one. I picked it up and put it down...picked it up and put it down...picked it up...
But that ending.
Wow.
Agatha Christie went creepy. It is wonderful. I added another star for the twist. I think I need to re-read this one someday, just in one sitting. Tuppence and her muddled brain and intuitive leaps really keeps things confusing (though doesn't push the plot f
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Hannah
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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Meave
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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Deb Jones
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are the quintessential British married couple -- and what a delight they are, both as everyday individuals and "adventurers." "Adventures" being the euphemism the couple use to describe their various sleuthing deeds over the years.

This time around, Tuppence goes off on her own while Tommy attends an annual conference. Tuppence, as Tommy both fondly and exasperatedly describes her, is like a terrier on a trail or after a scent once she puts her mind to something. In B
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John
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: agatha-christie
My first Tommy and Tuppence story. An elderly happily married couple who get into some pickles. This story about the aging Aunt Ada and them meeting Mrs Lancashire in her retirement home starts an adventure. Tuppence looks for and finds a house by a canal in a painting there aunt leaves them. The house has some strange inhabitants and Tuppence is curious about the house history and gets drawn into a mystery with a surprise ending.

Criminal gangs, child murders, a secret room, jewels and some odd
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Vikas Singh
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
By this time both Tommy and Tuppence have considerably aged but they have not lost their charm and keenness for some amateurish detective work. It all starts with a visit to old age home to see Tommy’s aunt and the duo come across some interesting conversations which set them off on investigative track. However unlike their other adventures, there are too many coincidences which spoil the reader’s interest. The end is of course all mumbo-jumbo making the novel an average read.
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
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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
Summer
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
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Shauna
Not one of Christie's best . The original premise is interesting and has lots of potential but things rapidly go downhill. The plot takes in a dead child, jewel robberies, a criminal mastermind and a child killer to name but a few. A less scattergun approach would have made for a more coherent and enjoyable detective story.
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.
Shiloah
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a darker more sinister story worth a more complicated plot than some of her others. Loved it!
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
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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
Callum McLaughlin
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's as readable, engrossing, and intricately woven as I've come to expect from Christie, and it was just what I was in the mood for. However, as a more analytical reader, I can also recognise that it's not one of her best, with certain tropes (though undoubtedly commonplace at the time of its writing) not having aged all that well (like the inherent fear of the mentally ill, and a slight demonization of abortion). Don't get me wrong, the book isn't heavy handed o ...more
Christine
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Santiago
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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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!
Yahmose
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
One of some books I really didn’t like — what a bore :/
Greg
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Shelves: uk, mystery
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
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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Chris
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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)
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Maureen
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.
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41,427 followers
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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Other books in the series

Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries (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)

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