Reading the Detectives discussion

A Talent for Murder (Agatha Christie #1)
This topic is about A Talent for Murder
36 views
Group reads > August 2018 - A Talent for Murder

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Susan | 10035 comments Mod
Our August read is a modern mystery with a Golden Age feel, based upon a real life event, featuring the 'Queen of Crime,' Agatha Christie, and written by Andrew Wilson.

I wouldn't scream if I were you. Unless you want the whole world to learn about your husband and his mistress.

Agatha Christie, in London to visit her literary agent, boards a train, preoccupied and flustered in the knowledge that her husband Archie is having an affair. She feels a light touch on her back, causing her to lose her balance, then a sense of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of the incoming train.

So begins a terrifying sequence of events. Her rescuer is no guardian angel; rather, he is a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative kind. Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her genius for murder to kill on his behalf.

On the night of 3rd December 1926, Agatha Christie went missing, and was eventually discovered in a hotel in Harrogate ten days later. But what happened to her in that time? To this day, the disappearance of one of the world's most famous and successful crime novelists remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries.

Taking this real life conundrum as its premise, A Talent For Murder, weaves together a convincingly labyrinthine detective story, full of unexpected twists and turns, that is as good as any of Christie's own.

'Wilson not only knows his subject but he deftly moves the tale away from mere literary ventriloquism and into darker territory. Great fun, too' - The Observer

Andrew Wilson's sequel to A Talent for Murder, 'A Different Kind of Evil', is out now.

Please refrain from posting spoilers in this thread.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
We've opened up the threads for the new month's books a little early, as more people are often online at the weekend.

I must confess that I haven't started this book yet, but I will be on to it as soon as I finish Overture to Death, the new Marsh challenge book.

I do find it slightly confusing that the title to this one is so similar to the title of the first mystery with another writer, Josephine Tey, as the heroine, An Expert in Murder.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I am re-reading this - or, rather, listening to it. The sound of the audio book is very odd. There is a male, and female, narrator and the sound seems to jump upwards when the man speaks, so you need to be careful when using headphones!


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
https://www.andrewwilsonauthor.co.uk/

Here is a link to Andrew Wilson's page.

It wasn't long ago that we read another book (non-fiction) about Christie's disappearance. It does seem that this was the defining period of her life. Something so terrible she never referred back to it, or could speak of it.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
I have now started this one - the opening is quite arresting, but I think a problem with telling it in the first person as Agatha is that the style is obviously different from that of her own books. Hopefully this will soon stop worrying me though.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
Yes, it doesn't read like a Christie at all. Mind you, the Nicola Upson novel didn't read like a Tey, either. I suspect that was a conscious decision.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2067 comments I have read the first three chapters and must admit the angst is getting me down a bit.


Alan I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, so will refrain from commenting too much until others get through it. But, I will say that although it was a decent enough read, I didn't really rate it that much. Jill touches on the angst - I agree, and I just couldn't picture it as really Agatha Christie. The character was too passive. Anyway, I'll be interested to hear what you all make of it as you progress.


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Yes, it doesn't read like a Christie at all. Mind you, the Nicola Upson novel didn't read like a Tey, either. I suspect that was a conscious decision."

That's true, but the Nicola Upson story wasn't told in the first person, as chunks of this one are - I'm on Chapter 12 now and, so far, I think this book is probably more convincing when it moves into the third person.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I suspect I liked it more as I am much more interested in Agatha Christie than I am about Josephine Tey. I am interested in her life and find this a fascinating period. I am not sure the author's take on what happened was believable, but I enjoyed the story.


message 11: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
Just a quick word of warning to anyone who hasn't read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Chapter 12 of this book gives away the killer's identity.

It also mentions the identity of a baddie in The Secret Adversary, but I am not sure if that is a major spoiler, as I don't remember the book very well. I'm hoping the writer doesn't include any more spoilers for the novels!


message 12: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
This is the second book I've picked up recently which fits a fictional story into the facts surrounding a famous incident - this one with Christie's disappearance, while Goodnight Sweet Prince by David Dickinson does something similar with the death of Prince Eddy, eldest son of the future Edward VII.

What does anyone think of this type of mystery? I'm not sure what I think about fact and fiction being mixed in this way, but it certainly makes for some clever plotting.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
The David Dickinson sounds interesting, Judy. I know some people dislike the idea of 'real' people in novels, but it can work well. I am looking forward to the second in the Christie series. I think it will improve, now the author has got the 'disappearance,' out of the way.

In the second novel, apparently Davidson (who features in this book) has asked for her help and so the storyline relies less on trying to fit things around her life - apart from her movements, as it is set in the Canary Islands, where she did go after her disappearance.

Will you read on with Dickinson?


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I know that, if I do read the second Christie adventure, I will read the book - I didn't like the female narrator in the audio version at all and the sound was all over the place.


Lesley | 384 comments Most of the historical fiction written is using fact to build a story of fiction. I don't mind it provided it remains believable - that is doesn't get too far fetched. I think Tey did it well with her novel based on Richard III.


Lesley | 384 comments Susan wrote: "The David Dickinson sounds interesting, Judy. I know some people dislike the idea of 'real' people in novels, but it can work well. I am looking forward to the second in the Christie series. I thin..."

Good tip, Susan. I was tossing up whether I'd go audio for this book and 'read' it on my commute to work, but I'll do the ebook instead. Thanks.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
You're welcome, Lesley. For some reason they have a male and female narrator. The woman whispers and the man shouts, or else the sound levels are wrong. Not great with headphones, when the chapter suddenly means a change of voice :)


message 18: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 365 comments I've read the book totally, so I won't comment too much here, either. Like some of you, I didn't really see the narrative, in Agatha's voice, as striking me as real. Also, as noted, the angst was quite uncomfortable.


message 19: by Jill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2067 comments Judy wrote: "This is the second book I've picked up recently which fits a fictional story into the facts surrounding a famous incident - this one with Christie's disappearance, while [book:Goodnight Sweet Princ..."

I think the difference between this and the Dickinson book for me is the fact I knew nothing or very little about the personality of Prince Eddy, whereas Christie has been a household name all my life. Having read about Christie's life, not just her books, in newspapers and but also television programmes , she has become a real person who's private life has been almost shared with the public. Due to this I think I have seen her as a stronger person ,despite this episode in her life, than she is portrayed in this book.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I think the author dug himself into a corner in this book, by trying to combine the disappearance with a crime. I will definitely read the next, as I think it will free up the character of Agatha. I mean, she was, definitely, having a break down in real life, during this period, so the angst was not inappropriate.


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Will you read on with Dickinson? .."

I'm not sure, as I haven't finished the book yet - I had to put it on one side to catch up with a few group reads! I'm about a third of the way through and so far finding it interesting but I'm not really hooked yet.


message 22: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8978 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "I think the difference between this and the Dickinson book for me is the fact I knew nothing or very little about the personality of Prince Eddy, whereas Christie has been a household name all my life ..."

That's true for me too - I think because I have read quite a lot by and about Christie recently, it's probably a bit harder to be convinced by a fictional version of her voice.

I definitely think the third-person parts of this book are much better than the first person - I also find the police chief interesting and would have liked to see more of him.


message 23: by Sandy (last edited Aug 04, 2018 06:36AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sandy | 2796 comments Mod
I am halfway through and haven't really connected with any of the characters. So far my favorite is the police chief. I also found Christie's angst uncomfortable and the young female lead is too spunky for my taste. It might be a better read for me if I wasn't always wondering how close this Christie is to the real Christie.

Davidson shows promise as a sensible sort but so far has played a minor role.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I think we will see more of Davidson in future books. Well, I will, as I do intend to read the next one.


message 25: by C.M. (new)

C.M. Rosens | 11 comments I am ordering this book ... thanks for the heads up on the audio book as I was considering getting it as an audio but actually I will stick to hard copy and read on the train I think (how appropriate!)


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
Christie and trains do go together very well :)


message 27: by ShanDizzy (new)

ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments Judy wrote: "This is the second book I've picked up recently which fits a fictional story into the facts surrounding a famous incident - this one with Christie's disappearance, while [book:Goodnight Sweet Princ..."

I have read all in the David Dickinson series with Lord Francis Powerscourt and loved them all.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
I do think I need to try the David Dickinson books.


Valerie Brown | 55 comments I've just finished this book. Nice choice for the group read. I probably wouldn't have picked it up of my own accord.

Overall, I liked it and would give it 3.5 stars. I found the language/writing in the beginning stilted (I imagine he was trying to portray a more formal era). By the end I thought it flowed much better. I liked how he set up the sequel. I wouldn't be surprised if Christie becomes a much stronger, more decisive, character in subsequent novels.


Sandy | 2796 comments Mod
The group read does introduce me to books I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, usually for the good.


Susan | 10035 comments Mod
Valerie, I am pleased you enjoyed it. I agree that the series should get better, as crimes will, presumably, involve Christie less personally and the author can lay aside some of the angst. I will certainly try the second one.


back to top