Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie

Read January 2020
Recommended for Christie fans
 ★     ★    1/2

A collection that shows its age, culturally speaking.

Dead Man’s Mirror
3 stars
“The flat was a modern one. The furnishings of the room were modern, too. The armchairs were squarely built, the upright chairs were angular. A modern writing-table was set squarely in front of the window and at it sat a small, elderly man. His head was practically the only thing in the room that was not square. It was egg-shaped.”

Clearly written in the days when entrance and exit wounds were not a known Thing by all readers/viewers. Nonetheless, I liked the characterizations. The classic locked-room mystery that seems to be a suicide.

***********************************

The Incredible Theft
2.5 stars
“As the butler handed round the souffle Lord Mayfield leaned confidentially towards his neighbor on the right, Lady Julia Carrington. Known as a perfect host, Lord Mayfield took trouble to live up to his reputation. Although unmarried, he was always charming to women.”

I never really grooved much on Christie’s attempts at spy stories. It’s a strange bygone age, where people apparently take home Top Secret Plans and have Top Secret Meetings at their country estates. Still, Poirot, and it is intriguing as a period piece.

*****************************
Murder in the Mews
2.5 stars
“‘Penny for the guy, sir?’ A small boy with a grimy face grinned ingratiatingly. ‘Certainly not!’ said Chief Inspector Japp. ‘And, look here, my lad–‘ A short homily followed. The dismayed urchin beat a precipitate retreat, remarking briefly and succinctly to his youthful friends: ‘Blimy if it ain’t a cop all togged up!'”
Christie does a nice twist. Inspector Japp and Poirot investigate an apparent suicide, discovered by the woman’s roommate. More dialogue, with more feel of polish.

*****************
Triangle at Rhodes
2 stars
Don’t read this if you are going to read Evil Under the Sun.

Hercule Poirot sat on the white sand and looked out across the sparkling blue water. He was carefully dressed in a dandified fashion in white flannels and a large panama hat protected his head. He belonged to the old-fashioned generation which believed in covering itself carefully from the sun. Miss Pamela Lyall, who sat beside him and talked ceaselessly, represented the modern school of thought in that she was wearing the barest minimum of clothing on her sun-browned person.”

Christie must have been working out her plot for one of her better known, full-length mysteries. This is quite truncated at a mere 25 pages and loses much of the atmosphere that makes the book so powerful.

Two-and-a-half stars, rounding up, because, Christie. If I rate them lower, it’s probably because I’m comparing them to my memories of her at her best.

Edition note: this is the right ISBN number, wrong cover. It’s a 1984 reprint by Berkeley Books and features a sihlouette of Poirot on the front.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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