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Taken at the Flood (Hercule Poirot, #29)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED August 2014 - Taken at the Flood

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message 1: by Carolyn F. (last edited Aug 04, 2014 01:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Originally published 1948. Features Hercule Poirot.

When a widow tries to collect on her inheritance, her late husband's family is unpleasantly surprised. They're even more horrified by the news that this lovely stranger may be a bigamist. Now murder shakes the family tree, and it's time for Hercule Poirot to investigate.

also known as There is a tide


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Here's our August 2014 book of the month.


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen I hope I have this. Sounds Interesting.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Me too. I'm going through them by audiobook and I have some but not others. Frustrating.


message 5: by Denise (last edited Aug 01, 2014 11:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments The alternate title for this one is There is a Tide.

I won't be reading this until later in the month, as I am about a third of the way through Great Expectations.


Brad Friedman | 191 comments "Re-reading" it now in the car. An unusual book in many ways! Hope we have a lively discussion about it!


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
I added the alternate title Denise :)


Katherine I just finished reading it. I liked it. I thought it was a good mystery.


Brad Friedman | 191 comments This book has a lot to recommend it, particularly as a novel of character and place. Christie really infuses a sense of history here, with the Cloade family falling victim to some of the post-war issues that reared their ugly head among the landed gentry: problems with ration books and taxation, the emotional after-effects of the Blitz, the problems men dealt with who had gone to war - and those who had not. All of this makes the typical cast of Christie characters - the fusty lawyer, drug-addled doctor, daffy spiritualist, etc. - seem even richer, which is good since it's a large cast of characters! Even the minor characters are richly depicted. And in the center of it all stands the very interesting quartet of Lynn, Rowley, David and Rosaleen. Given where each of these characters ends up by the end, Christie does an excellent job of exploring their circumstances and state of mind. And it's interesting to me that when I first read this one at a much younger age, Lynn and David seemed the more dynamic characters, but now I find Rowley and, especially Rosaleen, particularly fascinating in what they both undergo psychologically.

That said, I'm not sure how well I think the mystery itself holds up. It depends on so many characters acting independently (yet working together) for the thread to ravel and give Poirot something to figure out. And there ARE so many characters that they sometimes get lost in all the push and pull of the mystery. Minor characters like Major Porter and Beatrice Lippincott suddenly take center stage, and we lose track of people like Frances Cloade, who I find fascinating and want to see more of, and Lionel Cloade (who, like his brother Jeremy, never seems to be fully realized.) And the solution is something of a mess, in my opinion. Still, it is a very interesting depiction of one aspect of post-War England, with Poirot in the middle trying to undo the messes these Englishmen and women have made!


message 10: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel (rach5275) Just finished. Although not my favorite it still had a good plot and worth a read.


message 11: by Asti (new) - rated it 4 stars

Asti | 13 comments I love this one. Had read it many times over, and remember quite a lot without help references.
I love the tangled characters of Cloades clan, the mixed-up murder/death problems, the missplaced and confused romance.

I also appreciate Rowley more than Lynn. Lynn just had the negative euphorie of coming home and thought she has seen more of the world than Rowley. But one of Agatha Christie's penchant is the one often said by Miss Marple: that people are the same everywhere, whether it's bustling international gathering or a (seemingly) quiet village of old agers.

And I'm also taken by Frances. For me, she is a most remarkable character in the book.


message 12: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Asti wrote: "I love this one. Had read it many times over, and remember quite a lot without help references.
I love the tangled characters of Cloades clan, the mixed-up murder/death problems, the missplaced and..."


Yes, Asti, I know what you mean about these characters. It's very interesting how Christie explores varying degrees of guilt, and some of the most moving moments in the novel involve people who have committed some sort of crime.... (view spoiler) I think the point of interest for me from that massively long spoiler is that I can't remember another Christie novel where the motivations of her criminals, of ALL the characters, were so firmly tied into the historical events and societal changes of the time.


message 13: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments I know...I keep talking!!! But I was thinking of Lynn and what a wimp she turns into in the end - giving up all sense of independence from her war experiences to stand by her man! And I know this is bad of me, but I can't help wondering if Agatha Christie saw herself as Lynn, put David in the position of Col. Archie Christie, the "bad boy" soldier, and cast Rowley as the "work the earth" good guy that her second husband, archeologist Max Mallowan, was. Because, in a sense, (view spoiler)


message 14: by Chris (new)

Chris (kitties) | 23 comments I'm more than halfway through and it took this long for Poirot to appear. The book is good though; one I've never read before.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
I started the audiobook yesterday. Hugh Fraser is the narrator. Good so far.


message 16: by Chris (new)

Chris (kitties) | 23 comments I've finished the book and loved it. it's another that I can add to my list of Chrisie books I have read.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
I must have read or watched this before, but I was very surprised who the villain was.


message 18: by Chris (new)

Chris (kitties) | 23 comments I really wasn't but still surprised on the attack on Lynn. It seems he was such a simple man had been doing the same thing for years. It's a wonder he broke down.


message 19: by Madonna (new)

Madonna | 8 comments Liked it--after all, Christie....... but I did find the ending kind of a let down. Seemed no one did it/everyone did it kind of resolution and not necessarily a satisfying one.
I hadn't read this one before, so I found the information about England after the war interesting.
I'm now watching the last episodes of Poirot and about to watch the final one (sob), so to read this one where he's "in his prime" is an interesting contrast.


Mitali | 52 comments This is one of my favourite Agatha Christie books – partly for the post-war atmosphere, partly for the great family dynamics, and partly for the multiple mysteries (not just the murders, but the whole backstory of Rosaleen’s first husband).
I always enjoy reading about how great historical events affect the day-to-day life of the people who live through them – and WWII was the greatest historical event of the twentieth century, and of Dame Agatha’s lifetime. So this book, which is so all about the effect of the war on one particular British family, particularly fascinates me (and which is why I heartily disliked the change in time period of the TV version in the ‘Poirot’ TV series).
The Cloade family are all interesting too. The large extended family is a fairly common trope in Christie’s work (we recently discussed another such family in The Hollow), and the Cloades are a particularly good example of it. There are the usual stereotypes, of course, but the important characters – Lynn, Rowley and Frances – are individuals, and very interesting individuals at that. I particularly like Lynn (despite her somewhat schoolgirl crush on David).
I also enjoyed the twist in the end that (view spoiler)
On the whole, a very satisfying mystery.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Yes, the David/Rosaleen dynamic. He should have just taken her to America with the money.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I finally managed to read it, just a little bit late.

I didn't remember so much about this novel, and really enjoyed it. A country setting, big family with complicated dynamics, the outsiders in their midst.

The figure of the deceased Gordon Cloade still looms large here. It is interesting that the family says that he encouraged them not to try too hard to support themselves, because his money would always be there for them. He must have really been incredibly rich that he felt his fortune would sustain all of them for the rest of their lives. Also interesting that we have here two of the most stereotypically wealthy professions - a doctor and a lawyer, both apparently successful, and yet their reliance on Gordon's money has led them both down paths that make it impossible for them to support themselves and their families. Rowley is a farmer, a much more prosaic profession, and he could certainly do with some money to upgrade his equipment, but he is not in such bad straits as his uncles.

Several of you have mentioned the characters that interested you the most. I was most taken by Rosaleen. She sounds breathtakingly beautiful, although a bit simple-minded. She is so under David's thumb that it would be natural for her personality to be suppressed, but it does shine through at times. I think she is a genuinely good person and bewildered by the situation she finds herself in. She is generous (when the family can get to her when David is not around) and once she realizes how dependent they have been on Gordon, feels it is not right for her to have the money all to herself. I especially liked her 'afternoon out', when she was happy on Rowley's farm. At that point, I was thinking that Christie's penchant for young love might lead to the final pairings of Lynn and David, Rosaleen and Rowley. These pairs seemed better suited to each other. I did suspect the truth about Rosaleen some time before it was revealed. She might have been blinded by David, but she was too sweet to have been entangled in this mess, and it proved her undoing. What a shame.


message 23: by Renee (last edited Jul 29, 2015 05:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Renee | 447 comments I really enjoyed this book. I liked all the characters and, unlike some books, none of them seemed to be particularly unlikable. Even David seemed to have some good points. He wasn't great by all means, but not a character I would despise.

The Cloades are a very interesting family. They have relied on Gordon Cloade for everything and never learned to support themselves and stand on their own two feet. Gordon dies in the blitz after marrying and his widow gets his money leaving them with nothing so they seem to hate and despise her because of it. Life after the war was tough on them and they had no idea how to cope because they didn't have Gordon's money to fall back on.

I picked up on the clue that Major Porter knew Rowley right away, and figured that he had something to do with the dead man being identified as Rosaleen's first husband, but (view spoiler). I liked the reveal at the farm which, as usual was surprising. Good twists to both murders. An overall enjoyable book.


message 24: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 129 comments I dislike this book. I find the characters unappealing - they're a feeble lot, all sitting around waiting for their rich relative to support them. David is the only one with any gumption. and the ending is bizarre beyond belief. rowley's behaviour is horrific. christie was away with the fairies when she wrote this one.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
Wow, such disparate views. Kind of funny.


message 26: by Mitali (last edited Jan 01, 2016 03:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mitali | 52 comments Louise wrote: "I dislike this book. I find the characters unappealing - they're a feeble lot, all sitting around waiting for their rich relative to support them. "

They weren't 'sitting around waiting for their rich relative to support them' - they all had jobs (well, the men did - the married women weren't expected to work in those days). What they did expect was that their rich relative would provide for them in the future, so they didn't have to save and could take financial risks - something the rich relative actively encouraged them to do.

To quote from the book:
Yes, they had all depended on Gordon Cloade. Not that any of the family had been spongers or idlers. Jeremy Cloade was senior partner in a firm of solicitors, Lionel Cloade was in practice as a doctor.

But behind the workaday life was the comforting assurance of money in the background. There was never any need to stint or to save. The future was assured. Gordon Cloade, a childless widower, would see to that. He had told them all, more than once, that that was so.

Think of it this way: it's like you work for a company that guarantees a generous pension, but when you retire, you are told there is no money in the pension fund, because someone embezzled it all.


message 27: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 129 comments Mitali wrote: "Louise wrote: "I dislike this book. I find the characters unappealing - they're a feeble lot, all sitting around waiting for their rich relative to support them. "

They weren't 'sitting around wai..."


They all had expectations of inheriting though, so much so that they are thrown into confusion when another heir appears. they despise her, yet they are quite prepared to scrounge money off her. A very poor lot.


Mitali | 52 comments Louise wrote: "They all had expectations of inheriting though, so much so that they are thrown into confusion when another heir appears. they despise her, yet they are quite prepared to scrounge money off her. A very poor lot. "

They had expectations of inheriting because they were explicitly told by Gordon that they would inherit. They structured their life around that expectation, then the rug was pulled out from under their feet. Of course they are thrown into confusion. Who wouldn't be? Not to mention that the story takes place immediately in the aftermath of World War II, when prices and taxes were high, and even middle class people were struggling to make ends meet.

Also, I think you're misreading the situation. 'Another heir' did not appear - if Gordon had lived long enough to update his will after his marriage, he would certainly not have disinherited his relatives; nothing about his character suggests that he would have been so cruel. But because he died before he could do so, all his money - instead of a reasonable fraction of it - went to his new wife, and none whatsoever to the family he had encouraged to depend on him. The Cloades weren't 'scrounging' off Rosaleen, they were simply asking for (far less than) what they had been led to believe was rightfully theirs, and what would have been rightfully theirs, if the will had been up to date.

And of course, let's not forget that the real Rosaleen actually died in the war as well, and the fake!Rosaleen had absolutely no right to Gordon's money, so legally speaking, the rest of the Cloades should have inherited after Gordon's death, and David and fake!Rosaleen cheated them out of their rightful inheritance.


message 29: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 129 comments Mitali wrote: "Louise wrote: "They all had expectations of inheriting though, so much so that they are thrown into confusion when another heir appears. they despise her, yet they are quite prepared to scrounge mo..."

well, we'll just have to agree to disagree i think. i think the Cloades are a feeble lot. david is the only person in the book with any gumption. I would rather Rowley had turned out to be the villain, he is the most repulsive of the Cloades.


Mitali | 52 comments Well, I suppose if you prefer a cold-blooded murderer who has 'gumption', then yes, we must agree to disagree.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
It's so funny how each person can see a book so differently.


message 32: by Louise (new)

Louise Culmer | 129 comments Mitali wrote: "Well, I suppose if you prefer a cold-blooded murderer who has 'gumption', then yes, we must agree to disagree."

I meant I would have preferred him not to be the murderer. I would have preferred it to be Rowley, because I didn't like him at all. He caused the deaths of two people, and then at the end tried to strangle Lynn. it amazes me that Lynn is prepared to marry him. Obviously I didn't mean that I wanted Lynn to marry a murderer.


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