Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

Murder Is Easy  (Superintendent Battle, #4)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED May 2013 - Murder is Easy aka Easy to Kill

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message 1: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Originally published 1939. Features Superintendent Battle, Luke Fitzwilliam and Bridget Conway.

On her way to Scotland Yard to report several murders in her village, an elderly woman encounters retired policeman Luke Fitzwilliam. He dismisses her ravings about the murderer finding it easy to kill, as long as no one knows who he is--until two more killings occur, one of which is the old lady's. Previously titled Easy to Kill.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments Got a headstart and finished this one last night. Luke is the real sleuth here; Battle only enters the story at the end, once Luke feels he has enough information to call in the big guns.


☯Emily  Ginder | 18023 comments (view spoiler)


Martha This was my first Agatha Christie and I loved it! At first I was skeptical but after reading it all the way through, it was great. For me the ending was quite a surprise.


message 5: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Bernthal | 13 comments What do people think of Mr Ellsworthy? Witty character-sketch or unproductive homophobic stereotype?


message 6: by Denise (last edited May 03, 2013 03:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I didn't think that he was necessarily homosexual. I thought that there was some suggestion that there might have been some sexual issue in regards to Amy Gibbs, although it was such a vague rumor, so I wouldn't give it much credence. But I thought he may have been more of an artistic dilettante, like his eccentric friends. I don't think that his portrayal was witty, but more menacing. He was a practitioner of the dark arts. So my answer to the question is - neither.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Looking forward to reading this one. Hope it's in my library upstairs. I collected a lot of them last summer for this club, but am missing quite a few titles. We will see....


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Read it. Most of the book was enjoyable. I rated it a 2, but that's a solid endorsement on my behalf. In fact I'm thinking of going on an AC binge, so yeah. It's just that the murderer is disappointing compared to the scorched villain I had in mind.

PS - Hey, Emily, keep reading.


☯Emily  Ginder | 18023 comments Luffy wrote: "Read it. Most of the book was enjoyable. I rated it a 2, but that's a solid endorsement on my behalf. In fact I'm thinking of going on an AC binge, so yeah. It's just that the murderer is disappoin..."

I did finish reading and, yes, it was a big clue!


☯Emily  Ginder | 18023 comments Jamie wrote: "What do people think of Mr Ellsworthy? Witty character-sketch or unproductive homophobic stereotype?"

I have no idea why you would think Mr. Ellsworthy was an unproductive stereotype.


message 11: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Bernthal | 13 comments Seriously? Long artistic fingers, sneering, snidey bitchiness, gossip, black magic, calls men 'my dear', immediately transfers attention to Luke, tries to convert him to a 'delicious' life of sin, and goes on a huge rant about Nature as a 'miserable wench', chanelling Huysmans. As a queer scholar and activist, I was very uncomfortable with Ellsworthy until I started really looking into the character for my PhD & realised that it's a heavily ironic parody of some of the nastier things in the press at the time.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Well, finished this one, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Interesting that this is the first non-Poirot book I've read with the book club. Without Poirot, the book had a very different feel. There was no over-riding personality that takes over the book, just Luke and Bridget who are the main detective-players. I did guess the murderer ahead of time, but certainly not until almost the end of the book.
I like how the narrative history keeps getting re-written with each new development, and how sure Luke is each time that he has found the correct suspect.


message 13: by Luffy (last edited May 13, 2013 11:32PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Jamie wrote: "Seriously? Long artistic fingers, sneering, snidey bitchiness, gossip, black magic, calls men 'my dear', immediately transfers attention to Luke, tries to convert him to a 'delicious' life of sin, ..."

I didn't and would never have picked on all that. I miss a lot when I read most books. But Ellsworthy is still a very minor character *shrug*.


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Carol wrote: "Well, finished this one, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Interesting that this is the first non-Poirot book I've read with the book club. Without Poirot, the book had a very different feel. There was no..."

Glad that you liked the book that much.


message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen Here is to hoping I can still find this one. I missed last months.


Bette | 3 comments Ellsworthy is referred to as "mincing", "queer" and a "Miss Nancy". I think these are quite clearly code words to identify him as homosexual.

Jamie, did you think it was an ironic portrayal? I'd like to think that, as I love Christie, but I'm not at all sure that it was.


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) There has been a previous gay character in Christie lore. E.g in A Murder Is Announced.


Bette | 3 comments Luffy wrote: "There has been a previous gay character in Christie lore. E.g in A Murder Is Announced."

Yes, Murgatroyd and Hinchliffe. I thought Christie treated their relationship with quite a bit of sympathy. But in fact, that book was published 11 years after Murder is Easy, so perhaps Christie became enlightened in the intervening decade :)


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Bette wrote: "Yes, Murgatroyd and Hinchliffe. I thought Christie treated their relationship with quite a bit of sympathy. But in fact, that book was published 11 years after Murder is Easy, so perhaps Christie became enlightened in the intervening decade :) "
Haha you seem to know much about her, I'm sure you can confirm if she DID become nicer and less archaic. Did she? She was an anti-semite right?


Bette | 3 comments Oh, I don't claim to know much about her--I'd like to know more! Her autobiography is on my to-read list. But I wouldn't be surprised if she were anti-semitic. Of course, like homophobia, it's not seen the same as it is today. There's a shocking amount of very casual anti-semitism in a ton of British books in the early 20th century. Shocking from a modern viewpoint, that is.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Luffy wrote: "There has been a previous gay character in Christie lore. E.g in A Murder Is Announced."

I'm impressed that you and "Bette" know so much Christie lore! I couldn't pull out another homosexual character from her novels if I tried. So many characters come and go that I tend to forget them. All except that very creepy lady in the last book - I remember her well, though forget her name. What a nasty tyrant she was!


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Carol wrote: "I'm impressed that you and "Bette" know so much Christie lore! I couldn't pull out another homosexual character from her novels if I tried. So many characters come and go that I tend to forget them. All except that very creepy lady in the last book - I remember her well, though forget her name. What a nasty tyrant she was! "

Lol, we are both in the same boat Carol. I too tend to forget the myriad third tier characters of AC. I've more in common with you than with Bette. That display of 'knowledge' was gleaned from a hardcore AC fan.


message 23: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne Pichette | 16 comments I just finished reading the book and I enjoyed it very much. I a big Christie fan. I do not know why the consider this why this is considered an Inspector Battle mystery since he really had such a small part.


Martha | 96 comments Mod
I'm sorry to say, but take some advantage for a few months, the last I read was The Regatta Mystery


Fiona | 87 comments Not one of my favourites - think I'm too attached to Poirot and Miss Marple. Now on to The Regatta Mystery and roll on July and 'And the there were none' - definitely in my top three


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) Fiona wrote: "Not one of my favourites - think I'm too attached to Poirot and Miss Marple. Now on to The Regatta Mystery and roll on July and 'And the there were none' - definitely in my top three"

It's probable you'll relent and change your mind about the other books after you've gone through Poirot ones.


message 27: by Aileen (new)

Aileen | 4 comments I also squirmed at the possible homophobia, but I also wasn't entirely convinced that's where she was coming from. One of the characters in The Moving Finger is clearly gay and portrayed very stereotypically and without much sympathy, though not as sinister as Ellsworthy.
Otherwise, I loved the village setting, the twist at the end and the idea of hidden madness.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 74 comments Aileen wrote: "I also squirmed at the possible homophobia, but I also wasn't entirely convinced that's where she was coming from. One of the characters in The Moving Finger is clearly gay and portrayed very stere..."

Christie did have many views and prejudices that many would not accept today, e.g. towards Jews, but at least with respect to gays she seems to improve. In one of her much later books, A Caribbean Mystery, Miss Marple's nephew reassures her that the fellow who will be staying in her house while she travels can certainly be relied on to look after her things very well. To paraphrase: he's very house-proud...surely Aunt Jane had heard of gay people, right?


message 29: by Aileen (new)

Aileen | 4 comments hahaha yeah, it's not too hard to read that coding. Yes, I agree that she improved, particularly the casual racism and homophobia. I imagine she was quite an ethical person, really. I don't know much about her. I enjoyed the portrayal of her on Dr Who a few seasons ago ;)


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