Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dame Agatha IV

The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side: Miss Marple  
★ ★ ★ ★

This was published as a book and in an anthology..... The story takes place in the same house as "The Body in the Library", but for some reason in the anthology this story is first....

Marina Gregg (manic-depressive movie star) and her husband Jason "Jinks" Rudd (famous director) purchase the old Victorian manor Gossington Hall from Dolly Bantry.  On the other side of St. Mary Mead is a new "development" where lives Heather Badcock who once many years ago had snuck out of her sick bed to meet Marina Gregg and obtain Marina's autograph.....

Heather is beside herself w/ happiness when she finds out that Marina has moved back into town and is having an open house fete to meet & greet her new neighbors....   While Marina is greeting Heather, Heather recounts her story of the day she first met Marina... Marina freezes and we are told repeatedly she resembles Tennyson's Lady Shalott: 

"Out flew the web and floated wide—
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me", cried
The Lady of Shalott."

During the reception Marina & Heather are drinking daiquiris when Heather's drink is spilled... Marina kindly offers her drink to Heather and Heather succumbs to a poison that was in Marina's drink. 

In the meantime Marina is besieged by threats and another attempt of poisoning.....  There are two other murders, Marina's secretary & the Butler (who did not do it), and the disappearance of a young woman who was working the fete and saw what really happened.

The basis of this story is taken from a real life event: "Christie's inspiration for the motive likely came from an incident in the real-life of American film star Gene Tierney. In June 1943, while pregnant with her first daughter, Tierney contracted German measles during her only appearance at the Hollywood Canteen. Due to Tierney's illness, her daughter was born deaf, partially blind with cataracts, and severely developmentally disabled. Some time after the tragedy surrounding her daughter's birth, the actress learned from a fan who approached her for an autograph at a tennis party that the woman (who was then a member of the women's branch of the Marine Corps) had sneaked out of quarantine while sick with German measles to meet Tierney at her only Hollywood Canteen appearance. In her autobiography, Tierney related that after the woman had recounted her story, she just stared at her silently, then turned and walked away. She wrote, "After that I didn't care whether ever again I was anyone's favourite actress."[citation needed]" 



Nemesis: Miss Marple
★ ★ ★ ★

In a sequel to "The Caribbean Mystery"; Miss Marple receives a letter from Mr Rafiel (now deceased) asking her to accept a quest for justice, but does not tell her what she will be doing nor does he give her any clues, but assuring her that there will be at least one Guardian Angel about looking after her safety.

His subsequent letter sends her on a Historic Home & Garden tour where she meets a former headmistress of an acclaimed all girls school who is on a pilgrimage to make peace with the murder of a former student....  Mr. Rafiel also has arranged for Miss Marple to stay with "Three Weird Sisters" in a decaying manor, whom were friends w/ Mr. Rafiel and the guardians of the young murdered woman.

The young murdered woman was to marry via elopment Mr Rafiel's troubled (bad seed) son, but she never showed up and the young man was put away in a mental prison for the murder of the young woman....

At the same time of the first murder another young woman goes missing... and as Miss Marple investigates the Headmistress is crushed while hiking by a boulder....  On her deathbed, the Headmistress talks to Miss Marple and gives her more clues...

I liked the mystery just fine, I figured out the killer & the details of the victims....  I did not care for the 2nd to last chapter which consisted of Miss Marple's overly long & detailed explanation of the murder, who did it, why, and how she figured it all out. In fact I skipped most of it!

What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw: Miss Marple

Or: "The 4:50 From Paddington"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

While the train that is taking her to visit her friend Miss Marple slows & stops at a curve.... another train in passing also slows & stops at the same curve... Mrs McGillicuddy looks out and sees a man strangling a woman.....  Although she reports it to the porter & train station, no one believes her.  Miss Marple believes her and reports it to the police.... but not only is there no report of a missing/murdered woman... one can find a body.

Her insatiable curiosity aroused, Miss Marple makes discreet inquiries... maps of the train lines, train timetables, what is on that piece of land, etc.  Then Miss Marple hires Miss Lucy (a most efficient & sought after) to work at the manor (snoop around the grounds) where the train lines curve.

Lucy is happily ensconced working for the Crackenthorp family: Luther (patriarch & tightwad); Emma (his devoted daughter); Brian Easterly (son-in-law & widower); sons Harold (bad business deals), Alfred (shady character), & Cedric (laid back artist); and a good-natured grand-son & his school chum Stoddart-West (help Lucy search for clues).  The good Doctor has eyes for Emma...

The murdered woman, soon found by Lucy, is hidden away in an old sarcophagus in the now disused long barn and is believed to be Martine, a French woman who may or may have not been married to the Crackenthorp eldest son (killed in WWII)....

All along during family gatherings there have been instances of poisonings and now both Alfred & Harold succumb....... While the real Martine (now Stoddart-West) shows up to clear her name......

Very well thought out plot, good red herrings, a fine (but understated) romance, and strong likable women characters.

The Labours of Hercules: M. Poirot
★ ★ ★

M. Hercule Poirot is sitting in conversation w/ Dr. Burton and they are discussing names. Dr. Burton mentions that M. Poirot does not seem to "fit" his name but M. Poirot assures the Dr. that he, Hercule Poirot, is indeed of great mental & detecting strenght. In order to prove that he is indeed capable of living up to his name, M. Poirot takes on twelve feats of detective work that correspond to the twelve labors of Hercules:

The Nemean Lion: There is a series of dognappings, in the form of Pekingese of rich idle women. The women pay the ransom without telling their husbands for fear the dogs will be harmed/killed.

The Lernean Hydra: The wife of a chemist has died and someone is spreading rumors that she was poisoned.... M. Poirot goes about the task of not only stopping the rumors but uncovering the actual murderer as well.

The Arcadian Deer: A young man falls in love, only to have his new love disappear without a trace....  People are not whom they seem and M. Poirot is enlisted to find the missing love.

The Erymanthian Boar: On a short holiday in Switzerland, M. Poirot boards a funicular to the top of a mountain... He is entreated to stay and help the police capture an infamous gangster

The Augean Stables: A seemingly upright member of Parliament is about to be exposed for dirty politics & dealings. M. Poirot is hired to clean up the mess by dealing w/ the scandal mongering paper that plans on exposing the dirt.

The Stymphalian Birds: While on holiday M. Poirot becomes involved with helping Harold Waring to untangle a fatality.... Two ugly sisters whom are thought to bring doom are staying at the hotel and seem to cross Harold's path too often for his comfort....  A young woman & her jealous husband fight and he dies..... or does he?

The Cretan Bull: A young man is about to marry a young woman he grew up with, but he then begins to wake up in the mornings covered w/ blood, bloody knives, and dead animals being found throughout the village & estate.  He is sure that he suffers from a hereditary madness and has broken off his engagement....  M. Poirot is called upon by the fiancee of the young man in order to get to the bottom of the madness.

The Horse of Diomedes: After an all night party, a young man comes across a young woman (one of 4 daughters of a General living out in the country) in drugged distress and wants to help her before she becomes addicted. M. Poirot goes out to the country in order to find who is supplying the young people w/ cocaine & inducing their addiction.... 

The Girdle of Hyppolita: M. Poirot is called upon to find a missing Rubens, stolen in broad daylight from a museum. A schoolgirl on a train vanishes in mid-travel to a well known Girls' art academy and then reappears. A rather ugly painting arrives as a gift to the Headmistress in the girl's luggage... M. Poirot is the one to untangle the mystery.

The Flock of Geryon: A religious cult has ensnared older women who are all well off.... When they die (far from the cult in their own homes) no one thinks it odd, but their estates are left to the cult.  A woman seeking to help her ensnared friend goes undercover w/ the help & guidance of M. Poirot.

The Apple of Hesperides: A valuable gold chalice once belonging to the Borgia family has seemingly disappeared in a burglary after being sold (but not delivered). The new owner will not file a claim, as once he is paid by the insurance company,the chalice then is no longer his property. M. Poirot is entrusted to locate the missing chalice and return it.   

The Capture of Cerberus: A famous & beautiful jewel thief (Russian Countess Vera Rossakoff) with whom M. Poirot had previously become enchanted crosses his path on the stairs of the subway....  She invites him to visit her in "Hell".....  Hell, being a new nightclub based on legends & lore w/ a huge black dog named Cerberus guarding the door....   Again there are jewels involved, being swapped out for paste and drugs.....


Lord Edgware Dies: M. Poirot
★ ★

Or: "Thirteen at Dinner"

American actress Jane Wilkinson (Lady Edgware) is at the theater, M.Poirot is sitting in front of her, watching a young actress, Carlotta Adams, imitate her, as soon as the actress is finished, Jane gives her an excellent round of applause.....

Later at dinner Jane loudly announces to the room of diners (M. Poirot being one of them) that she will kill her husband, Lord Edgware, and she proceeds to tell everyone in which manner....  Upon espying M. Poirot, Lady Edgware, leaves her dinner companions & invites M. Poirot up to her room.  Once there she begs M. Poirot to take on her case, entreating Lord Edgware to agree to a divorce so that she may marry again.

Originally, Jane had planned to marry her co-star Bryan Martin, but now she is planning on marrying Duke Merton....

Upon discreetly visiting Lord Edgware, M. Poirot is informed that his errand was for naught, as Lord Edgware had indeed agreed to the divorce 6 months previously and what is more notified his wife Jane of his decision via post.

A dinner party for those on the rise and in need of being in favor with the right people is given.... Originally Jane had opted out of attending, but at the last minute changed her mind. Her dinner partner, not knowing did not attend and there were 13 in attendance at dinner.

During the dinner Jane receives a mysterious phone call..... but is simultaneously seen in Lord Edgware's home, going into his study by both the butler & Lord Edgware's secretary.....

In the course of M. Poirot's investigation of the murder, two other people are murdered.....

Meh... I didn't like the characters and the story seemed to be lacking something.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dame Agatha III

Hercule Poirot's Christmas: M. Poirot
AKA: Murder for Christmas A Holiday for Murder

★ ★ ★

Oh boy, another "Locked Door" murder featuring a mean old man whose family hates him, all with motives for murder....... I think I'm getting smarter, I figured this one out immediately........

So let's see this mean old man (mom) invites his entire family home for Christmas; including his prodigal son and granddaughter. A son of the mom's friend from good-old-days-gone-by also turns up..... There is a whole lot of family tension & angst going around not only from past family rifts, but the mom has called in his lawyer in order to change his will.....

Not everyone is whom they appear to be....  Shortly after christmas eve dinner there is a huge crash and a blood curdling scream....  Everyone rushes up to the mom's room, only to find it locked. When the door is broken down the mom is lying in "an awful lot" of blood w/ his throat cut and most all of the furniture toppled over as if there was a fight.

The characters were not particularly likeable....  The mom had a very interesting attitude..... mainly he just wanted his family to stand up for themselves, especially against his bullying ways and resented that most of his offspring preferred to cower before him.

And Then There Were None (No Detective)

AKA: "Ten Little Indians" & "Ten Little Niggers"

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ten people are invited to Soldier Island by Una, U.N. Owen....  All have been guilty of some form of murder but in one manner or another have escaped punishment by the law.  

Each has this little poem in their bedrooms:
"Ten Little Soldier Boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine  Little Soldier Boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight  Little Soldier Boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven Little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six  Little Soldier Boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five Little Soldier Boys going in for law; One got into Chancery and then there were four.

Four Little Soldier Boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three Little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two Little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun; One got Frizzled up and then there was One.

One  Little Soldier Boys left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none."

One by one they begin to die, and as they do; one by one the 10 toy soldiers in the table's centerpiece begin to disappear......

There are two major clues as to "who-done-it"...... but to tell you the clues would also tell you who the murderer was.....

The murderers were not particularly likeable people... so I'd say they all ended up w/ their just desserts....
Mystery of the Blue Train: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★

Katherine Grey, the enigmatic young woman of the memorable eyes, has left her post of caregiver (the old woman died leaving Katherine well off) in St. Mary Mead (No Marple) and is bound for Nice on The Blue Train to visit her money hungry cousin.....

Lady Ruth Kettering (an American Heiress) is about to divorce her husband (at the behest of her father) and meet her gigolo of a lover in Nice, she too is aboard the Blue Train.....  Lady Ruth is carrying the Former Tsarina's rubies and many people are very aware of that fact.  In a moment of blue funk, Ruth befriends Katherine and unburdens herself.....

Ruth's gigolo, her husband, her husband's discarded mistress are also on the train.......  All want Ruth's money and or the rubies....  Just outside Gare de Lyon, Ruth is found in her compartment strangled to death with a bashed in face.... 

There is no lack of suspects...... and there are the mysterious shadowers of the rubies......

Between a thoughtful & astute Miss Grey and Monsieur Poirot Ruth's murderer is caught and the rubies discretely go on to their  next owner.
Cat Among the Pigeons: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★

A Crown Prince who has brought Democracy to his country & his pilot (a chum from school days) are forced to flee the country....  Their plane is found downed in the mountains and a thorough search is made for the sparkling "insurance"..... but the pilot was seen hiding them in order to get them out of the country lest they fall into the wrong hands.......

At an elite girls school in England the term has just begun and there is a new sports mistress, French mistress, school secretary, & gardner.....  Dropping her daughter off at school a former employee of the CID sees someone from the past and as she tells the Headmistress (who is about to retire & name her successor), who the person from her espionage days is, they are interrupted by another mother in midst of a binge seeking to bring her daughters home.

Then the sports mistress is murdered in the new sports pavillion, as is the French mistress, and the to be successor.....  Homes are ransacked, the cousin of the Prince is kidnapped, and a frightened little girl runs to M. Hercule Poirot.

Very interesting, I would have liked it to be a bit longer, even though in some places it was difficult for me to tell who was speaking to whom...

And once again, Dame Agatha showed her unending prejudice; this time it was of the two Italian school girls, whom she dedicated a paragraph to in order to refer to them as "Eye-Ties", and then there was nothing more in the book about them... otherwise it was a very enjoyable story.
Murder on the Orient Express: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★

AKA: "Murder in the Calais Coach"

Although I remembered "who done it"......  I still enjoyed reading this story again, mostly because I didn't remember much of anything else.  

A man on the train to France asks Poirot for his help. He has received a threatening letter and is much afraid for his life.... Although the man is impeccable in speech, manner, & presentation, he has evil in his eyes and there is something deep reflected that causes M. Poirot to turn him down. 

Although is is late in the season, for some reason the train is unusually full (even the stand-by compartment saved for the railway company) and for the first few stops M. Poirot has to share a berth.....  When another coach has been added, M. Poirot is moved to the number 1 compartment, directly next to the man who had unsuccessfully solicited M. Poirot's help.

Along in the third night, M. Poirot hears voices, sees a mysterious woman, hears much commotion.... and finds that the man with the evil in his eyes has been murdered... Stabbed 12 times... with several of the wounds not made by the same hand.

Everyone has an alibi, no one seems to have a motive.... until M. Poirot ascertains the murdered man's true identity.....

Oh good old Bigoted Agatha.... she sure hated Italians.... and once again goes off on a rant about them....  Amazing, really; and for this reason, I cut off a star!
By the Pricking of My Thumbs: Tommy & Tuppence

★ ★ ★

"By the pricking of my thumbs...... Something wicked this way comes"

Well now that's odd, because the book does not have Miss Marple in it, but the movie does......  Sigh.

Tommy & Tuppence are a modern couple who have grown older and are retired.....   Tommy worked for the spy network" and Tuppence would always insert herself into his business (nosy Parker).

In this story they are off to visit Tommy's acerbic Aunt Ada who is staying in a home for elderly women....   Aunt Ada can not stand Tuppence so Tuppence goes off to sit in the "lounge" where she meets elderly Mrs. Lancaster who asks Tuppence: "Was it your child?"

A few weeks pass and Aunt Ada has died as has another older woman, neither of whom were "sick" or predisposed.  In Aunt Ada's room Tuppence comes upon a painting that hadn't been there before, which was given to Aunt Ada by Mrs. Lancaster. It is view of a house by a canal w/ a humpback bridge (the house which Tuppence has seen before) and Tuppence wants to give it back to Mrs. Lancaster......

Unfortunately Mrs. Lancaster is no longer in the home, she has been moved away......  Thus begins the mystery of the: painting; house by the canal; dead elderly women; murdered child; criminal ring......

All in all this was quite a good story, what I didn't like was Tuppence's endless blathering chatter.....  For someone as keen as a "terrier" she comes off quite often as rather mindless. Minus 1 star.
The Body in the Library: Miss Marple 

★ ★ 

Ok; another slur against Italians.....  makes me wonder if her books sold well in Italy!

Let's see Mrs. Colonel Bantry are woken up by a hysterical maid...  something about there being "A Body in the Library".... When Dolly Bantry goes down to the library to check on the hysterics, yes indeed there is the body of a strangled young woman in a white spangled evening dress in the library.....

Miss Marple,a close friend of Mrs. Bantry, is called in immediately to nose around (investigate)......  

They find out from the police that the body seems to be that of Ruby Keene, a dancer at the local hotel; and the soon to be adopted ward of Mr. Conway Jefferson, and invalid whose family perished in an accident, and who is being taken care of by his son-in-law & daughter-in-law.

Not much afterwards a Girl Guide come up missing and it seems as if it her her that is found in the charred remains of a local's car.

Almost 1/2 way through Miss Marple announces to Dolly Bantry that she knows who did it.....  But she isn't going to tell, as there are other loose ends to tie up & need for proof positive.

I found this to be a rather benign story with flat characters, none of whom I cared about......  This could have been so much more appealing & interesting, but it seems as if Christie was writing just to be writing.

Dame Agatha II

Dead Man's Folly: M. Poirot  
★ ★ 

The book began w/ Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, the famous crime novelist, who is throwing a "Murder Fete" in which the original "victim" has been changed by circuitous request of an unknown person, calling M. Poirot asking for his help in preventing a murder....  Her intuition has told her that there will be a murder at the Fete she has planned, but she can't say whom or when or why.

A young girl (who is playing the victim at the fete) is really murdered it is found that she knew something she should not have... there are in succession the disappearance of the estate owner's wife and the murder of the ferryman (who also knew too much).

The former owner of the estate (who now lives in the front lodge), knows exactly what is going on, but feigns ignorance......

Let's see..... I didn't like the characters, they were flat & uninteresting, one never got to know most of them.... I didn't/couldn't really follow the clues... but I did know immediately where the body was buried, although I didn't know whose body it was. 

I also didn't like was all the self-talk & supposition of theories by M. Poirot & the police, I found it (to use one of Christie's favorite words) dull, dry, and most assuredly boring.
Death in the Clouds: M. Poirot  

★ ★ ★ ★

Also titled: Death in the Air

Imaging Hercule sleeping through a murder! Suffering from air-sickness, indeed he did.... 

Upon landing in London on a trip back from France, Madame Giselle, a famous & highly reputable Parisienne money lender is found to be dead in her seat of an apparent wasp sting, but what M. Poirot finds is a poisoned thorn w/ wasp colored fluff on the end.....

There were less than a dozen people on the flight, several of whom had dealings with Mdme. Giselle, and with that group a few who did not want to pay her back.  Mdme Giselle had her ways, as collateral she collected "information" on her clients, information that they would loathe to be known.  

Unfortunately upon her death, Le Surete was loathe to find that Mdme. Giselle's maid (per previous instructions) burned all of Mdme. Giselle's moneylending records and was not able to provide any information regarding possible enemies. However, left behind (quite by accident) was Mdme. Giselle's daily black book which contained appointments in code, this the maid handed over to M. Poirot....

I was not able to decipher the clues, so I was unable to figure out who murdered Mdme. Giselle. But there were many with motive and few if any had opportunity.... Afterall it was in a small enclosed space, with the weapon of choice a blowpipe thorn.

Yes, there was one mention of prejudice, a few Red Herrings, an overlooked passenger, and even a romance (that M. Poirot helped along).  But what I found unbelievable was the type of poison used.... Boomslang venom, really? That particular venom is not only very uncommon, but up until the very end, not one of the suspects seemed to have had access to it.
Evil Under the Sun: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★

From the inside flap: "Young actress Arlena Stuart Marshall is brutally strangled on the cliffs (beach) of a seaside resort. Each of the guests at the Jolly Roger Hotel has a compelling motive, including Arlena's brand new husband (Kenneth Marshall), who seems to be the only man on the island not utterly distracted by her beauty. It is obvious to all that Patrick Redfern was violently smitten, much to the the distress of his own wife (Christine). And the women hotel guests saw the frivolous and flirtatious starlet in a rather different light. Only Hercule Poirot, who has come to the Jolly Roger for some much needed relaxation can sift through the murderous secrets and macabre clues to unravel the mystery at this secluded playground by the sea."

Included in the cast of characters are; Arlena's step-daughter Linda (whom she treats poorly & in return much hated), Rosamund Darnley (Arlena's husband's childhood friend whom still cares for him), Mr. & Mrs Gardner (American tourists), Major Barry (retired & gossip), Miss Emily Brewster (a curious but athletic spinster), Reverend Lane (an over zealous preacher, very much concerned with evil & women), and Horace Blatt (a self made man of dubious character).

One fated morning Arlena takes off alone (asking M. Poirot to not tell anyone where she has gone...but he knows she is set to meet someone), Christine and Linda go off to sit on the beach & sketch..... Patrick sets off w/ Miss Brewster for a row about the island and they come across the strangled Arlena.

Not only is there the murder down on the cove at the Jolly Roger (named for Captain Roger Angmering), there is blackmail, a boat w/ suspicious red sails, the smuggling of drugs, and the murder of a young woman a year previous.....

All this ties up quite neatly at the end, as at the end is when most of the clues & red herrings are revealed.
Dumb Witness: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★

Also known as "Poirot Loses a Client".

You know, I just realised that many of Christie's are remarkably the same from book to book, as are the settings & circumstances..... as well as her prejudices. This time it was Greeks, Turks, & Argentines, which was mentioned more than once....  So I knocked off a star.

Aside from my little rant, I enjoyed the story. Aunt Emily is in her 70's and is not so well of health but is still as sharp as a tack and nobody's fool. She is the survivor of 3 sisters and a brother, all who lived well under their means, as does Aunt Emily.

Aunt Emily's two nieces, their husband & fiancee, and nephew come to visit, all looking for a handout.  Emily knowing that they should all still have money from their previous inheritance denies them all.

Aunt Emily's dog, Bob, is a very intelligent terrier and is very good at playing ball. He likes to take his ball to the top of the stairs and push it down to whomever is at the bottom... when they toss it back up to Bab, he catches it and tosses it back down.  

One evening close to Easter, Bob leaves his ball at the top of the stairs and Aunt Emily takes a tumble head first..... It is at this point she changes her will and writes to M. Poirot intimating she is in danger and requests his help......  It is several months later after Aunt Emily's family has once again visited (asking for money) and she falls ill and dies that M. Poirot receives her letter.

Suspects include: Nephew Charles (a bounder & a cad), Niece Natalie (a fast & loose woman who loves the finer things in life), Niece Bella (a dull woman & good mother married to the "Greek"), the Greek (a doctor of a charming & jovial nature), and Minnie (the most current of a long line of "spinster" companions).

Captain Hastings is along to help M. Poirot, but honestly, he is a right old ass and as obtuse as ever.  

I liked the story, I especially like Bob, and I "got" the clue as to who done it.
N or M: Tommy & Tuppence

★ ★ ★

WW II, Tommy &; Tuppence are older & retired.... bored at home, wanting something to work on when a mystery from the home office turns up.....  The man in charge wants to exclude Tuppence, so she "conveniently leaves" to visit a friend who has just rang-her-up.   In her absence Tommy is asked to help decipher a cryptic message that a dying agent passed on to them......  "N or M...  Sans Souci".  Upon discussion it is surmised that there is a German agent; either the infamous N or M in San Souci and so Tommy is sent to uncover and bring down the spy.

In San Souci... Tommy comes to stay in a respectable guest house and makes a fast acquaintance w/ Mrs. Blenkinsop (turns out to be Tuppence) and together they unravel the mystery of N or M.

The clues are there and I must say that I am delighted that more & more often I am able to figure out "who done it", as I have never been able to unravel a Christie until now.   Yes there was her blatant bigotry, right at the beginning about "Red Indians; The only good Indian is a.... Indian", but at least she didn't go on & on about that.....

This was easy to read and a bit of a drag...... not much action or murder until towards the end.....  Mostly supposition & snooping around....
At Bertram's Hotel: Miss Marple

★ ★ ★ ★

Bertram's Hotel is the paragon of good taste times gone by. At Bertram's Hotel all is "perfect" and the clientele is of the most upper class. At Bertram's Hotel one can satisfy their memories and their need for nostalgia. At Bertram's Hotel many people are recognized as friends from days past, but may not actually be.  At Bertram's Hotel all is not what it seems.........

Miss Marple is sent on a vacation by her niece.... a fortnight at Bertram's Hotel.  Sitting with Lady Selina Hazey, a friend from days gone by, it is innocently pointed out to Miss Marple that many people whom appear to be acquaintances from days past are not whom they appear to be and marked as as aging mind.

Other guests of the hotel include: Beth Sedwick (a famous adventuress), Elvira Blake (Bess's daughter, whom Bess gave up 2 weeks after her birth), Colonel Luscombe (Elvira's legal guardian), and Canon Pennyfather (who suffers from frequent memory lapses).  Then there are: Hotel Commissionaire Michael "Mickey" Gorman (Bess's first husband/Elvira's "unknown" father), Ladislaus Malinowski (a famous race car driver, Bess's former lover & Elvira's secret fiancee), Henree (the concierge who makes everyone's stay perfect to the last detail), and Chief Inspector "Father" Davy (who happens to believe everything is not quite as it seems at Bertram's Hotel).

Everything is going smoothly until the disappearance of Canon Pennyfather who never showed up to the conference in Lucerne that he was scheduled to attend and the murder of Mickey Gorman......

This was a very interesting plot and it was well written.....
A Caribbean Mystery: Miss Marple

★ ★ ★ ★

I liked this, actually.... The clues were right there in the open, with a few Red Herrings, one of a second murderer on the island.

Tim & Molly have recently purchased an island retreat from an older well liked & respected couple.....  Miss Marple is there on vacation, a gift from her nephew.....  She is listening to the old braggart Major Palgrave, reliving his past heroics & telling Miss Marple in a quite loud voice of a murderer he has come cross.....  As he begins to show Miss Marple  the photo, he suddenly startles and blanches....

Later Major Palgrave is found murdered by overdose of blood pressure medicine....  But the Major did not suffer from any type of illness, so Miss Marple begins to investigate....

Meanwhile, Molly seems to be having blackouts & sever depression, leading to an attempt of suicide.......  Then another murder takes place, a woman who looks very much Like Molly....

Interesting, the characters were interesting, especially the rich old man who takes a keen interest in Miss Marple when he learns how deceiving her looks are....

No slurs against Italians only Black people!  My, my, my aren't we progressive......