Skip to main content

Review: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Genre: Detective fiction, murder mystery.
Themes: Murder, secrets. 
Reading challenge: What's in a Name 2016
Challenge book no.: 2/6, a book with a type of furniture in the title.

It's been ages since I read a proper mystery, and this is definitely one of those.  

It begins, like several of Christie's other stories, with a dinner party that ends in murder. 

This is a murder-magnet tale, i.e. one of those Poirot books where he is present, or as good as, when a murder takes place and the police ask him to assist in solving it, but he is still the principal detective (of course). 

What's interesting about this story is that Poirot has no fewer than three Watsons to assist him, or rather: they work together to solve the case, with facts found out by each contributing to Poirot being able to work out the truth. Two of those Watsons, Colonel Race and Superintendent Battle, are also Christie detectives in their own right (the former in Sparkling Cyanide and the latter in The Secret of Chimneys, The Seven Dials Mystery and Towards Zero). The third is the delightful Ariadne Oliver, whom Christie partly based on herself.


I have never hidden my dislike of Hercule Poirot, but here he is almost likeable, or maybe it's just that I haven't read any Poirot novels in several years and have forgotten what it was about him that annoyed me so much. 

The story unfolds with various viewpoints being shown, and Poirot being his pompous self. There are the inevitable red herrings and plot twists, some unexpected, some not so much, and it is, all in all, an enjoyable detective story. However, I have no desire to read it again, but I am keeping it because it's in an omnibus volume with four other Christie novels, two of which are among my favourites of her books.

P.S.
I'm thinking about perhaps setting out to finish reading the Poirot books, but it's just an idea at the moment. For now, I plan to concentrate on the two reading challenges I have entered, and keep at it until they are finished.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…

Stiff – The curious lives of human cadavers

Originally published in November and December 2004, in 4 parts. Book 42 in my first 52 books challenge.

Author: Mary Roach
Year published: 2003
Pages: 303
Genre: Popular science, biology
Where got: amazon.co.uk

Mom, Dad, what happens after we die?

This is a classic question most parents dread having to answer. While this book doesn’t answer the philosophical/theological part of the question – what happens to the soul? - it does claim to contain answers to the biological part, namely: what happens to the body?



Reading progress for Stiff:
Stiff is proving to be an interesting read. Roach writes in a matter-of-fact journalistic style that makes the subject seem less grim than it really is, but she does on occasion become a bit too flippant about it, I guess in an attempt to distance herself. Although she uses humour to ease the grimness, the jokes – which, by the way, are never about the dead, only the living, especially Roach herself – often fall flat. Perhaps it’s just me, but this is a serio…

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.


Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.



Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.



Fold the square diagonally in two. You…