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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Greenmantle by John Buchan

GreenmantleGreenmantle: “I had just finished eating breakfast and was filling my pipe when I got Bullivant’s telegram.”

After his harrowing and unexpected adventures in The Thirty-Nine Steps, we find Richard Hannay with his friend, Sandy, convalescing at home from the Battle of Loos, a battle that made up part of the battles of the First World War.  But there are rumblings of a war in the East, a Holy War orchestrated by the Germans and their Turkish allies, that would bring about great unrest and tragedy.  Britain cannot afford distractions and therefore Hannay must penetrate the Eastern regions and discover the truth about the secret rumblings.

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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 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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The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

The Man in the QueueThe Man in the Queue: “It was between seven and eight o’clock on a March evening and all over London the bars were being drawn back from pit and gallery doors.”

Ah, finally I managed to find some time to read a Josephine Tey novel!!  I’ve been seeing so many reviews of her novels on other book blogs and hearing so many good things about her writing that I was keen to experience it myself.  Initially, I’d planned to start with her lauded Daughter of Time but instead decided to begin with her first novel, The Man in the Queue.

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The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

The Thirty-Nine Steps John BuchanThe Thirty-Nine Steps: “I returned from the City about three o’clock on that May afternoon, pretty well disgusted with life.”

Richard Hannay is bored.  Dead bored.  Returning from mining exploits in South Africa to idyllic England, he expected to be charmed by life in the busy and dynamic city of London.  Perplexed at how to inject a dose of adventure back into his life, one evening he discovers a man on his doorstep in Portland Place, a man who relates a fantastic tale of espionage, murder and the possible political destabilization of not only England, but Europe as well.

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