The Man in the Brown Suit

By Agatha Christie

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marissa greenwald
This is one of Agatha Christie's best stand alone novels - part mystery, part thriller and part espionage story - which takes us from a London tube station to revolution in Africa. It begins with Anne Beddingfeld, the daughter of a professor who longs for adventure. She spends her day trying to placate creditors and longing to 'step out' with a young man. When her father dies, she takes an opportunity to go to London, where, quite by chance, she witnesses the death of a young man at a tube station. Finding a piece of paper dropped by the 'doctor' at the scene, she believes the death to be linked to that of the murder of a young woman at the house of Sir Eustace Pedlar. With only eighty five pounds to her name, her deductions ignored by the police, she boards a ship bound for South Africa. On board she meets not only Sir Eustace Pedlar but his secretary Guy Pagett, the society beauty Suzanne Blair, the enigmatic Colonel Race and the attractive Harry Rayburn. If she can find out who the man in the brown suit is, seen leaving Sir Pedlar's house shortly after the murder, she hopes for a job on the Daily Budget and life as a journalist.

What follows is more of an adventure than the enterprising Anne could ever have dreamed of when she was tucked away in the quiet countryside. Some of the people Anne meets are certainly not who they appear to be and, before events have sorted themselves out, she will be kidnapped, nearly murdered (more than once!), face criminal gangs, find love and unearth the mysterious 'Colonel'. An excellent introduction to Christie if you haven't tried her books before. Sit back, relax and let the best mystery writer who ever put pen to paper take you on an adventure...
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lyndsay
A fun, droll adventure elevated by the wit of its plucky heroine. Agatha Christie's thrillers aren't as beloved as her mysteries, but the author's intricate plots with their well-disguised twists are just as enjoyable in this format. (This particular novel even features a proto-version of the narrative device that would win her such acclaim two years later in her mystery The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.) I don't know that I'd recommend a book like this to someone just starting to read Christie, but it's a great overlooked gem for fans of her detective stories.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
syd markle
Once in a while, to break up Poirot and Marple's murder solving stranglehold, Agatha Christie would usher in a new protagonist. And I'll say it's darn refreshing to read about a Christie shamus who isn't a daintily mustached Belgian or an unassuming old lady with a piercing wit. Me, I've always vastly preferred Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, that fun-loving and much younger detecting couple. And then Agatha Christie also wrote those mysteries that featured non-series, one time only sleuths. Case in point, THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT with its central character, the lovely and adventurous Anne Beddingfeld.

Her work-obsessed anthropologist father just passed away, Anne finds herself a suddenly independent young woman, released from the doldrums. Far from the retiring or as yet the marrying sort, Anne stands at a crossroad and opts for adventure... and stumbles across it when she witnesses a horrifying demise at the London tube station. When the tube accident becomes linked to a foreign lady's brutal murder, a thrilled Anne Beddingfeld willingly turns detective.

Anne's unflagging clue-chasing (galvanized by suspicions raised by a whiff of mothballs) leads her onboard a South Africa-bound luxury liner, a sea voyage on which she becomes embroiled in espionage and skullduggery and which sees her life imperiled. The opening chapter informs us of a ruthless criminal mastermind styling himself "the Colonel," and anticipation builds up once we realize that the writer is setting up our young, newly-orphaned miss to match wits against such a formidable foe.

THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT was a contemporary work when it was first published in 1924, but today can be read as a fun period thriller. But this isn't your typical Agatha Christie fare. In content, it has more in common with a thriller than a mystery, more so Tommy & Tuppence in THE SECRET ADVERSARY than any of the cerebral Poirot/Marple whodunits. And unlike Poirot and Marple - and this is understandable - Anne Beddingfeld, bright young thing, eagerly dabbles in a tempestuous romance. So, if you're looking for an Agatha Christie book that's a bit out of the norm, take a chance on THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT, in which there is no scarcity of suspects. Who is "the Colonel?" Is it, in fact, the dashing colonel who may or may not work for British Intelligence? Is it one of the two snooty male secretaries? Is it that malicious and sneaky reverend? Or the desperate fugitive from justice whom the news rags are calling "the Man in the Brown Suit"?

To spice things up even more, there's a sinister master of disguise skulking about. And stolen loot in the shape of rough diamonds. Anne Beddingfeld, undaunted adventuress, exhibits pluck and marbles and resourcefulness. She frequently gets in over her head, except that she then routinely extricates herself from these treacherous scrapes (although, here and there, luck or a gallant rescuer does step in). And, yes, she does eventually figure out who "the Colonel" really is. Christie makes sneaky use of a narrative device to try to fool the reader, but I'd eaten my Wheaties when I picked up this book, so I caught on. But is it wrong to say that I ended up liking the head villain much more so than Anne's romantic interest who happens to be this humorless block, I mean, bloke?

For Christie-philes, note that this is the first appearance of Colonel Race, who would appear in three more Christie novels: CARDS ON THE TABLE, DEATH ON THE NILE, and SPARKLING CYANIDE.
The Secret Adversary :: Buckle My Shoe (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) :: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries) - The Body in the Library :: Sparkling Cyanide :: The A. B. C. Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
iamwaj alfawaz
Upon rereading this books (some ten years after initially doing so) I had vague recollections of who the "bad guy" was, how some of the arcs played out, and that I loved the book!
Even though I remembered the gist of who was good and who was bad, I was still questioning myself, "Wait, *IS* that character the bad one?" as I reread. But, in true Christie fashion, she explains it all so clearly by the end that I find myself wondering how I missed the clues early on.

This is one of my favorite Christie books!
I love our main character, Anne. She's spunky, intelligent, clever, and fearless. But she's also nice and sometimes a bit innocent about what she's getting herself involved in. And she's not above falling in love (albeit perhaps a bit too quickly).
Our other main character, Sir Eustace Pedler, is enjoyable in his own right! Snippets of his diary are peppered throughout the tale, and he's such an entertaining, whiny, funny character, that his dynamic really adds to the story.

Another aspect that helps make this book so delightful (aside from it's great mystery, and it's main setting in Africa) is that it's one of the more romantic Christie mysteries. Now, could some of the romantic scenes be viewed as a bit overdramatic? Yes. Did I care? Somehow, no! For whatever reason the drama works here, and I simply adored it!

The only "negative" is that there are some rather (as we would see them now) backward ideas about women's relationships to men. It's interesting, because it seems to paint the idea that women want to be subservient to men, but in the way Christie drew the characters, I got the sense Anne would be anything but! Perhaps it was reflective of the state of the world at the time, the changes that were occurring. But, whatever the reason, there are only a few references to this, and weren't enough to deter my enjoyment of the characters overall.

There's a delightful cast of characters, as is usual for Chrisite. And I was pleased that this mystery (while it did involve a few deaths) wasn't gruesome or detailed. More of a "who dunnit" solved by place, access, and character.

It was one of my favorite Christie tales ten years ago. And it still is!
I might not wait ten years to read it again :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brad duncan
In some ways the story is clichéd, from the spunky girl lead character, an orphan and penniless, no less, to the remarkable coincidence of witnessing a death and finding a mysterious dropped note. What makes the story great is the humor, the vivid settings, and the straightforward, honest charm of the youthful narrator character. This is a readable, witty, engaging mystery, an excellent standalone Christie mystery. I sometimes wonder if Christie deliberately picked a very standard plotline and decided to show what she could do with it, playfully. I read this first at the age of 15, and I think that is the best age to read it.. Hardcore mystery readers might blow it off, but young Anglophiles will delight in the optimism, charm, and humor of this little mystery.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
eam26
In many ways this was a very enjoyable read. I felt there were too many red herrings and it was a little confusing. I read a bit each night and found myself having to back track a lot.
I also found the whole thing a bit dated. I love period stuff,but this heroine was just a bit weak. I guess I just didn't like some of the characters. It was as if they weren't fully drawn out. Just my opinion, but I think I like Christie's serials better. More emphasis can be given the crime/investigations as the characters are already so well known.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
michael huen
The Man in the Brown Suit is an early (1924) novel by Dame Agatha Christie the Queen of Crime. It is not a country weekend murder mystery solved in a drawing room. Instead it is a wild story of diamonds in South Africa; young love and murder.
The heroine is Anne Beddingfeld who has spent years assisting her anthropolgist father with his many explorations in exotic locales throughout the earth. The father dies of double pneumonia. Anne goes to live with
her father's former lawyer and his dowdy wife. The couple are nice to Anne but she is bored with middle class life in London. One day Anne is walking to a tube station when she sees a stranger fall backward and onto the tracks where he is electrocuted on the rails. She also sees a man (who she assumes to be a doctor) clad in a brown suit pronounce the unfortunate man dead. As the man in the brown suit leaves the station he drops a piece of paper containing the enigmatic words: 17-122 Kilmorden Castle. The next day sees the murder of a woman at Mill House. Anne obtains a job with a newspaper seeking to link the two murders.
Anne books passage on the "Kilmorden Castle" taking her to adventures in South Africa. Aboard ship is the fabulously wealthy Sir Eustace Pedler. The chapters of the 277 page book alternate between the two narrators Christie uses(Ann and Sir Eustace). The diaries give a sense of immediacy to the proceedings.
Anne seeks to find out the idenity of the mysterious "Colonel" who is the head of a jewel thief gang. Along the way she falls in love with Harry Rayburn. Was Rayburn framed for the murder of Nadina the dead woman found at the mill? Anne escapes many attempts to murder her but emerges triumphant and happily married by the final page.
This novel was adapted as a TV drama by CBS in 1989. It is not a bad novel but not the first one my hands would reach for when I come to the Agatha Christie shelf in my library.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
veneta
This was one of my favorite Agatha Christie books so far! It was so fun. Knowing that she was so good at adding the unexpected, I suspected almost everyone in the book at some point and was still surprised by who was behind everything! I highly recommend this one to Agatha Christie fans and anyone who enjoys a fun, cozy mystery.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
niwahaenga
So this is by far one of my favorite Agatha Christie books! I love that it's in first person point of view (normally Agatha Christie's books are third-person) and I just enjoyed the overall story! So the girl in the story (Anne) travels to South Africa to solve a murder-mystery and she encounters a whole assortment of characters along the way that are all very hilarious. This Agatha Christie novel was a bit more light then her other one's which sometimes seem more dark and depressing. This book also was not a Hercule Poriot or Miss Marple which I also liked because then I could take a break from those.
Of course I was kept guessing until the end on who murdered the poor people but that always makes it more exciting doesn't it? And Agatha Christie is not called the #1 Mystery Bestseller for nothing; this mystery had tons of twists and turns that you have to follow carefully but in the end it's worth it because everything starts to add up quickly.
http://www.thepaige-turner.com/2011/11/man-in-brown-suit-by-agatha-christie.html
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
morag
While a great fan of Agatha Christie's famous sleuths Poirot and Marple, I enjoy the change in her stories that do not feature these tried and true detectives. The narratives for these stories seem somewhat fresher than the others, less formulaic, and more encompassing of other facts than the mystery at hand. "The Man in the Brown Suit", although perhaps showing some signs of its age, is a quick-paced, enthralling read with a plethora of suspects and puzzling clues.

Anne Beddingfeld is the recently orphaned daughter of a famous, but very poor, professor known for his work on primitive man. Perhaps owing to her dull life with her father, Anne is desperate for adventure and jumps at the chance to seek her fortune in London. One day at the train station she witnesses a man fall to his death on the tracks, surprised by some unknown specter. Later that day, the body of an unidentified woman is found in an empty house. When Anne thinks about both deaths, she knows they must be connected, but just how they are connected will carry Anne to South Africa where she encounters a vast network of crime and criminals who can play the game more adeptly than a young girl looking for adventure on a whim.

"The Man in the Brown Suit" is a classic Christie mystery, with the usual elusive criminals, red herrings, and characters in disguise. Mixed in with the mystery is a bit of political intrigue and even some romance for the heroine herself. It is a delightful read that will keep readers guessing to the very end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
skylar
Anne Beddingfield has lived all her life in a small village with her father, an anthropologist who is interested only in Paeleolithic Man. Anne longs for romance and adventure, and rather envies their maid, who has 'walked out' with a variety of young men. Then Anne's father dies suddenly, and she gets a chance at adventure when she witnesses the accidental death of a man at a London tube station. She has reason to beleive that this death is connected to the murder of a woman at a house in Marlow, but the police aren't interested in her theories, so she persuades a newspaper proprietor to take an interest. Anne takes passage on a ship bound for South Africa, believeing the answer to the mystery is to be found on the ship. There are a number of interesting people on board, charming Mrs Blair, enigmatic Colonel Race, the creepy clergyman Chichester, and eccentric and delightful Sir Eustace Pedler. Some or all of them may be up to no good. A lot of exciting things happen to Anne on the voyage, not the least exciting is when a handsome wounded stranger takes refuge in her cabin. Her adventures continue when they get to South Africa, and she finds herself with more excitement than she had ever dreamt of. Anne is a delightful heroine, adventurous and resourceful and humorous (and despite what a previous reviwer says, not in the least like tiresome, pompous Amelia Peabody). This book has an exciting plot, interesting characters, adventure, romance and humour, what more could you want? ( Actually, again disagreeing with a previous reviewer, I thought the film of this story, allowing for the fact that it was updated by sixty years, stuck reasonably closely to the original story).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nanaly
The Man in the Brown Suit is one of Agatha Christie's earliest books, written in the 1920s. Unlike her detective novels, this is a thriller in which a young lady thirsty for adventure gets herself embroiled in a high-stakes game with an international crime network run by a single man, the Colonel.

More than anything else, this novel is memorable for its well-developed characters, including Anne herself, and the mysterious Colonel Race, who appears in several other novels including Death on the Nile. For a good part of the book, we are entertained by the diaries of Sir Eustace Peddler, a self-centered aristocrat with a characteristic sense of humor, and possibly one her liveliest and most colorful characters. Peddler is somewhat reminiscent of Lord Caterham of the Secret of Chimneys and the Seven Dials Mystery.

The book starts slow, but once you're into it, it is hard to put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
krystal
The brilliant British writer Agatha Christie gained fame primarily as the Queen of detectives. But nevertheless, she was talented author to exciting writing adventure novels. Novel The Man in the Brown Suit, is the possibility to spend a carefree time for the fun reading. The main character named Anne, lives boring. It seems that she is up to the end of his days will live with his father and trying to find the money to pay the bills. But everything changes one case, a witness whom she is on the platform of the subway. From that moment begins her full of dangers and life events path! This is a wonderful novel!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim belcik
Anne Beddingfield, daughter of the late Professor Beddingfield, expert of Palæolithic man, is left alone in the World with no family and just £87 and a few shillings to her name. Whilst waiting for an underground train to arrive at Hyde Park Corner tube station, Anne watches as a man, in a heavy overcoat, steps back from the platform, with a look of panic on his face and falls onto the tracks. She turns to leave the station and picks up a scrap of paper, dropped by the doctor who examined the dead man. It reads 1 7.122 Kilmorden Castle. The following day the �Daily Budget� headline reads �Extraordinary Sequel to Tube Accident, Woman Found Stabbed in Lonely House�. Anne who has always yearned for adventure and romance decides to investigate the two incidents, which leads her half way around the world to Cape Town in South Africa.
Miss Christie�s love of travel is often reflected in her novels and in this case the reader is taken on an adventure through the wild scenery and rough landscape of South Africa and Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe). There are as many twists and turns in the novel as there are introductions of new characters. Anne makes a superb heroine, a rather ordinary girl who gets to live the life of adventure for a change. The fine, upstanding and gallant Colonel Race makes an appearance for the first time in an Agatha Christie mystery. The plot is intricately spun and the suspense as thick as the darkness of a moonless night. A pleasant surprise is the element of romance, which is rare in an Agatha Christie mystery. A classic, which I would rate as highly as the better known novels such �Death on the Nile� or �Murder on the Orient Express�.
Lealing
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
talitha
Young Anne Beddingfeld is trapped in a small English town caring for her father, a world renowned expert in primative man. Within the first 50 pages Anne is orphaned, witnesses an accident/murder on a railway platform, becomes entangled in a nation wide man hunt for the man in the brown suit and departs for South Africa with a ridiculously small sum of money. From there things begin to get exciting.
The mystery is fairly laid out with all the clues available, but as always with Christie the plot twists and turns to the end. It is much more of a romance than the rest of Christie's work and does not include either M. Poriot or Miss Marple.

This book was orginally written in 1924, not long after Mysterious Affair at Styles. This 'young orphaned adventuress heroine out to see the world' was a popular theme of the day reflecting the post-war (WWI) increased opportunities for women. What could have been a trite formulistic effort, became in the hands of Christie, an exciting novel that is still a joy to read 80 plus years later.
This book is in many ways similiar to the Amelia Peabody series, ie a young woman finds herself suddenly orphaned by the scholar father who treated her more as a housekeeper than daughter, travels to Africa where she meets the love of her life and battles with a master criminal.
WARNING a movie of this book was made several years ago and while it is enjoyable in itself it bears very little in common with this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
harrison
I suppose like characters in PG Wodehouse, many educated English girls yearn to break free from the bindings of the Victorian society as the world appeared to be open to them, with past explorers having blazed the trails and the availability of modern transportation such as steamers and railroads to take them beyond the horizons where thousands had gone before. Oh, and of course the proliferation of trashy adventure thrillers also helped spark off their imagination; few glamourous adventure heroines suffered from sea-sickness or the availability of dashing boyfriends always there for them.
When Anne, an orphaned English young lady, witnessed a death in the London tube, she found herself drawn into a real adventure without any clues to what she was really going after. All she had were vague clues that she had seen the "man in the brown suit", who was known to be present at two apparently unrelated deaths, one being the supposed accident at the tube, another was a strangled woman in the house belonging to an English MP Sir Eustace Pedler.
Finding herself on board a cruise to South Africa, Anne found the web of intrigue expanded to include several more persona dramatis; the events seemed to surround these people whom all appear to be totally legitimate.
Slowly, she learned that the affair was somehow related to one of the most daring diamond theft that occurred years ago, to a mysterious criminal organisation led by a shadowy mastermind known only as the Colonel, and with the luck of the British, she only got a couple of attempts on her life. Of course, just to make things a little bit more interesting, she found herself drawn to a man who personally declared he would strangle women with his bare hands.
Although the background of South Africa had certain significance to the plot, like the attitudes of most colonials of the time, the native colour and people were relegated far to the background.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
roseanne
"The Man in the Brown Suit" is a historical mystery. It pokes fun at the heroine adventure stories of the time and is meant to be funny, though not overly so.

The story was written as a contemporary mystery, so it's not heavy on the historical detail though there's enough detail to visualize and understand what's going on. The characters were varied and engaging. The suspense was mainly created by wondering whodunit since the heroine never seemed overly concerned even when she was facing physical danger.

The mystery was interesting. Whodunit was guessable--we're given a vital clue at the end, very near to the big reveal. However, the clue wasn't obvious and I suspect few people catch that clue.

There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging, entertaining mystery.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
veronica guranda
A sheltered orphan, desperate for adventure, blows her meager inheritance on a boat passage to South Africa to find what was behind a murder in England.

This book had everything that annoys me about amateur detectives: eager beaver sticking her nose (and almost her neck) into what doesn't concern her, miraculously tripping over clues, deus ex machina rescues - you name it. The storyline alternates between two narrators, the overeager girl and a staid MP whose primary goal in life is to be comfortable; as usual, the two narrators quickly became confusing. I barely got halfway through before quitting, and the "series character" of Colonel Race was still a minor part of the plot when I gave up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicole schumacher
In "The Man in the Brown Suit" Agatha Christie's protagonist, Anne Beddingfeld receives a clue, but doesn't share it with the readers until the last chapter. It's frustrating when Christie withholds information, but the reveal was timed exceptionally. "The Man in the Brown Suit" reads like a comedy-adventure but mostly mystery. The dialogue is clever and witty and left me laughing in parts and gasping at the various reveals. I've read many Agatha Christie books and so far this is my favorite one. Next I'll be reading, "The Secret of Chimneys."
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mark arnold
Agatha Christie was a very prolific writer and, at her best, I've always regarded her as second only to Conan Doyle as a mystery writer. In addition, as noted in the editorial section above, she wrote romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. After reading THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT, I'm inclined to the opinion that she also wrote romances under her own name.

The back cover of this book notes that the name Agatha Christie "is synonymous with brilliant deception, ingenious puzzles, and the surprise denoument". Well, to be fair, there is a mystery here and, if it was tightened up some, it wouldn't be a bad one. As it is, though, it meanders, it isn't all that deceptive, and it just isn't very compelling (especially in the later part of the story). What you get instead is a "coming of age" story about a naive and foolish young woman who blows her last penny on a one-way ticket to South Africa in pursuit of a seemingly dangerous killer, a "bad guy" who is both fairly obvious and, in the end, much too likeable, and an ending that is too pat and too easy.

THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT isn't a really bad story. The characters are amusing and things move along briskly. It's worth remembering that it was written in the 1920's and the world was a much different place in those days. I found it disappointing as a whodunit, though, and a good whodunit is what I was looking for. As the book proceeds, it becomes less about the mystery and more about the improbable romantic adventures of the heroine. Romance fans may like it, but if you're looking for an engaging mystery, I suggest you look elsewhere.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
teresa dropkin
"The Man in the Brown Suit" is a historical mystery. It pokes fun at the heroine adventure stories of the time and is meant to be funny, though not overly so.

The story was written as a contemporary mystery, so it's not heavy on the historical detail though there's enough detail to visualize and understand what's going on. The characters were varied and engaging. The suspense was mainly created by wondering whodunit since the heroine never seemed overly concerned even when she was facing physical danger.

The mystery was interesting. Whodunit was guessable--we're given a vital clue at the end, very near to the big reveal. However, the clue wasn't obvious and I suspect few people catch that clue.

There were no sex scenes. There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging, entertaining mystery.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
melisa
A sheltered orphan, desperate for adventure, blows her meager inheritance on a boat passage to South Africa to find what was behind a murder in England.

This book had everything that annoys me about amateur detectives: eager beaver sticking her nose (and almost her neck) into what doesn't concern her, miraculously tripping over clues, deus ex machina rescues - you name it. The storyline alternates between two narrators, the overeager girl and a staid MP whose primary goal in life is to be comfortable; as usual, the two narrators quickly became confusing. I barely got halfway through before quitting, and the "series character" of Colonel Race was still a minor part of the plot when I gave up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
raoul
In "The Man in the Brown Suit" Agatha Christie's protagonist, Anne Beddingfeld receives a clue, but doesn't share it with the readers until the last chapter. It's frustrating when Christie withholds information, but the reveal was timed exceptionally. "The Man in the Brown Suit" reads like a comedy-adventure but mostly mystery. The dialogue is clever and witty and left me laughing in parts and gasping at the various reveals. I've read many Agatha Christie books and so far this is my favorite one. Next I'll be reading, "The Secret of Chimneys."
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ratih soe
Agatha Christie was a very prolific writer and, at her best, I've always regarded her as second only to Conan Doyle as a mystery writer. In addition, as noted in the editorial section above, she wrote romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. After reading THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT, I'm inclined to the opinion that she also wrote romances under her own name.

The back cover of this book notes that the name Agatha Christie "is synonymous with brilliant deception, ingenious puzzles, and the surprise denoument". Well, to be fair, there is a mystery here and, if it was tightened up some, it wouldn't be a bad one. As it is, though, it meanders, it isn't all that deceptive, and it just isn't very compelling (especially in the later part of the story). What you get instead is a "coming of age" story about a naive and foolish young woman who blows her last penny on a one-way ticket to South Africa in pursuit of a seemingly dangerous killer, a "bad guy" who is both fairly obvious and, in the end, much too likeable, and an ending that is too pat and too easy.

THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT isn't a really bad story. The characters are amusing and things move along briskly. It's worth remembering that it was written in the 1920's and the world was a much different place in those days. I found it disappointing as a whodunit, though, and a good whodunit is what I was looking for. As the book proceeds, it becomes less about the mystery and more about the improbable romantic adventures of the heroine. Romance fans may like it, but if you're looking for an engaging mystery, I suggest you look elsewhere.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
angie woulfe
"The Man in the Brown Suit" is a drab title for Ms. Christie's most romantic novel. It is interesting to see what type of girl (Ann Beddelfield) is Dame Agatha's ideal: well born, raised by her academic father but not devoted to him, beautiful and aware of it, uses her many charms to get her way, intelligent but wildly impractical, idealistic, adventurous and believes in that knight in shining armor will come and carry her away.
Ann is deeply afraid she will end up in a rut forever as an underpaid secretary only to marry a ho-hum businessman and while away her life. Her father's meager inheritance, 87 pounds, even in 1924 money, will not see her far. She impulsively buys a ticket to South Africa that costs exactly 87 pounds, hoping for adventure. The subsequent story exceeds her wildest dreams with mysterious deaths, kidnapping, diamonds and Russian ballet dancers.
Miss Christie has some excellent descriptive scenes of South Africa. It is clear the author is in love with the landscape, the mystery and the vivid life of the area. I never quite got in the spirit of the "adventure," as I worried incessantly (seeing as Ann would not) over what she was going to use for money once she stepped off the boat. The book does not contain a master sleuth, so it is not a case of one grand mystery, but a series of small mysteries solved as you go. There were so many subplots, I lost all sight of the main purpose, but was agreeable if confused.
"The Man in the Brown Suit" is a departure for Christie, one I'm glad she did not make too often. However, it is a good natured, high-spirited romp, and I am sure she had a grand time writing it. 3-1/2 stars.
-sweetmolly- the store Reviewer
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
charity
Agatha Christie is best known for her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries, wherein her famous detectives solve crimes in both local and far-flung locations. What some don't realize is that Christie also wrote dozens of thrillers/mysteries that starred adventure-seekers, amateur sleuths, or individuals who are caught up against their will into espionage and intrigue. Usually stand-alone novels, they contain Christie's dry wit and twisty plots, and usually take place in exotic settings in which Christie can make use of her extensive knowledge of archeology (thanks her experiences accompanying an archeologist husband around the world).

Anne Beddingfeld is a recently orphaned young woman who is determined to live her life to the fullest, despite her meager inheritance. Whilst job-hunting she is privy to a rather extraordinary scene at the train station: a man so frightened that he topples backwards onto the track. She watches as a man in a brown suit, claiming to be a doctor, approaches and proclaims him dead - but instincts impel Anne to follow the man and claim a piece of paper that falls from his pocket. Along with a sequence of numbers, it also has the name of a ship bound to South Africa written on it.

A few inquiries later, and Anne has reason to believe that the strange occurrence at the train station is connected to the murder of a woman at an empty house in Marlow. Fate has spoken to Anne, and she books passage on board the Kilmorden Castle. What follows is a complex (almost *too* complex) mystery involving a crime syndicate and the hunt for stolen diamonds, told in first-person narrative that switches periodically between Anne's memoirs and the journal of a fellow passenger, Sir Eustace Pedler. It's difficult to keep track sometimes just what's happening, when and where, but since the plot flies along at a break-neck speed, the reader isn't really given enough time to get confused.

Christie rarely has a female protagonist, which is a shame, since Anne Beddingfeld is a gem: charming, adventurous, spunky, self-deprecating and independent, though not without her flaws. Sometimes she's a little *too* intrepid, and this inevitably gets her into trouble. She's surrounded by a cast of intriguing characters, including the brooding, mysterious Harry Rayburn, and Lady Suzanne Blair, who treats the entire adventure like a game. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the novel is that the romance is more pronounced than usual (most of the time Christie uses love-stories as a subplot), and yet Christie still manages to poke fun at womankind's attraction to dangerous men.

With South Africa in all its beauty and danger as a backdrop, "The Man in the Brown Suit" may have several rather far-fetched scenarios, as well as a plot that's so dense that it may take a second read to make heads-or-tails of it, but it's still a perfect read for a wintry night or a relaxing holiday.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david wayne
This story Agatha concocted and wove was fresh, witty and lively. Full of adventure, passion, pluck, humor and romance. A delightful and engaging read with a wonderful cast of characters. I loved everything about it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steven kay
I won't go into any plot details, as others have, but wanted to weigh in with my opinion of this book. I became acquainted with Agatha Christie as a Poirot fan, and decided to read each of the novels and short story collections featuring that great detective. I think most readers would agree that many of Christie's best novels have been Poirots. As I was somewhat fixated on Hercule, I didn't pay much attention to Miss Marple or any of Christie's other books.

One day, after having passed over this novel many times, I finally decided to read "The Man in the Brown Suit." This is not really one of Christie's most intricately plotted mysteries -- although it is a fairly complex plot. In fact, you may well figure out the big secret because it's all but given away fairly early. But, I think you will find it to be a very fun "mystery-adventure" type story, with an interesting protagonist/narrator, great supporting characters, cloak-and-dagger intrigue, and a bit of romance.

As much as I like or love several of the Poirot stories, this is one of the two Christie novels -- both early works -- that I had the most fun reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sukhraj
When dealing with an author with a resume like Agatha Christie's, it can be just a bit difficult for reader's to know what books to skip over and what books to run out and buy immediately. Well, The Man in the Brown Suit is defintely one of the latter. It is a synthesis of all the novel aspects Christie has mastered. With the flurry of suspicious characters, a riveting plot, alluring stranger, nocturnal murder attempts and stolen diamonds, the reader is defintely kept on her toes. Christie creates a wide array of characters in this one; we're given an inexperienced girl out for adventure, the strong, silent man with a secret, a blundering, pompous [behind], a young, rich socialite, and, of course, the man in the brown suit. Filled with wonderful and entertaining subplots, this book flies by, more than the usual page turner.
I was introduced to Agatha Christie via And Then There Were None, possibly her most popular novel. I loved it; I didn't see how it could get any better, and I was afraid I'd be dissappointed with any other Christie mysteries. But, not so! This book is definetly as thrilling and suspenceful as And Then There Were None; stop what you're doing right now, and go get this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie sobaski
In her fourth novel, Christie continues the young girl as adventurer theme that she began with Tuppence Cowley in "The Secret Adversary." The heroine of this novel is Anne Beddingfeld who will foil yet another "master criminal" plot.
Though Poirot is not present in this novel, and Jane Marple has yet to be created, we do meet Colonel Race who appears to be a government trouble-shooter and will reappear in later Christie works, specifically "Death on the Nile," "Cards on the Table," and "Remembered Death."
This work is also notable in that Mrs. Christie first dabbles with the device which two years later would make her a household name with the publication of "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."
This is an excellent read with a thoroughly likeable heroine, a mysterious man of great secrecy, suspense aplenty, and a South Africa setting which Christie handles with brilliant description and local color.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
quittersalwayswin
I'm in the middle of a kick of re-reading Christie novels for the summer and this was one of the first that I read as a young teen. It's held up pretty well. She uses a trick to hide/reveal the killer that she uses again to far better effect in a much more famous story of hers, but no matter. This story features Christie's love of travel, fast-paced action and an old-fashioned yet sexy, practically bodice-ripping romance. It works because Anne is actually quite an interesting character who can hold her own. And I had forgotten that Colonel Race shows up first in this story. A great summer re-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
natalie tynan
The Man in the Brown Suit is the best of Agatha Christie's non-series mysteries (Poitot, Marple, Tommy and Tuppence) and one of the first books to showcase her charms as an author. She filled the mystery with many interesting characters and gave the reader two narrators who both are surprisingly interesting and funny in their own unique ways. It is nice to go back to this early mystery and find a successful author discovering her voice. Christie stills insists on filling the story with improbable romance (and, quite frankly, she always did) but, that aside, this is an exciting little tale that travels from England to South Africa with a wonderfully thrilling interlude about a ship. A must for Christie fans.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lori cope
This is one of my favorite Christie mysteries. Even though Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are missing, the deductions and suspense are present in abundance.
The plot revolves around a young girl who is suddenly without family and longs for adventure. Sure enough, little time passes before she finds it, and romance as well. The book travels from England to north Africa, and through many plot twists and turns.
The characters are, as usual in a Christie novel, charming and engaging, and you root for this cunning woman to find the answer to the mystery, as well as love.
A must read
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andrell
A good mystery told in a different style than what i was expecting. No Miss Marple or Poirot here. The story reads as more of an adventure novel, mostly set in South Africa, with the mystery of an accidental death and a murdered woman. The read itself is an easy one and AC makes you want to turn the page and keep coming back to find out what is going to happen next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
islandhopper
One of the best of Christie's mysteries. It is different than most of the mysteries that she has written - a bit lighter in theme, if such is possible with murder as the story line - but it so engaging and makes you want to keep reading so you can know the outcome! Really enjoyable read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
miriam
This is probably Christie's most romantic adventure, so you may not care about the whodunit plot so much as you do the people dotting it. Her leading heroine Anne is sympathetic and enjoyable from the beginning and her chemistry with the mysterious title character is the stuff of fine love stories. What with revolutions raging in the background and African scenery and a cache of diamonds and characters in disguise, you definitely won't be bored. Good book to curl up with on cold, dreary rainy afternoons.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dalveyqueen
This was one of Christie's earlier novels, but one of her most entertaining. It's pure brain candy, full of wit and adventure, with an appealing, intelligent heroine of the kind found in P.G. Wodehouse books of this period, and, later on, in the mysteries of Elizabeth Peters. Anne makes some nice points about the difficulties of the usual cinematic methods of freeing oneself when bound and dumped in a cellar. She also eats an extraordinary number of ice-cream sodas and collects native art to interesting effect. Oh, yes, and there are some murders and stolen diamonds involved.
An advantage to the light tone, aside from its sheer entertainment value, is that it makes the reader a little more forgiving of Christie's stretches of credibility, which especially in some of her middle period novels can be a bit much. Not that I don't love her novels. But in some there is an almost palpable sense one kind of talent trying to be another...in "Endless Night", for example, she's rather clumsily dealing with the kind of psychological issues that writers like Thomas Harris would take up.
This book, however, is Christie at her brightest and most appealing, and shows the facility with plot which would develop into one of the greatest gifts for story-construction that English literature has ever known.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nora cassandra
The Man in the Brown Suit is one of my favorite Christie novels that does not fit into one of her regular character series. Much more of an unashamed romance than her other novels, it is an ideal read for a warm bath after a stressful day. Anne makes a delightful detective and intrepid reporter. Identities are switched. Villains are not quite what they seem. The world is traveled. A good time is generally had by all.

The Man in the Brown Suit is Christie's fourth novel, and was published in 1927. Recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
laura vultaggio
This book is one of her best works. i really like it. Well, i'm not very good in English, but i read its English edition five time before i got its Chinese edition.Eery exciting the book is and it worth reading again and again.Now i have three copy of its English edition,i put one of them at home and bring the other two to my university,so that i can read it again whenever i want.Go and get one!!! It's a book you should not miss!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
novi soemargono
My grandmother left me her collection of Agatha Christie novels and, over the years, I've been trying to make time to read them in chronological order. I've just finished reading "The Man in the Brown Suit" and, while I did find it intriguing and suspenseful, I found it a bit too mired in the melodrama of the day. When a female character suddenly protests " But I love him!" about a character she's just barely met, it's a bit difficult to believe. The mystery is fun and the globe-trotting storyline is exciting to follow, but the romance hurts the overall story rather than helping it. I look forward to reading more of her books to see when (if?) she moved past such melodrama and let mystery and suspense lead the way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
joe megyesy
This is not your typical Agatha Christie mystery. It's a mystery but also a novel of international intrigue and romance. There are twists, feints, and fun characters. The story is interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat, although at the same time it's somewhat convoluted. All in all, an entertaining and quick read. For the fans of Poirot, Marple, etc. this is definitely not what you'd expect though.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
delia
The Man in the Brown Suit is my favorite of Agatha Christie's novels. With a heroine whose bold determination is as believable now as it was 88 years ago, this book has it all: adventure, romance, and of course mystery. And as always when travel to exotic destinations is involved, South Africa in this case, Agatha Christie is at her very best. No matter how many times I read this one, it's a surprise when the bad guy is unveiled. For those who have experienced Christie's novels over and over, I recommend venturing into the modern day murder mystery: Raskolnikov's Disorder.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
marilyn anderson
I love this book. I've read it many times. So many that I now know "who-done-it." But I still love it. The characters are fantastic, and the story lines are all woven together so wonderfully. Dame Christie was a mistress of her art!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
violetta
Fabulous plot, with a love story that will remain etched on the reader's mind. A bit tame for Chrisite, perhaps-the murderer is not so much of a surprise, but the way she develops her characters is marvellous, and the story is filled with exciting romance and mystery.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
matice
This is a great book for a holiday - and its a tale of travel, adventure, stolen diamonds and pretty much everything in between.

I like Anne, the main character and her gung-ho feistiness. If you love South Africa/are travelling to South Africa this is a great read, nice description.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rhianon
More of an adventure/romance type novel than a mystery. Anne Beddingfield's father conveniently dies, leaving her young, beautiful, and finally free to search for a more exciting destiny than her small village can offer her. Everyone wants to marry her, but Anne chooses to take her father's legacy (87 lbs) and buy a ticket on a ship to Africa.

What follows is a boring, convoluted tale which I found a bit difficult to follow and impossible to believe, as stated facts kept changing at later dates. The solution to the "mystery" when presented, is not plausible, and I found the ending entirely unsatisfactory. The story's main focus is the idiotically reckless and spirited Anne, whose delight in her own witty repartee got on my nerves.

I prefer Miss Marple.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
antreas
I think this is one of the BEST work of myatery by Agatha Christie. Not only was the plot intriguing, the murderer (murderess?) was totally unexpected. I mean, in ALL her books, the murderer is unexpected, but I usually guess who it is. (I'm not boasting!)But in this book, I HAD my theories as to who the murderer was, but when I learnt who the real person was.. I was stunned! OK, I think I've said enough. Time for you to read it yourself & find out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb baron
I saw the TV-movie before I read the book (From the Agatha Christie Mysteries a few years back). I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that the characters were similar, even if they weren't the same ... TV's fault, not Ms. Chritie's.
I have always loved Agatha Christie's work, but this is one of my faves aside from the Partners in Crime series. Although there is a murder, the book is not dark and oppresive. In fact, it gets rather light-hearted at a few points.
I don't know about you, but my library wouldn't be complete without it!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
yvonne brown
This is a bourgeoise's fantasy of a poor orphan's adventure. Ms. Christie most likely would have put her head into a gas oven sooner than into an unsolved mystery if she had been left with only 25 pounds in the entire world. Consequently, besides the almost penniless heroine (naturally pretty and born bourgeoise), the book was stuffed with characters all from the upper class, who were all kind and unsnobbish toward the heroine, and inexplicably showed interests in her. She was patronized by a "society woman" who was perfectly willing to purchase thrill with money, was offered a secretary job by an MP based on the only qualification of being able to type, and was offered marriage by almost everyone but chose to marry the thuggish looking hero who turned out to be bourgeois by birth and a well to do landowner in South Africa. The story reeks the stench of the Bourgeoisie. The plot is singularly frivolous. But then there was certainly a market in "society women" who were bored to death by their idle existences and found thrill in this kind of fantasized "adventure" without endangering their life long pursuance of comfort. The orphan may be their idea of an independent woman, but really is just someone who "always depended upon the kindness of (wealthy) strangers".
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
micki
I am an Agatha Christie collector and this is one of my favorites. Except for 2 novels and 3 Short Story collections, I have her entire collection of writings. The adventures of Miss Beddingfield and her new found friends will keep Chrisie fans on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next clue to be unraveled. Definitely a novel for any true Christie fan to add to their collection!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leah hallgren
hey people i am a student from usa.i didn't read this book but i have to get a sumery of it so i came here to get a summery but there isn't any. so wish me luck...goodbye and this is a cool book. come to visit my homepage [...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brendan keegan
I'm a huge Agatha Christie nut and this is one of her best. Anyone who liked this (especially the romance side of it) ought to try and find Giant's Bread, one of the 5 or 6 true romance novels (NOT trash, though) she wrote (under a different name, but they're all published now with her real name)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matthew woolsey
This story Agatha concocted and wove was fresh, witty and lively. Full of adventure, passion, pluck, humor and romance. A delightful and engaging read with a wonderful cast of characters. I loved everything about it!
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