Book 4 in the Tommy & Tuppence mysteries
While visiting an irascible aunt in a retirement home, Tuppence Beresford has an odd conversation with one of the residents, suggesting that something sinister is going on, and the other residents’ deaths might not be of natural causes after all.
- Charming and extremely British, exactly what you’d expect from Christie’s stories of upper-middle-class English people solving murders with curious detachment
- The now-middle-aged married duo of Tommy & Tuppence, who I thought were extremely dull when I first read Christie’s books, now seem genuinely endearing, a kind of lower-energy Nick & Nora Charles without all the alcohol
- The idea of solving a cold case with literally no information apart from a painting, a vague memory, and a railway map, is an intriguing one
- Resolutely middle-aged, hinting at scandal and adventure without straining plausibility
- Short but not too slight, has the feel of the hour-long televised mystery stories that somehow Christie might’ve predicted would be made from her works
- Meandering and roundabout, and unlikely to be palatable to anyone who isn’t charmed by Tommy & Tuppence’s married-couple banter
- Not really much of a detective story, since there are a few interesting bits of actual deduction, but most of the case is solved by the protagonists just asking various people to provide exposition
Charming and comfortable, if you’re in the mood for a more languid and lackadaisical detective story. I believe that this is one of the few Agatha Christie books I didn’t read in middle and high school, and I only picked it up because it was mentioned in one of Anthony Horowitz’s mysteries, as an example of a detective story that accomplished a lot in a brief space (227 pages). Very well-suited to cramming in last-minute entries for a reading challenge.