Author: Agatha Christie
Finished on: 30 March 2020
Where did I get this book: The gift shop at Greenway
Oooo it’s a good one.
All Agatha Christie’s books are delicious, of course. But there are the merely gorgeous. And then there are the glorious. And this one is glorious.
I bought this for my daughter from Greenway on our recent visit. She loves it – rates it as even better than Death on the Nile in the genius plotting stakes. I wouldn’t go quite that far – obviously – but there’s no doubt this is up there with the absolute classics.
“There is evil everywhere under the sun,” our Belgian hero says at the beginning of the book. If we weren’t in a Christie novel it would be a ridiculous assertion. He’s on holiday at the Devon coast at a very exclusive seaside resort, surrounded by wealthy and respectable people. Surely it’s will just be a pleasant break full of sea swims and sunshine?
But, of course, we get our corpse. And a whole plethora of reasons why these respectable people might feasibly have committed murder.
One of Christie’s many strengths is how matter of fact she is about the whole thing. Yes, evil is everywhere. Yes, almost anyone is capable of murder in the right – or wrong – circumstances. Yes, someone we were chatting to only yesterday is now dead and cold. Hey ho – let’s have a nice drink before dinner.
Quite why this is so comforting, I don’t know. Perhaps having low expectations of our fellow man means there’s no stress in worrying we might be disappointed. Perhaps it makes us self-sufficient to think we have to depend only on ourselves. Perhaps we enjoy and appreciate the moment we’re in when we know death is around the corner. Perhaps it’s just that we don’t mind the odd dead body when we’re in such a lovely and luxurious a world
There’s the puzzle too, of course. And this one is a corker when it comes to the puzzle.
At a time when we all need a good comfort read, Christie is the ultimate choice. Curl up, take a trip to the beach and get your thinking caps on. What could be better than this?