The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie

The Sittaford Mystery“Major Burnaby drew on his gum boots, buttoned his overcoat collar around his neck, took from the shelf near the door a hurricane lantern, and cautiously opened the front door of his little bungalow and peered out.”

Originally Published as: The Murder at Hazelmoor

Detective: Emily Trefusis with Inspector Narracott

Published: 1931

Length: 228 pages

Setting: Sittaford & Exhampton, Dartmoor

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Giant’s Bread by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)

Giant's BreadGiant’s Bread: “It was New Year’s Eve.”

 

Main Character: Vernon Deyre

Published: April 1930 (14th published book)

Length: 437 pages

Setting: various: Abbots Puisannts, London, Germany, Holland, Moscow, New York, etc.

 

My chronological Agatha Christie read continues with Giant’s Bread, her first novel published under the pseudonym, Mary Westmacott.  There is no detective work in this story, as Christie/Westmacott treats her readers to a very modern novel. In any case, it must have been a much needed break from the detective novels Christie was expected to write.

Covering a vast number of characters and spanning a few decades of years, this first contemporary novel written under a pseudonym, proves Christie wanted this genre of her writing judged on its own merits instead of being buoyed up by her previous successes.

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The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Mr. QuinThe Mysterious Mr. Quin: “It was New Year’s Eve.”

 

Detective: Mr. Satterthwaite (aided by Mr. Quin)

Published: 1930 (Christie’s 13th published book)

Length: 288 pages

Setting: various: London, Monte Carlo, Corsica, etc.

 

Oh, what an odd little Christie novel.  Yet I suppose I shouldn’t call it a novel.  The Mysterious Mr. Quin is a compilation of a collection of short stories by Agatha Christie, published in various magazines over the course of approximately 5 years. One expects customary mysteries from Christie, complete with complex plots but this book is definitely different.  There are murders to solve but there are also problems of human choices and consequences.  Christie once again attempts something unique.

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The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

The Mystery of the Blue Train: “It was close on midnight when a man crossed the Place de la Concorde.”

 

Detective: Hercule Poirot

Published: March 1928 (9th published book)

Length: 317 pages

Setting: St. Mary Mead, England; Nice, France

 

 

Coming off the terribly constructed, overdramatized plot of The Big Four, I was very hesitant to continue my chronological Christie reads, but continue I have with The Mystery of The Blue Train.  Fortunately, Christie redeemed herself somewhat in my eyes and I did quite enjoy this mystery.

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The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four Agatha ChristieThe Big Four: “I have met people who enjoy a channel crossing; men who can sit calmly in their deck chairs and, on arrival, wait until the boat is moored, then gather their belongings together without fuss and disembark.”

Detective: Hercule Poirot

Published: January 1927

Length: 282 pages

Setting: London, Southampton, Devon, Surrey, Paris, Hatton Chase (fictional), Worcestershire, Belgium, South Tyrol (Italy)

Returning from Argentina after an 18-month absence, Hasting finds his old friend, Detective Hercule Poirot ready to depart for South American himself. He has been summoned by a client, Abe Ryland, who is a powerful man and in urgent need of his services.  But when Poirot finds a dishevelled, emaciated man in his bedroom with no clue as to how he got there, his departure is delayed.  As the man mutters Poirot’s name, while writing the number 4, Hastings speculates on a crime syndicate named The Big Four, whereupon the man reveals the possible players:

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