Agatha Christie Lovers discussion

The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories (Hercule Poirot, #28)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED September 2014 - Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories

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message 1: by Carolyn F. (last edited Dec 28, 2012 01:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

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

A murder trial takes a diabolical turn when the wife of the accused takes a stand...A woman's sixth--and a loaded revolver--signal premonitions of doom...A stranded motorist seeks refuge in a remote mansion, and is greeted with a dire warning...Detective Hercule Poirot faces his greatest challenge when his services are enlisted--by the victim--in a bizarre locked-room murder. From the stunning title story (which inspired the classic film thriller) to the rarest gems in detective fiction, these 11 tales of baffling rime and brilliant deduction showcase Agatha Christie at her dazzling best.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
This is our September book. I've downloaded it to my MP3 and will listen to it next.


message 3: by Katherine (new) - added it

Katherine Carolyn F. wrote: "This is our September book. I've downloaded it to my MP3 and will listen to it next."

I have never read this one. I am really looking forward to reading it!


Martha | 96 comments Mod
Carolyn F. wrote: "This is our September book. I've downloaded it to my MP3 and will listen to it next."

I don't know exactly why, but I left this project; now, I miss it, and I would like to start it again. I miss A.C.'s books so much.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
This is a good one to begin again with Martha :)


Martha | 96 comments Mod
Carolyn F. wrote: "This is a good one to begin again with Martha :)"

Thank you Carolyn :)


message 7: by ✿ Deni (new)

✿ Deni (denidax) I must admit that I don't like short stories, specially mystery ones, as for me they don't keep you alert for long enough and don't provide enough details; however, as short stories go, I remember enjoying this collection, so I look forward to reading them again.


message 8: by Mitali (last edited Sep 08, 2014 07:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mitali | 52 comments I just finished this book. I had read all the individual stories before, but in other collections: primarily in The Hound of Death and The Listerdale Mystery, I think.

I'll post my views about the individual stories shortly.

✿ Deni wrote: "I must admit that I don't like short stories, specially mystery ones, as for me they don't keep you alert for long enough and don't provide enough details; however, as short stories go, I remember ..."

I agree. In particular, I think short stories are just not Christie's forte. Her storytelling style in her novels leans towards 'showing' rather than 'telling', i.e. she lets us readers become part of the world she's creating, and draw our own conclusions regarding the characters and the mystery. But in short stories, there just isn't enough time for her to allow us to get to know the characters or their dynamics. So the stories just wind up feeling abrupt. For example, in the last story in this collection, 'Second Gong', a crucial clue for figuring out the murderer's identity is the question of (view spoiler) If this was a novel, we would have first spent several chapters reading about the interaction among the characters, and drawn our own conclusions. But in the confines of a short story, we don't even get to know that (view spoiler) This crucial piece of information is revealed by Poirot himself only after he identifies the murderer. It's somewhat anti-climactic, and makes us less involved in the story.


Carolyn F. | 4565 comments Mod
I finished my audiobook version of this book but it only had 4 of the short stories. Except for Witness for the Prosecution, they were all paranormal books, very dark. Not my favorite from Christie.


message 10: by Katherine (new) - added it

Katherine I guess I stand alone here. I like short stories. I think authors should write more short stories and put together a collection of them. Linda Hall has written short stories that I have enjoyed, however, I digress. In my edition of these stories, at the beginning of each one, there is a comment about the year the story was published and the name of the publication. I appreciated that! I liked all the stories and I think she pulled them off well. My two favorites were, The Witness For the Prosecution, and The Second Gong. Well done!


message 11: by Brad (new)

Brad Friedman | 191 comments I, too, love a good short story, Katherine. I just think that short stories don't showcase Christie's strengths of plotting and clueing, and the paranormal ones (which I believe she LOVED writing) are pretty weak to those of us who grew up watching The Twilight Zone.

I do think that Witness for the Prosecution is perhaps Christie's very best short story. It manages to create a few great characters and have a marvelous twist at the end. And the movie version with Charles Laughton is WONDERFUL, although the censors demanded that the story's ending be changed.

The Second Gong is something of a relief because it features Poirot, but it's a shorter, second rate version of a longer novella, Dead Man's Mirror. I for one can't wait till we get to next month's full length book, Crooked House!!


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris (kitties) | 23 comments I just finished my book and I loved the short stories. I think people expect too much from Agatha Christie when she writes short stories. I really like the mix she had in this collection. Second Gong was good as I couldn't guess the ending, as usual. The Witness for the Prosecution was good as I have read it as a play and had seen the movie. I also liked SOS; that story was very interesting. All in all, I enjoyed the book and it's another one where the short stories were different and I had not read them before.


Mitali | 52 comments I agree with everyone that 'Witness for the Prosecution' is an excellent story. I love the double-twist ending!

Some of the other stories did not measure up to it even remotely, though. My least favourite was 'S.O.S.', which had just so many plotholes! So Mortimer Cleveland figures out that (view spoiler) Ugh, it's so silly.

I did like some of the more light-hearted stories, such as 'Mr. Eastwood’s Adventure' (though I think that the title 'The Mystery of the Second Cucumber' would have been far more interesting!). I also enjoyed 'The Fourth Man' - supernatural stories don't usually appeal to me, but this one was more psychologically based.

Chris wrote: "I think people expect too much from Agatha Christie when she writes short stories."

She's a good author. Surely it's not too much to expect that she would write good short stories?


Renee | 447 comments Just finished reading this one as I'm kind of far behind on our book of the month reads.

Just like everyone else, Witness for the Prosecution was my favourite. What a twist at the end! Did they really change the ending of the movie? It's been a long time since I've seen it and don't remember the end. The Red Signal I thought was a good one as well as The Fourth Man, which was a little creepy for Christie.

I have to agree with Mitali about S.O.S. That was probably the weakest story in my opinion. Wireless, The Mystery of the Blue Jar, Sing a Song of Sixpence, Mr. Eastwood's Adventure, and Accident were pretty easy for me to figure out what was going to happen at the end, but I enjoyed them all just the same.

Overall, I enjoyed all the stories but I do prefer her novels because we get to spend more time with the characters, and have time to figure out their personality and if they have motive for the murder. Plus all the small clues Christie leaves to point us to the murder so we have a chance to figure it out seems to be a better fit for novels.


message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim (crossreactivity) Renee wrote: "Did they really change the ending of the movie? It's been a long time since I've seen it and don't remember the end."

Yes, it was changed. (view spoiler)


message 16: by Brad (new)

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Kim, that change essentially happened because of the production code, which demanded that the good triumph and justice prevail. It's a clever ending, but the story's ending is much darker and better!


message 17: by Kim (last edited Aug 09, 2015 02:27PM) (new)

Kim (crossreactivity) Brad, I know that Witness for the Prosecution was also a play. Was the ending changed at that point and the movie followed it?


message 18: by Brad (new)

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Yes, the play incorporated the new ending - much more dramatic! The story's end is more quietly devastating!


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