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!


Murder at Hazelmoor

by Agatha Christie  –  published 1931
Also published as The Sittaford Mystery


IMG_0285Inspector Narracott was the perfect model of a professional police inspector – calm, methodical, doing everything by the book.

Beautiful young Emily Trefusis was his perfect opposite – impulsive, intuitive, irreverent toward all rules and regulations.

Together, they entered into a competition to solve the baffling case of a man who had died at the very moment his murder was being forecast at a seance miles away.

And it was not long before even the Inspector had to admit Emily was as effective a sleuth as he could ever hope to be…

…unless, of course, she was a murderess, leading him on a merry chase…


Another fun tale by Agatha Christie. I had seen the BBC drama based on this book before I read it and was shocked to find Miss Marple wasn’t even in the book! I’ll have to re-watch the movie now that I’ve actually read the book. I wish they wouldn’t take such license with the book when they do the movies!

This has all the ‘fixin’s’, small village, big house, snow storm, big family and plenty of red herrings. Enjoyed immensely.

This fulfills the ‘dead body‘ category on the Gold Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ My Reader’s Block. That puts me at 10 on this card!




That Mustache, Really!?

Finally made it to the theater to see the new Murder on the Orient Express. I’ve heard such mixed reviews. I figured the cinematography would be worth it if nothing else. Sorry to say I was a little disappointed in that too. The costumes and the train were perfect, but so much of the snow covered mountain landscape seemed artificial to me.  In a few scenes almost like the actors were filmed against that ‘green screen’ with the background put in later. Maybe we are just spectacularly spoiled with the quality of the films today!

Of course I think after years of David Suchet perfectly playing the character, no one is going to be able to step into the role without taking a lot of heat! I didn’t care for Branagh’s Poirot. But maybe he will grow on me, I hear he is doing Death on the Nile next.

And that mustache was ridiculous! Have you seen any pictures of it yet? I’m sure it’s been hard to miss with all the publicity about it.

BUT! I found this article online about it and it states that Agatha Christie described Poirot’s mustache as ‘magnificent’ and ‘immense’ and she was very protective over him. It was said that her husband had a disagreement with Albert Finney over the size of the mustache in the 1974 film version, which they loved, aside from the tiny mustache! So the tiny one we are used to seeing is  not what Christie visualized on Poirot and he is her creation, so… Branagh said the size of the mustache was very important to Christie’s family for this film version and they worked as advisors on the film . Read the article, it’s good!

Have you seen it yet and what did you think? It’s a wonderful tale and you know, I don’t think I’ve ever read this one!


Crooked House

by Agatha Christie first published in 1949


Pocket Book edition

The old man suffered from diabetes. He had regular injections of insulin – until someone switched the insulin for eserine. Anyone in the house could have done it. Everyone had a motive. The old man was enormously rich. And his wife was beautiful. Of course, beauty is no crime. But his wife was fifty years younger – and in love with another man!

I read this one getting ready for the film version due out December 22 in the US. I can’t wait! When I got to the end I remembered reading it a long time ago!

Charles Haywood is in the Diplomatic Service and comes home to England after a couple years away from his sweetheart Sophia, whom he met in service in Cairo. They were planning on getting married. But Sophia’s rich, patriarchal grandfather had just been murdered and she isn’t sure she can marry him now.

“Their suspicions may be quite unjustified. But putting that aside, supposing that they are justified, how does that affect you and me?”

“It might under certain circumstances. You’re in the Diplomatic Service. They’re rather particular about wives. No-please don’t say all the things that you’re just bursting to say. You’re bound to say them-and I believe you really think them-and theoretically I quite agree with them. But I’m proud-and I’m devilishly proud. I want our marriage to be a good thing for everyone–I don’t want to represent one half of a sacrifice for love! And, as I say, it may be all right…”

 “You mean the doctor-may have made a mistake?”

“Even if he hasn’t made mistake, it won’t matter-so long as the right person killed him.”

And when he asked her to tell him about it She said…

“No, Charles. I don’t want you to see us from my angle. I want you to see us unbiased from the outside point of view.”

   “And how am I to do that?”

 She looked at me, a queer light in her brilliant blue eyes.   “You’ll get that from your father,” she said.

Charles’ father is Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard! So Charles starts tagging along with the detective as he investigates. He gets to know her family from the eyes of investigation.

Of course this is an Agatha Christie book so its going to be great. What is there not to like her books! This one is a stand-alone, no Poirot or Miss Marple or Tommy and Tuppence. I really enjoyed it. Very clever plot and a house that seemed almost a character. My edition was a 9th Pocket Book printing. You can look at all the different covers of this book here.

Glenn Close and Gillian Anderson star in the movie. Glenn Close will be a perfect Aunt Edith! If I’m not mistaken I heard this is the first time this book has been made into a movie, is that correct?

Watch the trailer for the movie…


This fulfills the “red object” (Red hat and gloves) category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card for Bev’s Vintage Covers Scavenger Hunt

Funerals Are Fatal

by Agatha Christie

Richard Abernethie was dead, but none of his quarrelsome relatives was particularly sorry. They are certainly better off. For Richard’s will made them all extremely rich!

But at the funeral a strange thing happened. Aunt Cora, a batty old art collector, suggested that Richard’s death was not quite natural. The family seemed incredulous! Then the next day another corpse was found. Was it a coincidence that it happened to be Cora?

Hercule Poirot, the famous detective, used a pet theory – “Let people talk long enough and they’ll always hang themselves.” So while all the relatives talked, Poirot listened. and what he heard was…
A case of vicious murder!

The UK edition of this book is titled After the Funeral. Why do they have to give books multiple names?  I read a review of this on someone’s blog recently (can’t find it now) and set out to find it right away. I thought I had gotten a different book when I picked up Funerals are Fatal and was pleasantly surprised to find I had the right book after all!

I enjoyed this a much as I thought I would! Excellent plot and wonderful characters, but what else would you expect from Christie?! Hercule Poirot didn’t make his entrance until chapter 7 and didn’t really play a large part in this one. An excellent case was set up for each character to have the motive and the means. I didn’t figure it out, that’s for sure.

This fulfills the ‘shadowy figure’ category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card @My Readers’s Block


The Hollow by Agatha Christie


Back cover:
Hercule Poirot was both annoyed and bored. Death was not amusing, and here, by way of a joke, they had arranged for him a set piece in extremely bad taste. By the side of the crowded pool a body had been artistically arranged with an out-flung arm; even some ghoulishly red paint dripped. The ‘body’ was spectacularly handsome, and several people stood round in unlikely poses. It was all really very amateurish.

But as he looked Poirot suddenly realised that this scene had a point of reality, a reality that hit him between the eyes like a hammer blow. For it was not red paint that dripped. It was blood.

He was looking at a dying man

This book was first published in the UK in 1946. My Fontana Books copy was published in the UK in 1968. Although it is a Poirot book he really doesn’t seem to be front and center in this story. This book is really more a story about love and relationships than the murder.

Dr. John Christow is an excellent doctor and everyone loves him. Outwardly he seems quite selfless and caring and kind, but in reality he is basically a very selfish, self-centered man. His wife Gerda worships him, waits on him hand and foot, frets over pleasing him. Yet when Poirot arrives for a luncheon date at the country home of the Angkatell’s he finds Gerda standing over the body of her dying husband holding a gun. Henrietta, a family friend (maybe John’s lover?) takes the gun from Gerda and ‘accidentally’ drops it in the pool when Poirot startles her by speaking and stepping toward her. Was she protecting Gerda or someone else? Who’s fingerprints would have been on the gun besides Gerda’s? Everyone in this story has a motive for wanting John dead and an opportunity to have done it, including Actress Veronica Cray his old love. She showed up after 15 years just the night before. But the whole thing looks staged to Poirot. Who was it staged for and why?

I enjoyed this Christie very much! I was convinced of the guilt of just about every character in it at some point or another and was fairly sure it was not who it was.

After reading a review for this on Pretty Sinister Books, I just had to have it. Read John’s review too if you haven’t already! He also has several of the covers this book was printed with through the years.

I read this book for Crime Fiction of the Year over at Past Offences. This month’s year was 1946. A very good year I would say looking at all the other books reviewed for this!

Peggy Ann