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.

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