Tag Archives: murder

Book Review – A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte book coverA Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

What would happen if the teenage descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson met at a Connecticut boarding school and there just happened to be a murder there? Well, obviously Charlotte Holmes and James Watson were destined to become friends and solve the mystery together. A Study in Charlotte is a fun-filled Sherlockian homage with fascinating characters who have both similarities to and differences from their literary ancestors. The plot told, as it should be, from Watson’s point-of-view, is engaging and well-paced. I’m excited to see where Brittany Cavallaro takes her characters next.

Book Review – A Share in Death

A Share in DeathA Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

“A Share in Death” is the first entry in the series. A quaint, country manor house full of vacationing tourists turns into a house full of suspects when one of the staff turns up dead in the pool. This book has a comforting Agatha Christie-esque feel to it. Although she’s originally from Texas, Ms. Crombie has a great sense for British culture and writing. Her protagonists Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid & Sergeant Gemma James are smart and audacious.  And while I don’t expect these modern mysteries to continue to have so much in common with Christie’s novels, this one had the makings of a decent English countryside who-dun-it. I can say definitively that I will read more of Ms. Crombie’s mysteries.

Book Review – The Affinity Bridge

The Affinity BridgeThe Affinity Bridge by George Mann

Review: I liked this one. The steampunk elements don’t overwhelm the story but instead simply add a different flavor. The plot points ended up coming together in an interesting way and the characters were flawed but still amusing and charismatic. My only complaint was that I figured out the mystery a little sooner than a mystery dunce like me should have.

Book Review – Bones to Ashes

Bones to AshesBones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

Review: This is the 10th book in the series which inspired the television show “Bones.” Now I happen to like “Bones” and watch it regularly. So after I got over the inevitable comparisons, this book got better. Yes, there are some similarities but don’t expect the Temperance Brennan from the show to appear in the book. That being said, I came to enjoy the differences between the character from the book and the one I love from the show.

Book Review – The Sign of Four

The Sign of FourThe Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

Review: This was the first Sherlock Holmes story I have ever read. There is no doubt that Conan Doyle is a great writer. His wordsmithing skills shine through every page. I chose this particular Holmes because I had not heard anything about it or seen any adaptations. I wanted to remain surprised at the outcome. However, there might be a reason this mystery has not been adapted. While still fairly good and very much like what I expected from Sherlock Holmes, it was not, I think, the best example of Sherlockian literature. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.

Book Review – Nemesis

NemesisNemesis by Agatha Christie

Review: Solid Christie. I really liked the way this one is set up: Miss Marple receives a mystery letter from a dead acquaintance that starts her down the path to solving multiple murders. It was clever and fun. However, I still like Ms. Christie’s Poirot novels more than Miss Marple. Poirot seems to be more about smarts whereas Miss Marple stumbles into murder investigations and sometimes even acts dumb or scatterbrained to get to the truth. Although I do like the thought of a little old lady kicking ass and taking names.

Author Profile – Agatha Christie

Born: September 15, 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England Agatha Christie

Died: January 12, 1976 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England

 Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie nee Miller was born into an upper middle-class English family. Her father was an American stockbroker and she had an elder sister and brother. Christie described her childhood happy. Her mother insisted that Christie be home schooled until after her father died in 1901 when she was sent to boarding and then finishing schools. She was a voracious reader from an early age, loving Edith Nesbit and Lewis Carroll.

Christie’s early literary endeavors involved writing and performing in amateur theater. She soon moved on to short stories mainly focused on her interest in spiritualism and the paranormal. These early works were submitted to various magazines but not published until later.

Christie met Archibald “Archie” Christie in 1912. He was a Royal Flying Corps. pilot stationed near Christie’s home in Devon. The couple wed on December 24, 1914 while Archie was on leave from his post in France during the First World War. Christie joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment during the war and attended to wounded soldiers at the local hospital. Archie rose through the ranks and was stationed back in Britain by September 1918. The couple settled in London and had a daughter, Rosalind, in 1919.

During the war, Christie began work on her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring detective Hercule Poirot. It was published by The Bodley Head in 1920. She was soon publishing regularly both novels and short stories.

In late 1926, Christie’s husband asked for a divorce after falling in love with another woman. On December 3, 1926, Christie disappeared from the couple’s home. She left a note saying that she was traveling to Yorkshire but her car was found in another town. Over a thousand police officers, fifteen thousand volunteers and several airplanes scoured the area looking for Christie for 10 days. She was finally found living in a hotel in Yorkshire under an assumed name. Christie never explained the disappearance but several doctors diagnosed her as having a nervous breakdown. Public reaction at the time chalked the whole thing up to a publicity stunt.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan and theirs was a happy marriage all the way until Christie’s death in 1976. Christie kept writing, even using her travels with Mallowan as settings for her novels. During the Second World War, Christie worked in the pharmacy at the University College Hospital where she obtained knowledge about poisons that she would later use in her writing.

Christie wrote over 70 novels and hundreds of short stories during her career and received many honors for her literary works. In 1971, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Her husband was also honored being knighted for his archaeological work.

Christie died of natural causes on January 12, 1975. She is buried near her home in Wallingford.

Bibliography: 

As Christie wrote prodigiously throughout her life, I will focus on her novels. If you would like to see a complete list of her work, click here.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
The Secret Adversary (1922)
The Murder on the Links (1923)
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
The Secret of Chimneys (1925)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
The Big Four (1927)
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)
The Murder at the Vicarage (1930)
The Sittaford Mystery (1931)
Peril at End House (1932)
Lord Edgware Dies (1933)
Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1934)
Three Act Tragedy (1935)
Death in the Clouds (1935)
The A.B.C. Murders (1936)
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)
Cards on the Table (1936)
Dumb Witness (1937)
Death on the Nile (1937)
Appointment with Death (1938)
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938)
Murder is Easy (1939)
And Then There Were None (1939)
Sad Cypress (1940)
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940)
Evil Under the Sun (1941)
N or M? (1941)
The Body in the Library (1942)
Five Little Pigs (1942)
The Moving Finger (1942)
Towards Zero (1944)
Death Comes as the End (1944)
Sparkling Cyanide (1945)
The Hollow (1946)
Taken at the Flood (1948)
Crooked House (1949)
A Murder is Announced (1950)
They Came to Baghdad (1951)
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (1952)
They Do It with Mirrors (1952)
After the Funeral (1953)
A Pocket Full of Rye (1953)
Destination Unknown (1954)
Hickory Dickory Dock (1955)
Dead Man’s Folly (1956)
4:50 from Paddington (1957)
Ordeal by Innocence (1958)
Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)
The Pale Horse (1961)
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1962)
The Clocks (1963)
A Caribbean Mystery (1964)
At Bertram’s Hotel (1965)
Third Girl (1966)
Endless Night (1967)
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968)
Halloween Party (1969)
Passenger to Frankfurt (1970)
Nemesis (1971)
Elephants Can Remember (1972)
Postern of Fate (1973)
Curtain (1975)
Sleeping Murder (1976)