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The Secret of Chimneys

(Superintendent Battle #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  14,173 ratings  ·  870 reviews
What is The Secret of Chimneys? A young drifter finds out when a favor for a friend pulls him into the heart of a deadly conspiracy in this captivating classic from Agatha Christie.

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that an errand for a friend would place him at the center of a deadly conspiracy. Drawn into a web of intrigue, he begins to realize that the simple favor has placed him in seriis The
ebook, 336 pages
Published February 10th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published June 1925)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1), Agatha Christie
The Secret of Chimneys is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published June 1925. Anthony Cade agrees to take on two jobs for his friend James McGrath. Anthony heads for London to deliver the draft of a memoir to a publisher, and to return letters to the woman who wrote them. In England, politician George Lomax persuades Lord Caterham to host a house party at Chimneys. George's cousin Virginia Revel is invited,
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Complete Hercule Poirot Novels: The Secret of Chimneys, Agatha Christie
The Secret of Chimneys is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by The Bodley Head in June 1925. It introduces the characters of Superintendent Battle and Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent. At the request of George Lomax, Lord Caterham reluctantly agrees to host a weekend party at his home, Chimneys. A murder occurs in the house, beginning a week of fast-paced events with police among th
Jason Koivu
Rather silly at times - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not - The Secret of Chimneys is not one of Agatha Christie's finest works. It is, however, an enjoyable enough read for mystery fans who like a throwback.

When a rather dashing young drifter accepts a friend's job on the prospect of quick cash, he gets himself into a deep bit of doo-doo. This murder mystery amongst the upper classes draws in political intrigue at a lord's estate. A random and playfully portrayed cast of characters populate the n
Manuel Antão
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1981
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Culture Change: "The Secret of Chimneys” by Agatha Christie

(Original Review, 1981-01-10)

By the time she died, few people probably remembered the casual Antisemitism of Agatha Christie's early books (try “The Secret of Chimneys”); the prejudice had ceased to be fashionable, and she'd stopped expressing it. Chesterton's antisemitism was deeper, and maybe he'd have kept it up longer; but h
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Finished it in one day. The amount of suspense and intrigue and the innumerable suspicious foreign characters had me racing through the pages. This was the first Superintendent Battle and he is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip- an impassive mask of a face in the most disastrous situations . The hero Anthony Cade with his nonchalant humor simply steals the show( I was reminded of Bertie Wooster of P.G.Wodehouse.). But the end left me with a tinge of disappointment. I sort of anticipate ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really surprised to see that this review has an average rating of almost 4 stars.

I like most Agatha Christie books but when Christie deviates from her standard mysteries into political and international intrigue-type stories she doesn't do it well (see also "They Came to Baghdad" which I actually thought was better than this). The characters are fake and the conspiracies and coincidences are way too fantastic to be believed. At multiple points I considered putting the book down and not fi
Deborah Ideiosepius
I have been re-reading a lot of Agatha Christie over the last couple of years, some have stood the test of time better than others and this is one of the better ones. It would be three and a half stars if possible.

In The Secret of Chimneys, Christie once again forsakes her 'traditional' heroes of Poirot and Miss Marple, while it is listed in compilations as 'Inspector Battle #1' Battle himself is not a central character at all, rather he is a foil for the main characters.

Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Waiting two months to decide how to summarize “The Secret Of Chimneys” makes it harder, with its deluge of background details. Reviewers dismissing books as “a quick read” drive me bonkers. What a non-compliment to complexity. 1925 puts Agatha Christie early in her career. So much is pertinent to politicians, royalty, and the English in Africa; I wonder if by irony, Agatha was not thinking globally and imaged her readers were British. Instead of a generic mystery; hers crammed-in detail specific to her generation. I dock“The ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Agatha Christie book.Maybe I am exhilarated at the moment after finishing the book and gave it a four but personally there are a lot of things that bothered me a trifle such as the repeated references to Sherlock Holmes and some racial slurs. The reason might be the mindset of the people during her(Agatha Christie's)days.
As expected from her,the twists and the turns in the last 50 pages or so kept me gripping. Her writing style is concise with a plot consisting of interesting ch
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Cade agrees to undertake a commission for an old friend but he soon finds himself involved in something much more complex and more serious than he expected. A variety of people try to get hold of the manuscript which he is delivering to a London publisher in a variety of ways.

But all the plotting and planning leads the various protagonists to a complex denouement at a country house called Chimneys where Superintendent Battle and a man from the French police as well as various other peop
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**4.5 stars**

What a witty book. I laughed out loud from beginning to end. Engaging characters and a really good plot. This was really early in Dame Christie's career and although we have her usual great twists (I figured out the best one though) it's not what you would call typical Christie - there was something about the style that reminded me of Dorothy Sayers. It was so much fun though, specially if you like dry humor, and the narration by Hugh Fraser was simply marvelous. Probabl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agatha Christie, one of the greatest mystery writers of all time - some would say the greatest - was one author whose works I found too creepy to read when I was a kid. (I have to blame this on my sis; she used to feed me Christie's stories when we were alone in our room at night with the lights turned off etc - and when images of dead bodies and children being murdered while bobbing for apples can be quite traumatising and scar one for life:D)

Anyway, when my interest in Agatha Chris
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret of Chimneys is my final entry for the Cozy Mystery Challenge and I’m glad I ended with it because the whole story is just so cosy and a perfect example of the genre. It has a grand ancestral house with secret passages, mysterious deaths, famous thieves, compromising documents, disguised identities and fun characters. I really enjoyed it!

Somewhere in Africa, in the 1920s (the book was published in 1925) two friends meet and have a strange conversation about stolen love lett
Vikas Singh
Apr 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
I re read this after a gap of ten years. The world of detectives and fiction writing gas changed so much since then. A life long Agatha Christie fan I found this one quite boring. It was thru sheer perseverance that i could manage to complete the book. There are huge gaps in the story line and the end is dull. The mystery of theft of Kohinoor is almost forced down the throat. The reference to the hiding place is not so cryptic and the reader is purposefully doled out irrelevant bits of info to k ...more
I can honestly say that I will probably never re-read this book in the future. It was honestly a trial to get through. The first 50 or so pages made no sense and then things get a bit smoother when Superintendent Battle arrives on the scene. But honestly, he is not even needed in this story since once again another person solves the crimes that are central to this story. I found the ending to be ridiculous and pretty implausible.

The central figure in this story is Anthony Cade. When
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had completely forgotten this first Superintendent Battle mystery. Quite fun with Balkan politics, international jewel thieves, blackmail and possible impostors, not to mention a murder or two!

Hugh Fraser does a marvelous narration.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This, on the other hand, I absolutely adore. It's got that Christie oddball strangeness you find in some of her more outlandish books - the plot goes to some weird places - but the tone and atmosphere are so well done, and the personalities are so distinct and funny, that I'm always so entertained when I read this.

The mystery is almost irrelevant here. It's the people that matter.
Charlotte Smith
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: agatha-christie
This book was okay, one that went here there and everywhere. It was hard keeping up with the story and what was happening. Always thought that Anthony crab was up to something but not sure what it was.
Sarah Sammis
The Secret of Chimneys: 05/06/05
The political upheavals of WWI seemed to have inspired a great many popular fiction books in the years before WWII started to gear up. Many of these books take a rather humorous and satirical approach to the machinations of one country to control the flow of events of another country. The Secret of Chimneys is Agatha Christie's contribution to this "genre."

Ignoring the romantic ending, The Secret of Chimneys is a political satire that pokes fun at the British Em
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Christies ever. Anthony and Virginia alike are the type of people I wish I were friends with in real life; Bundle and Lord Catterham are adorable (so adorable that I'm glad we got to see more of them in the Seven Dials Mystery, along with Bill and Codders); Superintendent Battle is, as always, superb. The mystery itself gets a shade confusing in spots, and Anthony himself admits that much of his involvement in the matter comes about by amazing coincidence, but what does that m ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review posted on BookLikes:
Kirsten #weloveyoualex
I love Agatha Christie books like this! The spy story... the many suspects... the romance.... Much fun to be had! I know people are either Poirot or Miss Marple fans. But I'm a fan of the standalones, the detective thrown into a mystery, and the sinister foreigners from countries that are thinly veiled representations of real countries!
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-mystery
I enjoyed most of this book. There were some good characters and interesting situations. However, the ending seemed like Agatha had run out of ideas and just wanted to get it over with. I didn't feel like any of the clues led up to the finale. Not her best.
Nancy Oakes
The Secret of Chimneys is the first Christie novel to feature Superintendent Battle, who will, over the course of his career, be the featured detective in two more mysteries, The Seven Dials Mystery and Toward Zero. Battle, however, takes second place to one Anthony Cade, who, when we first meet him, works as a tour guide in Africa. At a bar one day Cade meets an old buddy, James McGrath, who has been tasked with the delivery of the memoirs of the now-dead Count Stylptitch of Herzoslovakia to a ...more
BOTTOM LINE: An extremely high-ranking Balkan politician writes a tell-all book to be published when he dies, which he has, recently. It comes to young Anthony to keep this manuscript safe and to deliver it to the publishers at an agreed-upon date, not before, not later. Of course there are many folks out to stop the printing of this outrageously true history of a dark time in an old country. With that as McGuffin, rich'n'exotic characters using false names and with many motives, a huge old hous ...more
Norah Una Sumner
Real rating: 4.5

This was awesome.I loved the characters and the really complex and interesting story;there's also a lot of humor and even sarcastic remarks.The ending is sooo good!I really liked Virginia,she's a bit crazy,isn't she?


Those last 20 pages were insane,I had so much fun reading them!But seriously now,this book is really interesting,with royal intrigue,phenomenal main character and gre
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From IMDb:
An attempt to bring a famed stately home back to its former glory is marred when a visiting Austrian diplomat is shot to death decades after the disappearance of a priceless diamond.

A movie was made based on this book and it's available at YouTube, with Julia McKenzie, Ian Weichardt, Laura O'Toole.

I think Christie's international intrigue novels are not for me. The only time I perked up was when Bundle and Virginia Revel were in the scene, livening up the dialogue. Otherwise there was not much here; and of course the lovely casual racism and antisemitism and xenophobia so particular to British fiction of this era stand out all the more.

But it is interesting to read her early novels and appreciate her development as a writer in the later novels, especially in terms of plotting.
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I adore Agatha Christie novels and this one was a good story. This is the first Christie novel that I have purchased as an audiobook and I rather enjoyed the story and the narrating was superb. Can't wait to listen to more of her novels.
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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 translation.

Other books in the series

Superintendent Battle (5 books)
  • The Seven Dials Mystery (Superintendent Battle, #2)
  • Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot, #15)
  • Murder Is Easy  (Superintendent Battle, #4)
  • Towards Zero (Superintendent Battle, #5)
“What a lot of funny people it does take to make a world.” 4 likes
“When I want to get anywhere, I usually do.” 4 likes
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