Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pale Horse (Ariadne Oliver, #5)” as Want to Read:
The Pale Horse (Ariadne Oliver, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pale Horse

(Ariadne Oliver #5)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  17,768 ratings  ·  1,188 reviews
"Wickedness...such wickedness...."
The dying woman turned to Father Gorman with agony in her eyes. "Stopped....It must be stopped....You will...."

The priest spoke with reassuring authority. "I will do what is necessary. You can trust me."

Father Gorman tucked the list of names she had given him into his shoe. It was a meaningless list; the names were of people who had nothin
...more
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 15th 2002 by Minotaur Books (first published 1961)
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 The Pale Horse, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Greg Hi Terry Lee, there is a trivia question right here on goodreads which does answer which Shakespeare play is mentioned. But I'm not sure it was Miss M…moreHi Terry Lee, there is a trivia question right here on goodreads which does answer which Shakespeare play is mentioned. But I'm not sure it was Miss Marple who mentions it, I don't remember.(less)
Jim Agreed! A few chapters in and I was still totally lost. I don't very often quit an Agatha Christie book but I just couldn't stay with this one! You mi…moreAgreed! A few chapters in and I was still totally lost. I don't very often quit an Agatha Christie book but I just couldn't stay with this one! You might try watching the two-episode series on Amazon Prime. Interesting concept and one which I still didn't completely understand!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,768 ratings  ·  1,188 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Pale Horse (Ariadne Oliver, #5)
Jeffrey Keeten
”And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him…”

A certain Mrs. Davis dies suddenly in a boarding house. Her death is not remarkable, but the list of people’s names that she shared with a priest before dying turns out to be very interesting indeed. This list includes the names of some people who have recently died of natural causes, or was it? When the priest is found murdered, the police are confounded by how it all ties together.

Mark
...more
carol.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christie fans
Shelves: mystery, classic
Imagine: a Christie I hadn't read. Ever. But I've re-read enough Christie in my adult life to know that sometimes she works well, sometimes less so. Which would this be?

It turns out, a strange mix of classic Christie, modern Christie, Christie commentary and something unfinished that makes it a most odd kind of book.

It begins with Christie's traditional rather anonymous, milquetoast narrator, something along the lines of Roger Ackroyd. He is supposed to be working on his latest manuscript on Mo
...more
Richard Derus
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watched the new adaptation on Prime. I've also seen the ITV's two versions, a not-good 1990s film and the weirdly contorted Agatha Christie's Marple version; and oddly enough the book was cheap on Kindle a few years ago, so I gave that a peruse when I saw this version was coming; I should, at this point, be able to teach a workshop in Christie Adaptations.

The new one is very, very pretty. Rufus Sewell, as Mark Easterbrook, is very, very pretty. Mark's flat, the village of Much Deeping, his Lag
...more
Veronique
Re-read in light of new tv adaptation coming out in Feb 2020 with Rufus Sewell.
With the material here, I can well see this being rather dark and scary... I’ll post more once I see it :O)


"Evil is nothing superhuman".`

As much as I love Poirot and Marple, there is something even more appealing to a Christie book with a totally unknown 'investigator'.

Mark Easterbrook senses all is not what it seems in a series of events that lead him to look into The Pale Horse. The narrative follows him as well as
...more
Vikas Singh
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
Christie at her poisonous best. What sets apart this novel from her other writings is the development of the plot is not linear. There are interesting diversions to keep you glued till end with great deal of occult and witches in the plot. The inspiration for solving the murder appears to be too sudden. Mrs. Oliver without her friend Poirot manages to add that extra bit of fun and frolic.
Ken
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dame Agatha’s first novel of the 1960’s demonstrates that not only does she have her pulse on current trends, while also writing another brilliant engaging mystery.

Opening in a Chelsea coffee shop our main protagonist Mark Easterbrook witnesses an argument between two girls, when Mark learns that one of those girls has subsequently died and is included on a list of surnames of a recently deceased priest he soon fears that the other names are marked for death.

Whilst the trendy London setting real
...more
Nandakishore Varma
A mystery which contains non of the Christie regulars (except Mrs. Oliver), which was surprisingly much better than I expected from the lukewarm first half. The discovery made by Mrs. Oliver gives the vital clue for solving the mystery - interestingly, it was instrumental in saving a person's life also in the real world.

(view spoiler)
...more
Stephen Robert Collins
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have seen to versions of this done TV the ITV version had Miss Marple in it and was ghastly. The last was even worse the BBC did set in 1961 but was not right.
Agatha Christie did lot of Hercule Poirot books and Miss Marple but she also did stand alone books such as And then their were None this one of those. One of her much later mystery books towards the end of her life with Macbeth hint and biblical over hints. Behold a Pale Horse and his name was death. She did love her poisons
Susan
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1961, this is a later Agatha Christie novel, and a slightly different plot to that which you might be expecting. This is not a cosy mystery, set in a stately home, amid the drawing rooms of the aristocracy. Rather, this has a feel of Dennis Wheatley about it, with a real sense of the supernatural.

A dying woman gives her last confession to a Catholic priest. Father Gorman is troubled by what she tells him and, on the way home, he scribbles a list of names she has given him and tucks
...more
F.R.
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Early in this novel a character muses about how best to portray the Witches in a production of ‘Macbeth’. It’s his contention that rather than pushing up the weirdness so the sisters become something which could feasibly fit into a pantomime, they are instead portrayed as the kind of normal – if slightly sinister – old ladies who are frequently dismissed as witches in English country villages. As apparently all English villages have witches (a fact which all country folk know), and it would just ...more
Hannah
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favourites
Extremely dark and chilling - read with a stuffed animal or a huggable friend nearby! Very thrilling and powerful read, and definitely my favourite non-Poirot or Marple mystery, hands down. Definitely a tense and creepy affair; the atmosphere is very much like what I would imagine the dark streets of Whitechapel would be during the late 19th Century. Mark Easterbrook is a loveable hero, intelligent and brave, and you can't help but be nervous and root for him at the same time as he plunges headl ...more
Lata
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember rereading this Christie several times in high school. I really enjoyed this non-Poirot and non-Marple story of the deaths of various people from flus and other normal causes. And if it weren't because of a number of odd little things about these deaths setting off main character Mark Easterbrook's questions, and the wonderful Ariadne Oliver's emphatic statements pushing Mark in useful directions, and the murder of a parish priest, the baddie could conceivably have continued on with bu ...more
mark monday
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Choose Your Own Adventure!

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

If you’ve decided that you’ve had your fill of dying, then choose http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

If you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of living, then choose http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
...more
NILTON TEIXEIRA
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. But I really enjoyed this book.
This is quite interesting and very entertaining.
Not one of her bests but the writing is wonderful and very engaging.
The development is very slow but full of great dialogues and good characters.
The ending felt very rushed but no way I could have figured out the culprit.
There is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Maple, but there is a character that appeared on 6 other books and her name is Ariadne Oliver, a very witty mystery novelist (I wished her presence was
...more
Mara
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book started super strong, got a little wonky midway through, but totally delighted me with the ending! I thought I was reading one type of Christie tricks (type A) but it was actually a totally different type of mystery (type b), and it has been so long since I’ve been totally faked out by her. The type b version of mystery is so much more my kind of Christie, anyways, so that made me happy. Overall, this gave me all the happy, cozy Christie vibes, and I’m now super interested to see the n ...more
Aditya
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pale Horse is a perfect showcase for the main problem with the whodunnit genre. The only thing of interest here is the solution. You can get an one page summary of the first 90% of the book and then read the last ten percent to get the whole picture. This is the exact antithesis of what I consider good crime fiction where the journey matters more than the actual reveal.

Mark Easterbrook, a plot device rather than a character is the protagonist. Mark studies Mughal architecture for a living. S
...more
Obsidian
The non-Poirot or Jane Marple books are usually hit or miss for me. However, Christie does a great job with this one. The book is slow moving at first. We follow a man named Mark Easterbrook who narrates the majority of the book. Initially we don't exactly know what's going on, we just know that there are some deaths that are somehow linked to a place called "The Pale Horse." It took me til about the 20 percent mark to get really into the book. I liked Easterbrook and was delighted with Mrs. Oli ...more
Jammin Jenny
I really liked this Agatha Christie story featuring Mrs. Ariadna Oliver. A priest is murdered and found with a list of names in his pocket. Did one of them murder the priest? Who is the murderer? Mrs. Oliver helps the local police find the murderer and bring him to justice. It was a good story, and I liked the characters. I do feel though that parts of it were "phoned in" so I only gave it three stars.
Nancy Oakes
I'm thinking 3.5 or so. I made today a laundry day so I could read in between loads. I liked the plot, but found it sort of uneven in the telling -- more to come about this book very shortly.


In the meantime, hold out for the newest adaptation coming to Amazon Prime tv and do NOT watch the version that for some screwed-up reason has Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple in it. Miss Marple isn't in this book.
Tara
Loved loved loved this! Read by the inestimable Hugh Fraser (aka Captain Hastings), which is quite delightful, despite the lack of Hastings or Poirot in the story. It has murder, it has mystery, supernatural seances, and even a bit of romance. A great stand alone tale that shows why Christie was the master (or mistress) of mysteries.
Dan Myatt
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Atmospheric, dramatic and a great read.

Witches, murder, black magic all the ingredients for a page turner that kept me guessing up to the last chapter.

A really good stand alone Agatha Christie Book
Vicki
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, audio-books
The pale Horse is a really dark mystery. There are scenes that are just down right creepy. There are spells and threats that lend a spooky air to this book.

I listened to the AudioBook and found it very intense during those witch scenes. The mystery begins with the murder of a Catholic priest. He has a list of names in his shoe and that turn out to be a list of dead people. When Mark Easterbrook begins to look into this mystery because his godmother is on the list. Mark was a great character. He
...more
Kwoomac
I was quite happy with this one. At first I thought it might be dated. Written in 1962, she writes about hip, rich, young girls playing at being poor. I was afraid it was going to be full of silly 60's lingo, man. You dig? But it wasn't.

I like that Christie never takes herself too seriously. One of her characters was an author of mysteries, who was having writer's block. She and the protag, Mark, talked about the three witches in Macbeth and how they should be portrayed as regular women, not so
...more
Crime Addict Sifat
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remember the word : Wickedness

A Catholic priest is killed on his path home from giving the last ceremonies to a lady. He has a list of names in his shoe of detached individuals who have all kicked the bucket resoundingly from normal causes.

Check Easterbrook witnesses battle between two lady in which the hair turns out in bunches without recognizable agony. At that point there is the secretive Pale Horse Inn now shut and involved by three abnormal lady who broadcast to be witches and mystics. Wh
...more
Trisha
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The supernatural seems supernatural. But the science of tomorrow is the supernatural of today."

Cute mystery starring Mark Easterbrook and Detective Inspector Lejeune. It was an interesting, tangled story with a plot that moved a tad slow in the beginning but the whole book is short so it didn't take too long to get going.

It was interesting to continue to reference the list of names and as they discovered what happened to each person, it was fun to see them try to figure out what must have happ
...more
Christine PNW
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into The Pale Horse without much hope that I would enjoy it - I'm down to the last 8 (now 7) Christie novels, and I'm reserving the ones that I thought would be the best bets for enjoyment to the end.

The Pale Horse was published in 1961, between A Cat Among the Pigeons and The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side. It's not a book that shows up on the best - or worst - lists of Christie mysteries, so I knew almost nothing about it.

My first pleasant surprise occurred on page 8, when Ariadne Oli
...more
Oluseyi Bakare
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is certainly a work that an African reader (like myself) will find fascinating and highly gripping. However the conclusion here would shatter what the likes of me would have hitherto been led to believe: so a white, western writer can write so convincingly about the true powers of “juju” (occult) !Agatha Christie is (was) of course a down to earth western writer, and at the end she coolly and rationally explains the events of this work which one could have sworn could only have been due to
...more
Beverly
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great mystery, even though there is no sign of Miss Marple.
Robert Vanneste
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I was a bit disappointed. This is the weakest Christie book I've read but still entertaining.
Thebooktrail
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A clever Christie with a difference. Not a who done it so much but a how done it. A bit of a crime novel in reverse like Columbo. Ah I like stories like this. A bit different and makes you think.

I'm on a Christie mission at the moment to reread or read the titles of those classics I want to discover again.

There's all kinds of twists and turns here. Foreshadowing of things to come. Shadows of the past. Witchery goings on. A group of women with killing on their mind. Perhaps not the most memorabl
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Unexpected Guest
  • Spider's Web
  • Died and Gone to Devon
  • The Case of the Drowned Pearl: A Murder Most Unladylike Mini-Mystery: World Book Day 2020
  • Castle Skull (Henri Bencolin, #2)
  • Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot, #45.5)
  • The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family. The definitive investigation.
  • Closed Casket (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #2)
  • The Vanished Bride (Brontë Sisters Mystery #1)
  • Murder to Music
  • Death Comes at Christmas
  • The Monogram Murders (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #1)
  • The Guest List
  • Maigret and Monsieur Charles
  • tigers be still
  • I Ought to Be in Pictures
  • Badger
  • The Listening Eye (Miss Silver, #28)
See similar books…
42,438 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
...more

Other books in the series

Ariadne Oliver (8 books)
  • Parker Pyne Investigates
  • Cards on the Table (Hercule Poirot, #15)
  • Mrs. McGinty's Dead (Hercule Poirot, #30)
  • Dead Man's Folly (Hercule Poirot, #33)
  • Third Girl (Hercule Poirot, #38)
  • Hallowe'en Party (Hercule Poirot, #39)
  • Elephants Can Remember (Hercule Poirot, #40)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
35 likes · 12 comments
“What I wanted, frankly, was someone who would argue me out of the things that I was thinking.” 8 likes
“I avoided my own friends and acquaintances, yet the loneliness of my existence was insupportable.” 8 likes
More quotes…