Monday, December 11, 2017

A mystery throwback...or throwaway

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle, #1)The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rather silly at times - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not - The Secret of Chimneys is not one of Agatha Christie's finest works. It is, however, an enjoyable enough read for mystery fans who like a throwback.

When a rather dashing young drifter accepts a friend's job on the prospect of quick cash, he gets himself into a deep bit of doo-doo. This murder mystery amongst the upper classes draws in political intrigue at a lord's estate. A random and playfully portrayed cast of characters populate the novel and give it a life that elevates it above the serviceable plot.

It was interesting to read a Christie book with a detective other than Poirot. Superintendent Battle does not figure as prominently in the story as Poirot usually does and Battle doesn't have half the charisma of the diminutive Belgian. The aforementioned dashing young drifter does most of the heavy lifting in that regard, and in this way the book reminded me of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey series, the first book of which came out two years before The Secret of Chimneys. Hm, very suspicious...

With all the evidence laid out before us, I would deduce that what we have here is a perfectly fine read and anyone who's already a fan of Christie's will enjoy it, so I should think.

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