Comfort Read. Means different things to different people. Some like to re-read books, some turn to new books in a favorite genre, while still others might prefer an audiobook or short story. My comfort read go to has been murder mysteries, usually those of the cozy variety. And most especially those of the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie.
I have been reading Dame Christie’s books since my early teens and finished reading them all a long time ago. Since then, other authors have filled this need for me. Authors such as Dorothy L. Sayers, Janet Evanovich, M. C. Beaton, Rex Stout and others have fit the bill adequately. But while they are all very good, nothing beats, for me, Dame Agatha Christie.
Through the years since I finished her novels, I have now and then randomly re-read some of them. Early this year though, I decided to read them all again in order of publication. Here are some thoughts on the first three:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Set in the summer of 1917, the story follows the war-wounded Hastings to the Styles St. Mary estate of his friend John Cavendish. The Cavendish household is wrought with tension due to the marriage of John’s widowed mother to a suspicious younger man. In the village, Hastings runs into his old friend Hercule Poirot and, when the estate’s trouble turns deadly, the friends unite to solve a most baffling case.
“Not only is this her first published novel but it also marks the debut of her most famous character, Hercule Poirot. The murder here occurs from one of Christie’s favorite methods, poisoning. Her talent for plotting is evident, from the beginning, fully formed!”
The Secret Adversary (1922)
Investigating the case of a woman who has been missing for five years, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford uncover just enough information to solve the mystery and put their own lives in jeopardy.
“Because I figured out the “whodunnit” early on and the characterization and dialogue were very melodramatic, this was a less satisfying read. But I still enjoyed the story which introduces the sleuthing couple, Tommy and Tuppence. Looking forward to their next adventure”
The Murder on the Links (1923)
An urgent cry for help brings Hercule Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face down in a shallow grave on a golf course. But why is the dead man wearing an overcoat that is too big for him? And for whom was the impassioned love letter in the pocket? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.…
“I like this one a lot; mainly because there is a lot of dialogue between Poirot and sidekick Hastings about the particulars of the case as it develops. It is also very nicely plotted. Recommended to readers who enjoy the Holmes/Watson dynamic of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books.”
I had not realized , when I decided to do the re-read, but this year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Dame Christie’s first book. To read more about her and all of her creations please visit agathachristie.com.
Hope you are finding your own comfort reads!
Please tell us about them in the comments.
(All summaries from the publishers. All titles are available for download in both ebook and audiobook format from Syosset Public Library through Hoopla, using your library card.)
-posted by Sonia, Reference Services