Sus's Reviews > Peril at End House

Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
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's review
Dec 15, 2010

really liked it
Read in December, 2010

The third Christie book I've read. Dear me, I'm starting to read her for entertainment. I'm turning into the kind of person who reads Agatha Christie for fun! What does that say about me? O.O

At any rate, the _reason_ I read this before I'd planned to, and so quickly too (overnight, as with the other books of hers I've read), is that it's addictive and fun. This was a damn cracking mystery -- that's British, right? -- cracking! Really not bad at all! (Which I think means I'm complimenting the pacing, although since I was reading for fun and not particularly analytically I can't really be sure.)

Almost feverishly entertaining, despite stock characters -- who nonetheless usually turn out to have sufficient depth for the purpose. Oh, and there are emotional reservoirs where you weren't always expecting them. Oh, and Christie is really good at the red herrings (though I admit all the vaguely unsettling servants are starting to look alike). And not _all_ the characters are stock, and some of them really work quite well, all things considered. I mean, this isn't Fitzgerald, we don't get out of garden parties what we would out of a Fitzgerald garden party, right. But it's quite a different approach... we're looking for something different in the garden parties, right?

Poirot and Hastings are cute together, too. The sidekick makes Poirot much more interesting; I can see appeal to the character now that I couldn't in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, in which he mainly struck me as impossibly annoying. One can understand why Christie didn't use Hastings in that book -- it would have looked far too much like being married -- which, however, they appear to be anyway, which is what's inevitably going to happen when you deploy the Holmes/Watson dynamic, because, hello, and also we aren't even in the nineteenth century any more. Anyway, it lends a friendly and refreshing air to the tone of the book, which I enjoy, so bring on the implicitly married ex-military male sidekicks, Dame Christie, please, because there's really nothing like it for humanizing your inherently irritating and regularly Othered detective protagonist, which, to be honest, is a point I WISH YOU HAD CONTINUED TO BEAR IN MIND.

Also -- though not really enough of it -- this book has Cornwall.

And sliding doors! I'm not really sure why there seem to be so many French windows and sliding doors in Christie's England, but they're nice and complicated and make getaways much more suspicious. I think I want sliding doors and windows in all my mysteries. And maybe glass-topped tables, though to be honest those seem to be getting old kind of quickly. Maybe I'm just enjoying being in England in the 20s and 30s, where I've never really been before. Dunno! Bring on the garden parties! Lethal ones!

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