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Group reads > July 2018 - The Pale Horse

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
This is the general discussion thread for our July group read, The Pale Horse, written by Agatha Christie and published in 1961.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread.


message 2: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2180 comments This again was different type of book that we expect from Christie. The supernatural playing a big role!


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Yes, it was very Dennis Wheatley, wasn't it?


message 4: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this and thought it was also very Midsomer Murders - the series was clearly influenced a lot by Christie!


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
A lot of things were influenced by Christie...


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 377 comments I agree that it's very 'Midsomer Murders', Judy! In fact, I was wondering if The tv adaptation I once saw might have been a Midsomer Murder adaptation, because where else could it have turned up... But through google I found that they adapted it as a Miss Marple story! How strange.


message 7: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments There is a more recent adaptation, with Miss Marple, which changed up the back story a good bit. There is also an older version, I think as a TV movie, from the late 1990's. Not particularly good, but more truthful to Christie's book. I have them both.


message 8: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments A question I've always wondered about: What age did you picture Mark Easterbrook to be? Originally, I was thinking perhaps early 30's. But now on this re-read, especially in the beginning, I picture him much older, but I think that is because Christie seems to have put a lot of her own thoughts on early 1960's London into Mark's mouth. What do you all think?


message 9: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 904 comments I pictured him as mid-30s - I think that was regarded as practically middle-aged at the time at which Christie was writing! Plus, his status as an academic writer gives him a slightly unhip air.


message 10: by Frances (new)

Frances (francesab) | 415 comments I also thought he was mid-thirties.

I had some difficulty situating myself in the time period (I started reading without reading any information about the story) and it took me a while before I realized it was set some time in the 50's/60's. Perhaps as Christie was older the time period felt a bit older as well!


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
I saw him as late thirties, early forties. Unmarried and a little scholarly and a little bemused by changing London. I have read some Colin Wilson books this year, such as Adrift in Soho which gives a good picture of the Angry Young Men and beatnik London. It must have been a real shock, especially to older people at the time. You can see she is really bemused by the green nail varnish in particular :)


message 12: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments If you go on to read Third Girl, you see a lot more of what Christie thought of the "Chelsea set". Dirty clothes, greasy hair, etc. Interesting take on Mark that you've had. I really hadn't thought of him being stuffy and scholarly, though he certainly was an academic.


message 13: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 904 comments Not so much 'stuffy' but I was amused by his relationships with 'cultured' respectable Hermione and the freer Ginger.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
I liked Ginger a lot. Mark, I have read The Third Girl and yes, Christie got a little grumpy about the modern world as she aged, but that's OK. We all grumble, she just did it in print ;)


message 15: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments Susan, I guess we can't blame her. She was in her mid 70's at that point!


message 16: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 3016 comments Mod
I vote for a grumble pass once a person hits 70.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Can we lower the age please? I have quite a while to go and I am very prone to grumbling ;)


message 18: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 24 comments Susan wrote: "Can we lower the age please? I have quite a while to go and I am very prone to grumbling ;)"

I vote 50. I like to grumble and would love a pass.


message 19: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I liked Ginger a lot too, but I was slightly dismayed that Hermia is apparently so "dull" because she loves Shakespeare and going to the theatre - I plead guilty to both.


message 20: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 904 comments Me too! I don't think that's the reason for her 'dullness', it's more than she's predictable and unexciting. Look at the way she refuses to help Mark with his investigation compared to the way Ginger throws herself in.


message 21: by Bruce (new)

Bruce I vote 40. I'm very anti hipster and frat culture, but it's the opposite of Christie and the Chelsea set. I like hippie, punk, and grunge partly because they were rebellious and non conforming. Hipster is more of a reversion, and also fatphobic and about being skinny.

I noticed near the beginning there was a major sign of Christie's bigotry when Mark describes the girl as greasy and smelly. Still, I love the period flavor of the book. I liked Third Girl also for the setting and having Poirot in it. I've always thought it would be great if they did a movie of Third Girl set in the 60's, even if it's a standalone film, which it probably should be, since Christie kept Poirot the same age from the 40's on even though they were set later and later.


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
She retired Poirot from the first book, so she wrote herself into a corner where his age was concerned, didn't she?


message 23: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 3016 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "She retired Poirot from the first book, so she wrote herself into a corner where his age was concerned, didn't she?"

As she did with Miss Marple who also started elderly.

Did earlier GA detectives age? Watson got married so he went in and out of Holmes flat but there is little else in their personal life. Maybe Christie pictured a static detective; there are still plenty of those. Hamish Macbeth has remained the same over 30 books, many of which take place over months.


message 24: by Tracey (new)

Tracey | 254 comments Am very much enjoying the Mrs Oliver character, I think she's quite a hoot! Happy to discover that she appears in some of the Poirot series.


message 25: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
Sandy wrote: "Did earlier GA detectives age? Watson got married so he went in and out of Holmes flat but there is little else in their personal life. ..."

Not sure about earlier ones - Holmes does age, I think, though, as he eventually retires to the South Coast and keeps bees! Campion and Wimsey both age in real time, I think, and maybe Alleyn does too.


message 26: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Although they’re not detectives, Jeeves and Wooster are other characters who don’t age much even though the stories take place over a very broad period of time. About 60 years.


message 27: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Holmes ages. He’s in his late 20’s in A Study in Scarlet (set in the early 1880’s) and 60 in the short story His Last Bow, which takes place in 1914 at the outbreak of WWI. Watson is a few years older, closer to Mycroft’s age.


message 28: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I also don't think Wolfe and Archie age very much in the Rex Stout books.


message 29: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Petkus | 43 comments I confess, I cheated. I was having trouble keeping track of the characters so I watched the Masterpiece version. They turned it into a Miss Marple no Ariadne Oliver. I back to the book and don't feel so lost.


message 30: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 3016 comments Mod
Lorraine wrote: "I confess, I cheated. I was having trouble keeping track of the characters so I watched the Masterpiece version. They turned it into a Miss Marple no Ariadne Oliver. I back to the book and don't fe..."

Tsk, tsk. Like trying to write a book report after only reading the comic book version.


message 31: by Bruce (new)

Bruce If the comic book version is partly credited to the original author, it counts. Haha!

I’m not watching the two tv versions. This is a book I actually haven’t read. I heard the 90’s version also wasn’t very good and was only loosely based on the book. I wasn’t too crazy on the Marple shows they did that weren’t based on Marple books either. I mostly just enjoyed the first season of Marple, and The Moving Finger from season 2. Neither version included Ariadne Oliver, which is sad as she hasn’t been on film at all and rarely on Tv.


message 32: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9419 comments Mod
I actually thought this would have worked as a Miss Marple book, though I do love Ariadne Oliver. I might watch that version.


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Ariadne Oliver is a wonderful character - not sure whey they swopped her for Miss Marple - although I suppose it upped viewers, as she is well known. I note that new TV Christie specials seem more likely to use stand alone stories, without resorting to Poirot/Marple.


message 34: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Petkus | 43 comments I'm actually happy I watched The Pale Horse. Instead of trying to remember who was who, I'm appreciating Agatha's somewhat complicated plot.


message 35: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Petkus | 43 comments Just learned on Facebook that Agatha Christie books came in comic book form


message 36: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2180 comments Really I thought Ariadne Oliver was hardly in it and it could have been anybody that Easterbrook was in contact with.


message 37: by Susan (last edited Jul 08, 2018 09:58PM) (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Ariadne Oliver is not a main character. She appears in other books with larger parts.

Lorraine, there are some very beautiful Christie graphic novel versions - I bought a couple for my son when he was a bit younger and he really enjoyed them. Some are really collectable and expensive now!

Thierry Jollet did a few of them.


message 38: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Petkus | 43 comments Susan wrote: "Ariadne Oliver is not a main character. She appears in other books with larger parts.

Lorraine, there are some very beautiful Christie graphic novel versions - I bought a couple for my son when he..."


You have a very lucky son and smart Mama


message 39: by Susan (last edited Jul 09, 2018 08:35AM) (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Thank you, Lorraine :) My son (now 13), thankfully, is now an enthusiastic reader. However, when he was younger, he was quite reluctant and graphic novels were a great introduction to quite a few authors for him.


message 40: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Speaking of graphic novels, one of the things I enjoy about Christie is that she created a "shared universe" of her characters, the most obvious example of which is Ariadne Oliver. Shared universes are very popular nowadays with Marvel and DC comics. I noticed with this novel that the worlds of Poirot and Miss Marple overlap by having Oliver and the Calthrops as characters.


message 41: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
Yes, they do. St Mary Mead crops up in this novel too, so she has shared places, as well as characters.


message 42: by Robin (new)

Robin I've looked for The Pale Horse on my bookshelf and now see I'll have to buy it. I recall fining it a bit uncomfortable for some reason, witches? but if I can get it cheaply enough, shall join in.


message 43: by Tara (new)

Tara  | 831 comments I enjoyed Mark Easterbrook as the narrator, and I wonder if he will pop up in future stories. I listened to the audiobook version, which was narrated by Hugh Fraser (aka Captain Hastings) so it had a Poirot connection for me, even if there wasn't one in the storyline.


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
I also listened to Hugh Fraser on audiobook, Tara. I really like him as a narrator.


message 45: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 366 comments Hugh is my favorite narrator. Suchet overacts too much in his.


message 46: by Tara (new)

Tara  | 831 comments I agree Hugh is a great narrator, and I almost prefer listening to his audiobooks over reading the books myself. He does a pretty good version of Poirot too.


message 47: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Im listening to that one too. It’s free on archive.org. I agree. He’s a great narrator and reads at a good understandable pace. His version of Ariadne Oliver is hilarious and brings out her comedy.


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 10526 comments Mod
He really does do a good Poirot! I do tend to see if Christie books are narrated by him and, if so, I will get them, even if I have the paperback. He is really good company on the school run :)


message 49: by Pages (new)

Pages | 61 comments New adaptation of Pale Horse

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/amaz...


message 50: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) | 251 comments FR wrote: "New adaptation of Pale Horse

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/amaz..."


Great news, as I really like this one. Not typical of Agatha Christie at all, although the more of her books I read, the wider the range of story types I see. I always associated her with the classic country house murder but she did all sorts in fact.


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