Vintage mysteries – Seeing isn’t believing

Review – Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie

A keeper? Meh. Not terrible Christie, but not great either. Probably not.

Poor Lord Edgware. Nobody loved him (but then again, he probably didn’t want them to!) His nephew and heir had a terrible argument with him the morning before he was murdered. His secretary just barely tolerates him. His daughter feared him. And his wife, the beautiful actress Jane Wilkinson, has been telling everyone she’d like to kill him. It’s a good thing she was at a dinner party with a dozen other people when he died!

Poor Carlotta Adams. Everybody liked her. Her sickly little sister loved her, and so did her good friend Jenny Driver, and perhaps Bryan Martin the actor. Her audiences loved her impersonations. Even Jane Wilkinson enjoyed it when Carlotta imitated her. So why would anybody poison Carlotta?

And who was the mysterious woman who came to visit Lord Edgware the night he died? She told his new butler she was his wife – but the butler has never met Jane Wilkinson, and everyone agrees that Jane was miles away. What was Ronald Marsh, his nephew, doing that evening in the hall near the room where Lord Edgware was killed? For that matter, what about the young Duke of Merton? He wants desperately to marry Jane Wilkinson, but his religious principles won’t let him marry a divorced woman. Could he have decided it was all right to take action to make her a marriageable widow?

It seems like an impossible tangle. But not when Hercule Poirot is on hand to identify the guilty person!

And yet, I was underwhelmed. I’m not sure why. Somehow this seemed like an especially airless Christie, leaning even more than usual on stereotypes. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read it. And, of course, I’m looking for books I won’t mind getting rid of.

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4 responses to “Vintage mysteries – Seeing isn’t believing

  1. Why do you want books to get rid of? running out of space? I have far too many but just love the feel of a real book otherwise I’ be tempted by a Kindle. I admire you reading Christie, I enjoyed them many,many years ago but don’t think I could bear it now 🙂

    • I’m totally out of space! At the point now of piling books on the floor…which makes it hard to clean and hard to find a book when you want it. I bought a Kindle a few months ago and have very mixed feelings about it – actually, I’ll probably post something about that later this week.

      As for Christie – I bought lots and lots of her stories years ago and am re-reading them because I suspect very few are worth keeping! Her plots can be ingenious, but her characters are usually irritating puppets.

  2. Oh and I have been here, it’s 25 miles from me. I only explored the garden, the house wasn’t open, but it was a wonderful trip by boat up the river Dart. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway/

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