Tag Archives: Agatha Christie

Audiobook Mini-Review: Taken at The Flood

4 Mar

In Agatha Christie’s classic puzzler Taken at the Flood, the indefatigable Hercule Poiroit investigates the troubling case of a twice-widowed woman.

A few weeks after marrying an attractive widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs. Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune.

Shortly afterward, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man’s sister-in-law who claims she has been warned by “spirits” that Mrs. Underhay’s first husband is still alive. Poirot has his suspicions when he is asked to find a missing person guided only by the spirit world. Yet what mystifies Poirot most is the woman’s true motive for approaching him . . . 

 

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

 

My Impressions:

In my house a road trip is synonymous with Agatha Christie and a classic Hercule Poirot novel read by Hugh Fraser. My husband and I listened to Taken at The Flood during our one week trip around the southeast. We had actually tried to listen to this book in December as part of our bowl game excursion, but it just didn’t catch our attention. So we tried again to much greater success. In fact, this twisting mystery took both of us by surprise! Recommended.

Hercule Poirot makes a brief appearance in the beginning of Taken at The Flood, but does not play a major role in the story until way past the halfway point. Christie uses the majority of the book to set up the backstory of the Cloade family — their relationships, personalities, and varied motives. I actually liked this quite a bit. My husband was, however, impatient for the mystery-solving to begin. The mystery takes quite a few turns, and more than one dead person shows up. The ending is tied up in classic Poirot style, and we were pleasantly surprised. We did not see it coming!

If you are a fan of classic mysteries, I recommend Taken at The Flood. Just be patient for the amazing Poirot’s appearance.

Recommended. 

Audience: adults. 

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Mini-Review: Five Little Pigs

21 Jan

In Agatha Christie’s classic, Five Little Pigs, beloved detective Hercule Poirot races to solve a case from out of the past.

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other “little pigs” who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determined to prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirot just can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

 

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

 

My Impressions:

Five Little Pigs is Poirot and Christie at their finest. An old open and shut case is brought to the Belgian detective’s attention, and he cannot resist finding out what really happened in the poisoning death of a talented and self-absorbed artist. Sixteen years is a long time to discover new facts, but Poirot is never deterred by the faulty memories or biased attitudes of the 5 witnesses. Christie uses several very effective means to uncover whodunit — direct interviews by Poirot, written accounts of the witnesses/suspects, and a final drawing room confrontation of everyone involved. My husband and I listened to the audiobook on our holiday road trips and found the book kept our attention over the hours and miles. We insist on Hugh Fraser as the narrator of any Poirot mystery we listen too — he is excellent in capturing the essence of Poirot.

Five Little Pigsis a great accompaniment for traveling, chores, or exercise — whatever your audiobook need!

Recommended.

Audience: adults

To purchase, click HERE

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Mini-Reviews: Two by Christie

24 Nov

‘Tis the season for road trips and Agatha Christie audiobooks! My husband and I recently traveled to his mom’s for a pre-Thanksgiving visit and then on to a college football game. Accompanying us was Agatha Christie’s famed detective, Hercule Poirot. Hugh Fraser’s narration is a must for us, but the book he read, Appointment with Death, was not a hit. Poirot did not show up until the book was about 2/3’s of the way finished. He took the accounts of the characters and came to his conclusion, one that came out of left field for us. I think we would have enjoyed the book more if Poirot had been involved more.

It has been busy-busy at my house and finding time for exercise has been challenging. But with Hercule as a walking partner, I have a great excuse to get out and moving. Dumb Witness is Hercule at his finest. Colonel Hastings is also along for the ride and the story is told from his perspective. I love his little asides about Poirot’s idiosyncracies. The mystery kept me engaged and guessing and it was not far-fetched.

Do you listen to audiobooks while traveling, commuting or exercising?

What are your favorites?

 

51k1-ngydgl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sits the corpse of Mrs.Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her.

With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: “You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?” Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met . . . .

 

 

51o-ktmw8xl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Miss Emily was old, rich, and afraid – and now, she’s dead. Her terrified plea to Hercule Poirot came a little too late. All that’s left is a house full of greedy heirs, and a very strange letter that could solve the mystery – or add to it.

This title was previously published as Poirot Loses a Client.

Top 10 Tuesday — Halloween Cozies

25 Oct

Last year I posted a Top 10 List of Spooky Christian Fiction for the Halloween Freebie. But I realize not everyone likes creepy-crawly scary. 😉 So here are a few cozy mysteries that will give you that spooky vibe without keeping you up at night! To find more Halloween treats, check out The Broke And The Bookish Top 10 Tuesday.

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Top 5 Slightly Spooky Cozy Mysteries

 

Agatha Christie is considered the Queen of Mystery and her Hercule Poirot series is a favorite for road trips. Her novel, Hallowe’en Party will have you sleuthing right along with Poirot.

Lillian Jackson Braun was the author of the beloved Cat Who series featuring two inquisitive and intuitive cats who aided their owner in solving crimes in upstate Michigan. The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts is a must read for fans of this series.

Janet Evanovich is the popular and prolific creator of the Stephanie Plum series. Her Between The Numbers series features quirkier characters than normal who have a spooky side as well. Plum Spooky is her Halloween offering.

Every book in Carolyn Haines’ Sarah Booth Delaney series features a ghostly sidekick who gives advice from the beyond to help solve the case. Hallowed Bones is a good place to start in this long-running series.

Debbie Viguie has a fun mystery series featuring a church secretary and a rabbi, unlikely partners in crime-solving. The Psalm 23 Mysteries series often revolves around holidays and her Halloween edition is titled I Will Fear No Evil.

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What are your Halloween reading recommendations?

Roadtrip “Reading” — Agatha Christie Audiobooks

13 Oct

My husband and I have been on the road so much for the past few months. We have made trips to Virginia (twice), Florida, Colorado, Massachusetts and Mississippi. Whew! People did say we would have more time when the nest was truly empty! Well, of all of those destinations, only two didn’t involve kids ;).

Our audiobook listening didn’t start up again until this past weekend. We made the rounds of Mississippi, visiting friends and family and celebrating with our youngest son and his fiancée. Accompanying our road trip was Hercule Poirot. We have been systematically listening to Agatha Christie’s series in order of publication, but got a bit out of order on this trip. We listened to Cards on The Table set in the mid-1930s and The Third Girl set in the early 1960s. In the first novel, Poirot is in his prime and a well-known detective; the other novel features a Poirot confronted with the assertion that he is too old. In both novels, Poirot rules the day and exposes the bad guys. We really enjoyed Cards on The Table. The Third Girl — not so much. It was just too far-fetched with much of the evidence withheld from the reader until the very end. As always, Hugh Fraser did a wonderful job of bringing Poirot to life. A recurring character, Ariadne Oliver, also brought a good dose of levity.

While we enjoy traveling with Poirot, we would not recommend The Third Girl. However, Cards on The Table was one of our most enjoyable reads.

51ticept0sl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Mr. Shaitana is famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he is a man of whom everybody is a little afraid. So when he boasts to Hercule Poirot that he considers murder an art form, the detective has some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s private collection. Indeed, what begins as an absorbing evening of bridge will turn into a more dangerous game altogether.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

51qqqm5gfil-_sx329_bo1204203200_A perplexed girl thinks she might have killed someone . . . . Three single girls shared the same London flat. The first worked as a secretary; the second was an artist; the third who came to Poirot for help, disappeared convinced she was a murderer. Now there were rumours of revolvers, flick-knives and blood stains. But, without hard evidence, it would take all Poirot’s tenacity to establish whether the third girl was guilty innocent or insane . . . .

Top Ten Tuesday! — Audiobooks

28 Jun

It’s Freebie Day at Top Ten Tuesday! Thanks to the gals at The Broke And The Bookish who host every week. To find out what other bloggers are sharing today, click HERE.

toptentuesday

 

I love audiobooks! I started listening about 6 years ago when I traveled 4+ hours to my daughter’s college soccer games. They filled the tedious hours of driving alone. I got my husband hooked on audiobooks when we would go on road trips for football games. With Summer in full swing now, I thought it would be good to share my favorites. Audiobooks are perfect for car or plane trips or when you just want to relax and have someone read to you. 🙂 I also listen while exercising and doing chores, basically anytime when it is too cumbersome to hold a book! I went a bit over the top with my list — 20+ books! But I really liked them and just had to share.

 

TOP 10 20+ FAVORITE AUDIOBOOKS

While it is important to have a good story, a good reader/narrator is also important for a quality audiobook — timing and voices/accents are key. My husband and I got hooked on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. But just any old narrator will not do; we have to have Hugh Fraser! Lucky for us, a ton of Poirot audiobooks featuring Fraser are available. He does an excellent job in making Poirot come to life. Here are a few of our favorites.

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The Christie audiobooks run about 6+ hours, making them a perfect choice for listening with others.

Along with the Christie mysteries, I have listened to some other excellent books. They vary in length, but have a two things in common: excellent stories and excellent narrators. The following have something for everyone — suspense, mystery, history. There is even a classic! Check them out!

The Advocate by Randy Singer, narrated by David Cochran Heath

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, narrated by Zach Appleman

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill, narrated by Lisa Larsen

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, narrated by Teri Clark Linden

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The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey, narrated by Gabe Wicks

Cuts Like A Knife by M.K. Gilroy, narrated by Coleen Marlo

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer, narrated by Joey Collins

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt, narrated by Joyce Bean

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Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes, narrated by Paul Michael

Longbourn by Jo Baker, narrated by Emma Fielding

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, narrated by Jessica Almasy/Suzanne Toren

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim, narrated by Tavia Gilbert

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The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta, narrated by Amanda McKnight

The Racketeer by John Grisham, narrated by J.D. Jackson

Sycamore Row by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, narrated by Sissy Spacek

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki, narrated by Madeleine Maby

Vanished by Irene Hannon, narrated by Celeste Ciulla

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin, narrated by Kevin Stilwell

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What about you?

Do you listen to audiobooks?

 

Audiobook Review: The ABC Murders

3 Nov

As my husband and I make our way to football games this fall, we are also making our way through the many Agatha Christie novels featuring Hercule Poirot. We are endeavoring to listen to them in order, but our youngest son, who has become hooked as well, jumped ahead of us. On our latest road trip, the three of us listened to The ABC Murders. The premise was intriguing — Poirot receives letters warning in advance murders to occur. Poirot is behind the game as he investigates and endeavors to determine the killer before he can strike again. This mystery didn’t hold my interest as much as others in the series. I actually dozed off and missed murder #3! We also figured out whodunit, including the motive, prior to Poirot. Have you read this one? What did you think?

UnknownThere’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way though the alphabet. There seems little chance of the murderer being caught — until her makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans . . .

 

 

Are you a classic mystery fan? What’s your favorite element?

 

 

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Road Trip Reads

19 Oct

My husband and I have found that listening to audiobooks makes the miles fly by in an otherwise boring trip. We are hooked on Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot series and are slowly working our way through. The funny little man with the big mustaches and the egg-shaped head has become a big favorite with us. The past two weekends found us traveling to family events and a football game in Mississippi. Here are the three books that accompanied us:

UnknownIn the classic The Big Four, the great Poirot is caught up in a deadly game of international intrigue as he races to uncover the strange mystery of “Number Four.”

This novel was originally published as a series of short stories. The book develops through various cases brought before Poirot and Captain Hastings. They are always just one step behind the 4 masterminds of crime and conspiracy. This one combines the mystery and spy novel genres and was my husband’s favorite.

 

51eWhCRMNPL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_Murder on the Orient Express. Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

With tension mounting, detective Hercule Poirot comes up with not one, but two solutions to the crime.

Poirot uses all of his detection skills in this novel. A fun whodunit in which everyone is suspect, but the means and motives are obscure. This one kept us guessing and puzzling.

UnknownIn the Christie classic Peril at End House, a young woman who has recently survived a series of very close calls appears to be the target of a dedicated killer—and it’s up to Hercule Poirot to save her life.

Poirot and Hastings are back together in this novel with a big twist at the end. We have grown quite fond of the detecting duo, although we are not sure just why Hastings puts up with Poirot. 😉

 

Two for The Road — The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Lord Edgeware Dies

4 Aug

Agatha_ChristieMy husband and I hit the road in July to clean up and close on a condo our youngest son used while in college. Goodbye to an era, but an opportunity for new things. We had plenty of listening time as we traveled across the southeast and chose two Agatha Christie novels to keep us company as the miles rolled by. Here’s my take on them.

 

UnknownThe Mysterious Affair at Styles. In her first published mystery, Agatha Christie introduced readers to her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. When the wealthy mistress of Styles Court is murdered, Poirot is on hand to wade through the confusing clues and long list of suspects! A classic whodunit.

 

 

 

 

 

51c7yF0kdyL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Lord Edgeware Dies. The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and so many other unforgettable characters—brings her entire oeuvre of ingenious whodunits, locked room mysteries, and perplexing puzzles to Harper Paperbacks. When Lord Edgware Dies a most unnatural death, detective Poirot must solve a most confounding conundrum: if the obvious killer, the slain peer’s spiteful wife, didn’t do it, who did?

 

 

 

My Impressions:

Hercule Poirot makes his first appearance in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Captain Hastings calls on WWII refuge Poirot to step in and solve this locked room murder mystery. In Lord Edgeware Dies, some years have passed by, but the duo of Poirot and Hastings are still solving mysteries. Both books are classic Christie with lots of suspects, daunting clues and Poirot and his little gray cells. I really like the relationship between Poirot and Hastings. There is genuine affection and friendship between the men, but Poirot always manages to get a little dig in about Hastings limited abilities. My husband and I had a fighting chance to figure out whodunit, and we were definitely on the right track. But the endings of both novels provided enough surprise for us to say “so that’s how it was done!”. Hugh Fraser is the narrator of both audiobooks and again does an excellent job.

Another successful trip made more enjoyable with the addition of Hercule Poirot! I recommend both books for mystery fans.

Recommended. 

Audience: adults. 

(I purchased both audiobooks from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Review: Mrs. McGinty’s Dead

19 Jun

UnknownMrs. McGinty died from a brutal blow to the back of her head. Suspicion falls immediately on her shifty lodger, James Bentley, whose clothes reveal traces of the victim’s blood and hair. Yet something is amiss: Bentley just doesn’t seem like a murderer.

Could the answer lie in an article clipped from a newspaper two days before the death? With a desperate killer still free, Hercule Poirot will have to stay alive long enough to find out . . . .

 

 

 

mv5bmtu3otyzmzy4nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmdixotiyoa-_v1_sy317_cr80214317_al_Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.

 

My Impressions:

Another car trip called for another Agatha Christie audiobook. This time Hercule Poirot has a lot of suspects for the murder of a charwoman. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead was the perfect book to make the miles fly by.

Mrs. McGinty’s Dead is classic Poirot. The fussy and fastidious little detective is endearing as he suffers in a small English village in the hopes of uncovering whodunit. My husband, son and I had a good time trying to figure out the villain, but in true Christie fashion, the actual solution was a bit obscured. We never would have figured it out on our own. And while I like to think that my powers of detection are sharp from the many hours of mystery reading, this particular mystery was just too hard.

The audio version was very entertaining. Hugh Fraser does a great job of bringing Christie’s characters to life. His timing is impeccable too — we enjoyed a a great many laughs with this novel.

If you are looking for an entertaining and challenging mystery, then consider Mrs. McGinty’s Dead.

Recommended.

Audience: late teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)