Thursday, July 25, 2013
Murder at the Manor
I know this is going to be shocking, but I'm going to review some more Agatha Christie books. Can you read the sarcasm in that last sentence? I know you must be thinking, "How many more Agatha Christie books is this girl gonna read? Sheesh!" Well, at least a few more. And if I continue to enjoy them as much as I have been, I'll probably even buy some more copies than what I already managed to snag from my great-great aunt's book collection.
Murder at the Manor is a compilation of three Agatha Christie novels. And get this, they all take place in a manor house. Hmmm...wonder where they came up with the title?
First up, Crooked House. A young man, Charles Hayword, has come back from war and wants to marry a young woman whom he pre-proposed to (he told her if he came back alive that he'd want to marry her), Sophia Leonides. Sophia and all her family live in the same house (which she refers to as a little, crooked house) and one morning, Sophia's grandfather and lord of the manor, is discovered dead. Sophia tells Charles they can't marry until the murderer is found and brought to justice...as long as the right person murdered her grandfather. What an odd thing to say, am I right? Well, Charles' father happens to be in the police force and the two men share different aspects of the case and end up solving the murder. I will say that, of all the Agatha Christie novels I've read thus far, this one had the most twisted ending.
Next up, Ordeal by Innocence. At the manor of Sunny Point a Rachel Argyle has been murdered and her son, Jacko, has been convicted and sent off the prison. Not long after being locked up, Jacko dies in custody. Jacko had always declared his innocence, but his alibi could never be proven. Two years after the murder, a Dr. Arthur Calgary shows up and informs the family that he can, definitively, back up Jacko's alibi and that he's sorry it's taken so long to come around. Dr. Calgary suffered from a particular incident where he was hospitalized and suffered some amnesia. Therefore, he did not know about the murder or trial that followed, at least at the time. Like Crooked House, the entire family lives under one roof...so, now the entire family must figure out who was the one that killed Rachel Argyle two years prior. In classic fashion, I couldn't guess who the murderer was until the bitter end and, like always, it was a complete surprise.
And lastly, The Seven Dials Mystery. I'll start off by saying that this one was my favorite of these three short novels. In this book, a young group of the peerage is visiting an estate for a fun get-away. In the group, there is a young man who likes to sleep in much, much, much later than everyone else. The rest of the group decide to play a practical joke on this person, by setting up alarm clocks in his room and having each go off in succession at 6am. Of course, being an Agatha Christie novel, he doesn't get upset or even wake up because he is murdered in the night. Shortly after his murder, another member of the party is discovered on a country road, dying. One thing the two men have in common is that they have either written or said something about "the seven dials" prior to their death. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it...and if you have yet to read an Agatha Christie, this would be an excellent one to start with!