Death in the Air

by Agatha Christie (original title: Death in the Clouds)

3419858A woman is killed by a poisoned dart in the enclosed confines of a commercial passenger plane…

It was a most extraordinary case. A woman murdered with the venom-dipped dart of a South African blow-gun on a routine flight over the English channel. More Bizarre still: that the killing could go completely unnoticed by the planes’s other passengers. And most ironic of all: that Hercule Poirot, the brilliant detective, should be sitting not fifteen feet from the victim!

Another good mystery. I certainly didn’t figure this one out! So many of you have read and reviewed Agatha Christie it seems redundant for me to go on about it! An excellent read, interesting characters, superb plotting as always. I especially liked the ‘locked room’ aspect of this one. You’ll enjoy it!

I finished this one the last week of August but just now getting around to posting it!

This book fulfills the Where category (on a mode of transportation) in the Gold Era for Just the Facts M’am over @ My Reader’s Block.

The Moving Finger

by Agatha Christie  first published in 1942  Miss Marple mystery


Without warning, anonymous letters appeared everywhere in the quiet little town of Lymstock. Vicious letters that were the product of a mind twisted with hate. Ruthless, sinister letters that cleverly concealed the deadly scheme of a brilliant murderer…



I have a 1964 Dell paperback copy of this one. I love the feel of those old smaller paperbacks in my hand! This was a really good read, which Christie isn’t? Miss Marple doesn’t show up until page 135 though. She really has a background role in this one. Jerry Burton and local Inspector Nash do most of the detecting in this and Miss Marple shows up at the end to tie everything together for them. Jerry and his sister Joanna have rented a little house, Little Furze, for Jerry to recover from an accident in the country. Full of those wonderful Christie characters. Not once did I consider the character who turned out to be the dastardly killer. There are lots of good suspects!

For a minute or two I didn’t know whether I was asleep or awake. Then my brain cleared, and I realized I was in the drawing room of Little Furze and that Mrs. Dane Calthrop had just come through the window and was standing in front of me saying with nervous violence: “It has got to be stopped, I tell you.”………. And she went out of the window again.

I love that Agatha Christie is always having people coming in and out of windows! I’d love to have a long window that opens out into the ‘garden’ that we could step in and out of, but living in the south we’ed get eaten alive by mosquitos and gnats and little black flies and who knows what else!

This book fulfills the How category (at least two deaths with different means) in the Gold Era for Just the Facts M’am over @ My Reader’s Block.

Absent in the Spring

by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)

IMG_4329Returning from a visit to her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself unexpectedly alone and stranded in an isolated rest house by flooding of the railway tracks. This sudden solitude compels Joan to assess her life for the first time ever and face up to many of the truths about herself. Looking back over the years, Joan painfully re-examines her attitudes, relationships and actions and becomes increasingly uneasy about the person who is revealed to her.

This book was quite interesting. Nothing like I’ve ever read by Christie before. Quite profound really, and a bit uncomfortable. Joan has the perfect family, perfect house, perfect life. And she likes to take credit for all of it. She is a woman full of self-importance.

“Joan felt a little gentle glow as she turned away from her image in the glass. She thought, Well, it’s nice to feel one’s been a success at one’s job. I never wanted a career, or anything of that kind. I was quite content to be a wife and mother. I married the man I loved, and he’s been a success at his job – and perhaps that’s owing to me a bit too. One can do so much by influence.”

She goes to Iraq to ‘manage’ her daughter’s household and help out when Barbara is sick.  The trip home is somewhat complicated with many connections and difficult terrain to get through.  She runs into an old school friend, Blanche, at a Rest House in Baghdad as she waits overnight for the car to take her on to Tell Abu Hamid to the Turkish railway terminal to catch the train to London. An interesting conversation ensues revealing much about both women. Joan, almost bragging about how busy her life is and how essential she is to so many, comments that it would be wonderful to have a whole day or two with nothing to think about. Blanche retorts…

“I wonder, if you’d nothing to think about but yourself for days and days I wonder what you’d find out about yourself…”
Joan looked skeptical and faintly amused.
“Would one find out anything one didn’t know before?”
Blanche said slowly: “I think one might…”

The next morning Joan leaves by car for the long trip to the train station. Its the rainy season and the weather turns on them and the dirt roads are making travel rough. They barely make it through to the station and find when they get there they missed the train.

“That right, Memsahib. Miss train last night. Very unfortunate. Track very bad, rain very heavy in night. That means no cars can go to and from here to Mosul for somedays.”
“But the trains will be all right?”
Joan was not interested in the Mosul track.

You guessed it, the train did not make it the next day. Joan was stuck in the middle of the desert in a small Rest House with the Indian manager and one Arab boy. She had read all the books she brought with her and she had nothing to do with herself for several days but think!

Alone in the desert.
Alone in this very unpleasant prison-like room.
With nothing to think about but herself.

I was amazed that a story about one self absorbed woman stuck in the desert with nothing to do but think kept me turning pages! It was quite a fascinating book. It made me a little uncomfortable at times (was that the intended purpose?) wondering about my own motives and how others might perceive my actions.

Does Joan see herself clearly during this time or does she hold on to the veil she’s constructed about herself? Will she chose to act on the truths she finds? Excellent book!

Easy to Kill

by Agatha Christie

IMG_4175Someone was getting away with MURDER!
3 “accidental” deaths in a row. And only prim little Miss Lavinia Fullerton guessed they weren’t really accidents at all. She told Luke Fitzwilliam that Dr. Humbleby would be next. But she was wrong.

Hours later Miss Fullerton herself became victim number
Dr. Humbleby was number

So Fitzwilliam began his own one-man campaign to end a terrifying, ghoulish chain of murders. He knew he had taken on a dangerous, perhaps impossible, job. For Miss Fullerton had said that the killer “just the last person anyone would suspect.”

That’s why this homicidal maniac had found it so

Loved the plot to this one! Luke Fitzwilliam was retired from a police career in Asia. He meets Miss Fullerton on the train to London. She was on her way to Scotland Yard to stop a killer and when she is killed before she can get there he can’t get the story she told him or the look on her face off his mind so he had to go to Wychwood under Ashe and find the killer.

This is a Superintendent Battle book. I’ve never read one of them before. He doesn’t actually come into the story until the last two chapters though so I didn’t get to know him at all. It was published in 1939 in the UK under the title Murder is Easy and in the US under this title, Easy to Kill.

A good solid English countryside mystery by the master!

Ordeal of Innocence

B668A458-900F-47CC-902B-E94948871285By Agatha Christie

Whoever killed Mrs. Arygle was still at large. With seven likely suspects and as many reasons for wanting her dead, no wonder everyone suspected her nearest and dearest. But what made this Murder so baffling was that it had to be solved twice!

Excellent book! Mr. Calgary came to late to save Jacko. Jacko was arrested for murdering his mother and six months later he died in prison from pneumonia. He swore he was innocent. Claimed he hitched a ride into town that night and a search began for the man who picked him up, to no avail. The evidence was overwhelming and without the mysterious driver Jacko was convicted.  Two years later Mr. Calgary appears and says he was that man! He had been on an Artic expedition and didn’t even know about the trial until recently and he needed to set the record right and clear Jacko’s name. He thought the family would be thrilled and thankful. But they weren’t. That meant one of them did it!

“Going on so about justice! What does it matter to Jacko now? He’s dead. It’s not Jacko who matters. It’s us!” (Sister Hester speaking)

”What do you mean?”

”It’s not the guilty who matter. It’s the innocent.”
She caught his arm, digging her fingers into it.
”It’s we who matter. Don’t you see what you’ve done to us all?”

This book counts for Just the Facts Ma’am @ Bev’s My Reader’s Block. Gold Era Detective Notebook (1958) – category  – Why – made into a film/TV/ play

I picked this book to read because the BBC did a TV movie of this book that was suppose to air around Christmas. But one of the stars was accused by one woman of sexual harassment and they pulled the movie!