The Hound of Death and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

The Hound of Death: “It was from William P. Ryan, American newspaper correspondent, that I first heard of the affair.”

Detective: None, as these are tales of the supernatural

Published: October 1933

Length: 218 pages

Setting: various:

A compilation of 12 short stories, The Hound of Death and Other Stories are not mysteries, but instead are tales of the macabre, tales of the supernatural, tales that are linked to the scary unknown.  The tales were as follows:

  1. The Hound of Death
  2. The Red Signal
  3. The Fourth Man
  4. The Gipsy
  5. The Lamp
  6. Wireless
  7. The Witness for the Prosecution
  8. The Mystery of the Blue Jar
  9. The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael
  10. The Call of Wings
  11. The Last Seance
  12. S O S
The Hound of Death

Two Hounds in a Stable – Carl Frederik Kiörboe
source Wikimedia Commons

The Hound of Death

A nun with mysterious powers, and death and destruction after which follows the shape of a giant hound.  A doctor who attempts to gain ultimate power through the nun and brings upon himself nothing but ruin.  A very creepy story.

The Red Signal

During a dinner party, a discussion begins about premonitions and a feeling of danger, like a red signal.  There are suspicious undercurrents within the group and talk turns to action with surprising twists.

The Fourth Man

Three men in a train carriage start a conversation which turns to the question: can a body house more than one soul?  When a fourth sleeping man awakens and joins the conversation, things turn creepy.

Gypsy Woman

Gypsy Woman (1883) Gabriele Brunati
source Wikimedia Commons

The Gipsy

Dickie Carpenter breaks off his engagement, and then follows explanations of encounters with a phantom gypsy woman during his life and what happens when he obeys or ignores her instructions.

The Lamp

A young widow rents a house for cheap rent and soon suspects that the house is haunted. Upon confirmation by the house agent, she makes a decision that she will regret.


A nervous old lady with a heart condition allows her nephew to buy her a wireless to calm her nerves.  A nefarious plan is unfolded with the results most shocking to the perpetrator.

The Witness for the Prosecution

Leonard Vole is accused of befriending and then murdering a rich old lady for her money, and his lawyer proceeds to attempt to prove his innocence.  His wife, who is not really his wife, surprisingly appears as a witness for the prosecution but nothing is as it seems and the ending is most devious and shocking.

Blue Jar

source Wikimedia Commons

The Mystery of the Blue Jar

Golf enthusiast, Jack Hartington, keeps hearing a cry of “Murder! Help! Murder!” during his golf game and is puzzled as to its source.  Finally, fearing for his sanity, he takes into his confidence a man who is watching him, a Dr. Lavington, and thus continues underhanded plan of larceny of gigantic proportions.

The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael

A strange case of a man who has awakened with a completely different personality. A cat who appears to be intentionally following different people and one that appears to be deeply involved in the mystery.  Can the noted psychologist, Edward Carstairs, solve this puzzling problem?

Song of the Angels

The Call of Wings

Silas Hamer, a millionaire and Dick Borrow, a parson, tell their friend, Bertrand Seldon, that they are opposites, yet both perfectly content, one with his money and the other with his faith.  Yet on the way home, Silas Hamer sees a homeless man hit by a bus and returns home with the guilt that he might have been able to save him.  Before entering his home, he hears music from a legless piper which haunts him for days and he dreams of joyfulness, and colours, even a new one which his names Wing Colour, as the music makes him want to soar, however he always has the feeling of being pulled back to earth.  Asking the piper about the music, the piper’s answer makes him feel that his money is what is preventing him from true meaning and contentment.  In a completely selfless act, Hamer frees himself from earthy burdens and is once again given a chance to redeem himself and save his own soul.

The Last Seance

Raoul is in love with Simone, who is a medium and about to perform her last seance.  Wearied by the continual emotional and mental energy of her work, Simone longs to be free of it but circumstances turn to tragedy in this haunting tale.


When Mortimer Cleveland’s car is damaged from tire punctures, he searches for help and comes upon the Dinsmead family who have just sat down for tea.  An expert in mental science, what he learns about the family helps prevent a tragedy.


Since seances and ghosts and voices from the dead are not my cup of tea, I steeled myself to make it through this short book, however, there was one story that I absolutely loved …. The Call of Wings.  It dwelled on the spiritual in a good way and focussed on sacrifice and eternal happiness.  Of further note, Witness for the Prosecution was adapted into an award-winning play by Christie and it was praised for its inventiveness.  Nevertheless, I’m certainly happy to move along in my Christie challenge!


⇐  Lord Edgware Dies                                           Murder on the Orient Express ⇒

12 thoughts on “The Hound of Death and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

  1. Pingback: Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie - Classical CarouselClassical Carousel

    • Yes, I’ve been quiet lately. I have so many backlogged reviews. The Call of Wings was excellent. Definitely worth having to read the rest of the stories.

      Hey, I’ve been reading The Man Who Was Thursday and discovered that G.K. Chesterton’s wife, Francis, was a friend of Charlotte Mason. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps you know this but in case you didn’t, I thought I’d share!

  2. Interesting collection! And thanks for the warning, I’m not too keen on occult stories either… Christie is a great author but she can get rather weird. I remember the Harley Quin series was one of those that felt “off” to me.

    • No, I don’t think you’d like this much. It was “worse” than the Harley Quin stories. But if you can find The Call of Wings on it’s own, read it!

  3. This does sound like an odd collection for her & wouldn’t be my thing exactly either (and haven’t read it). But I did see the movie version of Witness for the Prosecution & thought it was pretty great. I don’t remember any ghosts or anything in that, though.

    • Yes, I suppose it would be good for Halloween, but I found it more occultist than ghostly. I’m glad it’s behind me and I have some fun ones coming up including Why Didn’t You Ask Evans?

  4. I don’t remember coming across this title when making up my Agatha Christie list, but maybe that’s because I was focused on her mysteries (or maybe it’s one of those collections that has different titles in different locations?). It does sound less up my alley, especially as I haven’t been that taken with her short stories to begin with. However, I did find the film of Witness for the Persecution good, so I might have to take a look at that one.

    • I just go by Wikipedia and it shows what precedes and follows each book. This one has different stories depending on the edition but I think I was able to get the one with the original stories. Not my favourite.

      Definitely if you skip the short stories and the Westmacott books you move more quickly through her works but I’ve found everything I’ve read to be interesting in some way and illuminating so I’m glad that I haven’t skipped anything.

  5. Pingback: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Classical CarouselClassical Carousel

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