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

When Captain Treveylan rents his house out at Sittaford to Mrs. Willett and her daughter, Victoria, everyone is perplexed.  Why would this wealthy South African pair want to bury themselves in the country in the dead of winter and why is so little known about them?  Major Burnaby, the close friend of Treveylan, is puzzled as well, but when a party at Sittaford goes awry, with a floating table knocking out a message of the death of Treveylan, Burnaby sets out in a blizzard to Exhampton to check on his dear friend at his rented residence.  Alas, the message turns out to be correct and a search is on for the murderer.

Cottage in Snow

Cottage in Snow ~ Wikimedia Commons

Inspector Narracott begins to piece together the clues, but he did not anticipate the appearance of Emily Trefusis, the fiance of the accused, Jim Pearson, who is the nephew of Treveylan and a beneficiary of his will along with another nephew, a niece, and Trevelyan’s sister.  Emily is not a young lady to take no for an answer and sets off with determination and imagination to root out the murderer and free the man she loves.

Sheep in the Snow

Sheep in the Snow – Joseph Farquharson ~ source Wikiart

Yet Emily is not the only sleuth on the block.  Charles Enderby, a journalist with a taste for a scoop is engaged by Emily to assist in her investigation, and Mr. Rycroft, of cottage number 3 on the Sittaford estate, offers his extensive criminology experience.  A plethora of unexpected connections appear among suspects and non-suspects, and the reader is left puzzling over the possible implications.  Emily, however, is undaunted and with Charles as her Watson, she navigates her way through the village inhabitants and the clues to unearth a surprising culprit to the bloody deed.

Snow Gustave Courbet

Snow (1874) Gustave Courbet
~ source Wikiart

This novel was certainly not as fluid as some of the other Christie novels that I’ve read.  The reader goes from here to there to here to there and back again, dragged along by the sleuthing.  It’s definitely entertaining though, as Christie tosses out a number of red herrings to convolute both the characters’ and the reader’s detection process.  I actually guessed the murderer at the beginning in a rash determination so I didn’t really believe my surmise and thus was, in a way, surprised at the ending.

Saddle Tor to Hey Tor Dartmoor

Saddle Tor to Hey Tor, Dartmoor in the Snows (2009)

The next up is another Poirot novel, Peril and End House and I’m looking forward to being reacquainted with this very well-known detective!


⇐ The Murder at the Vicarage                                               Peril at End House ⇒

15 thoughts on “The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie

  1. I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve been reading the Miss Marple books for the first time. Isn’t it great she was such a no prolific writer!

    • It was quite good actually and a nice break from Poirot and Miss Marple. But a good book to read in winter! She has so many books that I wonder if I’ll get through all of them!!

    • Same here! I’m *trying* to prioritise the Miss Marple novels first before I move on to Christie’s other works including her (many!) stand alone novels.

  2. Pingback: The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie - Classical CarouselClassical Carousel

  3. This is *definitely* on my ‘List’ to read. I actually do have a (quite old) copy in my pile of Classics. I’ll get around to it at some point I’m sure! [grin]

    • On one hand, I wouldn’t be rushing to read it yet on the other, I wouldn’t want to miss it. I hope you do get to it one day!

  4. This title sounds so familiar, yet the plot doesn’t sound familiar at all. Maybe I’ve simply seen the title too many times, here and there? It does sound very intriguing though–looking forward to it. (And to more Piorot–how can one not look forward to more Poirot?)

    • I think you’ll enjoy it even if it’s not her best.

      I do love Poirot however my least favourites are still The Big Four and Murder on the Links which are both Poirot’s (that is, if you get rid of the Westmacott novel, Giant’s Bread which is really my least favourite). However my favourite (so far) is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, another Poirot, so perhaps that balances it out!

  5. Pingback: Peril at End House by Agatha Christie - Classical CarouselClassical Carousel

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!