The Sittaford Mystery (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection (Paperback))

By Agatha Christie

feedback image
Total feedbacks: 78
37
28
10
2
1
Looking for The Sittaford Mystery (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection (Paperback)) in PDF? Check out Scribid.com
Audiobook
Check out Audiobooks.com

Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
m keep
I read this book many years ago and had actually forgotten the ending. What a surprise. Ms. Christie blends a little romance in as well but just enough to make it a fun read. It's mostly a good old fashioned mystery story with great characters. I think this is one of her finest, but then I always have liked her earliest books best.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicholas ozment
A very different read than usual. Some might not like it because of this. Author's need to experiment with genre's and it is our right to not read them or not enjoy them. But we shouldn't criticize the author for trying something new.
I found the end a bit rushed after the long build up. It wasn't my favorite but still a good read!
Who do you trust?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
grace posey
This was one of the first books I purchased for my new Kindle. And I'm so GLAD I did! I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and this one measured up fabulously.
I LOVED every minute of reading this and was sorry when it came to an end.
I highly recommend it!
A Miss Marple Collection (Miss Marple Mysteries) - The Complete Short Stories :: Endless Night (Queen of Mystery) :: Crooked House :: Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) :: Autobiography, An
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matthew childress
I listened to this during a long drive from the Bay area to southern California and it certainly made the miles go faster (without my vehicle speed going over the legal limit).
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the character voices were excellently produced.
I will certainly look for more titles from this producer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna simonak
I listened to this during a long drive from the Bay area to southern California and it certainly made the miles go faster (without my vehicle speed going over the legal limit).
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the character voices were excellently produced.
I will certainly look for more titles from this producer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathy medvidofsky
I am an Agatha Christie fan. I love the details she weaves to make her stories come alive. Each character leaps off the pages in her descriptions of them. The plot is tightly knitted together so that a reader must slowly unravel each clue until the mystery is solved.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
yuiyohee
Very enjoyable. I have read plays in the past but never with so much stage direction inserted. While it did give a sense of space and movement I found it at time to be overly distracting. But a pleasant read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ian pratt
As someone said, even Agatha Christie's "worst" books are better than many authors' writing today. I would agree. I own most of her books and both the Poirot and Marple short story collections. The Sittiford Mystery setting was minimal and bleak (cold, snowbound, moors, very small town). The severity of the setting was unrelieved by anything approaching charm or interest. The characters were even less engaging--in fact, the plot quickly became monotonous. Probably the only Christie book I've not been sorry to finish. I bought this to add to my collection. If you don't care about acquiring all her books, give this one a pass.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jeremy fuller
I love to read Agatha Christie, but this one I really struggled with. Generally, I can't put them down, but it took me a while to finish this book. There are many great Christie books, but to me this isn't one of them.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erick santana
I have been a fan of Agatha Christie for many years. I bought this set as a special gift to myself and was so pleased. It was in beautiful condition and I will always treasure it. I would certainly buy more if they ever become available.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
fiveyearlurker
Also (or perhaps originally) known as "The Murder at Hazelmoor." This is a pleasant story for an afternoon's reading, not complicated or taxing. A lot of familiar plot points, and the setting feels very familiar also, set in a big house during a bad snowstorm, roads are impassible and the wind is howling at the windows. Despite the weather, a few neighbors have come for an evening at Hazelmoor, where Mrs. Willett, the hostess, is a visitor to England, coming from South Africa to rent the house from Captain Trevelyan. The Captain has moved to a small house in the next town, but is not attending the small party. Also present are Mrs. Willett's daughter Violet, and four other guests, including Major Burnaby, who lives next door and is a good friend of Captain Trevelyan. Later in the evening, they decide to hold a séance for entertainment. To their amazement and horror, they receive a message that Trevelyan is dead. Despite being a total skeptic about such matters, Major Burnaby is unable to put aside his concerns, and sets out on foot to Captain Trevelyan's house. There he discovers the Captain has been bludgeoned to death.

Christie makes a fairly good case for each of the people involved to have committed the murder, but giving everyone the same alibi: they were all present at the house at the time of the murder. Or were they? The best part of the story was the atmosphere created by the snowstorm. Sort of a dark, dreary, and cold feeling throughout.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
hila
While best known for her mysteries featuring her famous sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Agatha Christie wrote many works that did not involve them and often touched on a wide array of topics. "Destination Unknown" is one of those works that touches upon the fears of Communism during the Cold War. It is an intriguing thriller that will keep readers curious.

The story begins with Jessop, a British security agent, trying to discover why so many of the world's best scientists have been disappearing. After questioning Olive Betterton, the wife of the most recent missing brilliant mind, Jessop is certain she will lead them to her husband, But when her plane crashes in Morocco and Olive is on her deathbed, Jessop knows he needs another plan. Enter Hilary Craven, a young woman who looks similar enough to Olive Betterton to fool anyone not familiar with her and with a sorrowful enough past that leaves her fearless of danger and death. She agrees to pose as Olive Betterton but soon finds herself in over her head when she and four others are whisked away in the middle of the night to a strange complex in the middle of the desert. Olive a.k.a. Hilary is about to be reunited with her husband, but will he accept this stranger as his wife or give her away? Can she find the answers that Jessop and the authorities of other countries have been looking for? Or will she get swept along with the currents of propaganda that have swayed others, far more brilliant than she?

"Destination Unknown" is a fast paced read and a welcome departure from Christie's other mysteries. The fear of Hilary's pretense being discovered creates enough suspense to keep the story moving. The incorporation of the fear and lure of communism is an interesting facet that Christie deftly explores.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
stephanie rowley
So Many Steps to Death is one of Agatha Christie’s mysteries that focus on foreign intrigue. The time frame is the years right after WW II when Communism was a major threat. Scientists are disappearing and British security agent Jessop sets out to find out why. Thomas Betterton, the discoverer of ZE Fisson, is the latest missing scientist. Jessop is suspicious of his wife, Olive, who says she needs to go on a vacation, but Jessop suspects that she is on her way to meet her husband. She meets an untimely death and a woman who is about to commit suicide takes her place. The story continues through the usual twists and turns of a Christie plot. A number of scientists turn up at an unspecified location and work in a highly controlled environment. Characters, who may be innocent or not, appear as the story winds through Morocco and mysterious locations to the inevitable surprise ending.

I rate this book at three stars because it is not nearly as good as the best of the Christie stories such as Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and, for me, the Poirot mysteries. Still, any Christie book is worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adam boisvert
Agatha Christie is best known as the writer of the most popular mystery novels in history. At the same time she also wrote several outstanding plays. The best of these works are presented in The Mousetrap and Other Plays. Ten Little Indians centers around a group of ten people on an isolated island. One by one they are killed in accordance with the nursery rhyme. As with her standards, the eventual murderer is hard to identify as the story progresses.

The second of the famed plays is The Mousetrap, which has been running on a London stage since January 2009 and is thus the longest running play in modern history. The plot is similar to that of Ten Indians. In this situation a young couple opens a guesthouse and five guests show up in the middle of a great snowstorm and they become isolated. A news report tells of the murder of a woman who apparently has some connection with people at the guesthouse. A police sergeant shows up to investigate and soon thereafter one of the guests is murdered. The song, “Three Blind Mice” is heard and the expectation is that, as in Ten Indians, this song indications the number of people who will be killed. The plot proceeds accordingly, and as is usual with Christie, the ending is full of surprises.

The third well-known play is Witness for the Prosecution. Here the focus is on a trial in which a man, Leonard Vole, is accused of murdering a woman. The famous barrister, Sir Wilfred Robarts, who has just recovered from a serious heart attack, takes up his case, which is seen as “hopeless”. I find this play to be the most interesting of the three because there is a clear cut choice between two alternatives—is Leonard Vole guilty of murdering Miss Emily French or not? As usual Christie teases the reader with suspense: why is Mrs. Vole (Romaine) seemingly indifferent to the fate of her husband; is the housekeeper, Janet MacKenzie, a credible witness or just jealous, and so forth. The trial provides damning evidence against the accused, especially when his erstwhile “wife” testifies that she already had a husband when she met Vole and that when he came home on the night of the murder he admitted killing Miss French.

But the case takes another twist when a mysterious woman shows up at Sir Robarts’ law office and gives him some letters written by Romaine that lead to the surprising and dramatic ending.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kunal
The Sittaford Mystery (also known as The Murder at Hazelmoor) was unknow. To me until I stumbled across a used paperback copy. The premise of the novel was good but I felt that too many plausible suspects, unlikely coincidences, and endless interrogations dragged the novel down. I did enjoy Emily Trefusis, the spunky amateur investigator who knows just how to get men to do her bidding.
I would place this novel in the second tier of Agatha Christie novels but would still recommend it as a worthy read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tayler bradley
I know this book has an indifferent reputation and it is sometimes compared unfavorably to Christie's preceding thriller, THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD. But over the years I've come to prefer DU to BAGHDAD, maybe as I've grown older and more reflective. The insouciant and devil may care heroine of BAGHDAD, Victoria Jones, was once more appealing to me, and the social comedy of that book remains a delight. But now I am in a Hilary Craven state of mind. If you ask me, Hilary Craven is one of Christie's greatest accomplishments as a character, and her gradual transformation during the events of her "ritualized suicide" is so skillfully done it's hard to see how it could be improved.

At first she is a frightened, despondent mess, as a result of catastrophes in her personal life, a broken marriage, and the death of her only child, a little girl. She keeps obsessing about Brenda, the dead girl, and visualizing the pathetic tiny mound of her grave. She decides to commit suicide and nothing is going to stop her. Christie takes you deep inside Hilary's mind, and her decision seems perfectly rational and even moral, and then fate knocks at her door. In a way we've heard Christie tell this story before, because a would-be suicide turns into the hero of TOWARDS ZERO, and we get some idea of her philosophy on the subject--don't kill yourself because of the butterfly effect, and you never know when you might save someone else's life if only you live. DESTINATION UNKNOWN shows signs of Christie's interest in French existentialism, and the questions it asks are pretty deep ones. What is the price of personal freedom? Is freedom an illusion? In paradise--real or imagined--is there any freedom of choice? If humans are infinitely adaptable and can get used to anything, where is the spark that separates us from the animals? Is identity itself a learned response?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stephanie mittendorf
Describe him to me? That’s a tough task is it not?

Emily Trefusis: “She wished with all her heart that she had met the dead man [Captain Trevelyan] even if only once. It was so hard to get an idea of people you had never seen. You had to rely on other people’s judgment…” “Other people’s impressions were no good to you. They might be just as true as yours but you couldn’t act on them. You couldn’t, as it were, use another person’s angle of attack.” And attack she does, this Emily Trefusis, no simple woman herein and the fulcrum of this novel by Agatha Christie. It is she who leads the charge to clear the name of her fiancée James Pearson upon the latter’s arrest for the murder of his wealthy uncle Captain Trevelyan.

The murder takes place on a snowy night in a village in the middle of nowhere. There are not many possible suspects. Actually, considering the storm, there are almost no apparent suspects, but that’s what makes Agatha Christie such a pleasure to read---for she certainly intimates who could have done it, but as per Agatha Christie’s norm, in a way that you don’t realize this until after reading her solution.

The prominence in the story of Miss Trefusis is almost a story itself and (notwithstanding reinforcing the detective maxim that “…the most common motive for every crime---gain.”) provides the main point of this work: “No really strong man wants a woman. She only hampers him by clinging to him like the ivy. Every great man is one who is independent of women. A career---there’s nothing so fine, so absolutely satisfying to a man, as a great career. You are a strong man, Charles, one who can stand alone---“ And then speaking of this same Charles, a handsome reporter to village busybody Mrs. Curtis: “He’s the kind of young man who’s simply born to get on---but I don’t know what would happen to the other one [James Pearson] if I weren’t there to look after him” (besides saving him from hanging for a murder he did not commit). (14Mar) Cheers
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erin rouleau
As with many of her novels that featured neither Miss Marple nor Hercule Poirot as the detective/protagonist, Christie creates a fascinating young heroine who finds herself thrown headfirst into a tangled mystery. In this case it is Miss Emily Trefusis, one of Christie's finest amateur detectives, whose fiancé Jim Pearson is under suspicion of murder for his uncle, Captain Trevelyan. Emily breezes into the village of Sittaford with the goal of clearing Jim's name, using her all her powers of charm, wit, intelligence and sheer manipulation to investigate the inhabitants of Trevelyan's rented cottages.

But before Emily enters the scene, the murder itself takes place. Captain Trevelyan's tenants gather together in his ancestral home of Sittaford, Trevelyan himself having lent the house out to Mrs Willet and her daughter Violet. Along with his old friend Major Barnaby, the women and their three other guests decide to host a séance - one that delivers a chilling message: that Captain Trevelyan has been murdered. Agitated by this news from the spirit world, Major Barnaby decides to check on his friend, walking several miles to Exhampton to discover that - sure enough, Trevelyan has been killed.

Emily enlists the help of a journalist by the name of Charles Enderby, and the two work alongside Inspector Narracott as they infiltrate the citizens of Sittaford. There are plenty of suspects to choose from: the enigmatic Mr Duke, the meek little Mr Reynolds, the amiable Ronnie Garfield, and of course Mrs Willet and her daughter, who quite oddly decided to rent Sittaford House in the middle of a bleak Dartmoor winter.

Though it's an entertaining little mystery, the real appeal of the novel lies in its vivid setting. Even if you read "The Sittaford Mystery" at the height of summer whilst sun-baking on a beach, I guarantee that you'll feel chilled. Agatha Christie was a native to Devon, and so she expertly captures the isolated and grim snow-covered moorlands that figure so heavily in the plot. The supernatural angle of the séance gives a Gothic feel to the proceedings, and astute readers will pick up on several allusions to the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Hound of the Baskervilles, including the Dartmoor setting, an escaped prisoner, and a brief mention of Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

Ultimately there are a few clumsy red herrings and loose ends, but the presence of Emily Trefusis more than makes up for these niggles. It's a pity that she never reappears in any other books, but she more than carries this one with her creative and sneaky methods of deduction. It's not strictly one of Christie's most memorable novels, but certainly one of her most enjoyable.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jessica rhein
Whenever Agatha Christie stepped away from her usual detectives Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple, the entire tone of her novels would often shift from mysteries (often called "cozies" on account of their English village settings) to espionage/conspiracy thrillers. This is especially true of "Destination Unknown" which spans several countries and a lengthy passage of time, with special agents, government officials and wealthy masterminds making up (most of) its cast.

It deals with the scenario of several international scientists disappearing without a trace. International governments are getting concerned as to where they've all gone, and whether they're being kidnapped or going of their own volition. The most recent disappearance is that of Thomas Betterson, who leaves a potential lead in the form of his wife Olive. The officials in charge of the case are certain that she knows more than she's letting on, but are finding her a tough nut to crack...

Hilary Craven has nothing to live for. After her daughter dies and her husband leaves her for another woman, she prepares to commit suicide. However, she is just about to overdose on sleeping pills when she hears a knock at her hotel door. It is a perfect stranger who saw her buying a large quantity of sleeping pills and who has a proposition for her. If she does in fact long for death, why not go out in a blaze of glory? British agents have been tailing Mrs Betterson to Morocco hoping that she would lead them to her husband, only for her to die in a plane crash. Since Hilary has a passing resemblance to the dead woman, would she be willing to take her place and hopefully discover what happened to the missing scientists?

The set-up is ridiculously unlikely, and yet utterly compelling. Christie draws out the suspense of where Hilary is going and what she will find when she gets there to perfection, crafting a dream-like atmosphere that is nonetheless grounded in reality by the devastating planning of the secret organization that whisks Hilary and her fellow passengers into the unknown. It would be hugely remiss to discuss what it awaiting Hilary on her strange adventure, but I suppose it's fair to say that after such a magnificent setup, any revelation comes as something of a disappointment. Yet perhaps that's the point, as Christie once again draws upon her oft-used theme of the inherent small-mindedness of megalomania and the strength of those dismissed as ordinary.

"Destination Unknown" is certainly not one of Christie's best books. Though most of her mysteries demand a re-read in order to pick up on the clues and red herrings strewn throughout the plot, the enjoyment of "Destination Unknown" hinges on the suspense of Hilary's journey. Once over, there's little reason to revisit it, despite the last-minute shoehorning in of a mystery that is only tangentially connected to the rest of the plot. There are a couple of loose ends and some characters that remain unaccounted for, but on the whole it makes for an intriguing but light read.

Much like a cross between "They Came to Baghdad" and "Passenger to Frankfurt" (with a dash of "Toward Zero" thrown in, what with a wannabe-suicide finding a new purpose in life) Christie draws heavily on her own travelling experiences to map Hilary's journey and her own belief system to explore the nature of power, freedom, progress and knowledge - raising some weighty philosophical questions along the way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alexander fedorov
Destination Unknown is a departure from Agatha Christie's usual work in that it is not a whodunit set in England. Instead, it is one of her espionage-type works. (I say "espionage-type" because it starts out feeling like a cold-war spy thriller, but ends up being something else. I won't say any more so as not to spoil it for anyone).

Of course, there is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple here, nor is there any of the slight quirkiness and charm that is often a trait of Christie's mysteries. Instead, Destination Unknown has a more serious feel that shows well Christie's writing skill.

I enjoyed this primarily because I liked the main character, Hillary Craven. Main characters make or break books, and in this case I connected with Hillary right off and that affinity and connection held throughout the rest of the book.

As mysteries go, I have to rate this one as slightly better than average. The book starts out with strong suspense and good pacing that continues up until Hillary arrives at her "destination." From that point the story stalls slightly until the end, when Christie throws in twists and turns in rapid succession. The whole plot is far-fetched and not very realistic, but it is fun and entertaining and keeps you wondering what is going to happen.

The narrator is so-so. She does well enough with most of the voices, although I didn't care for her hoarse, whispery rendition of a couple of the male characters. She didn't do all that well with the American voices, either, but then I have yet to hear a British narrator who can do an American accent well.

All in all an entertaining story, with Christie's typical happy ending.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aoife dowling
Agatha Christie (1890-1972) made her reputation with a series of mystery novels so widely read that she is often considered the single best selling novelist in the history publishing--but from about the mid-1940s to around the end of the 1950s she had another claim to fame: she was a playwright who created one hit after another.

THE MOUSETRAP AND OTHER PLAYS does not contain all of Christie's plays, but it does contain a good chunk of them: TEN LITTLE INDIANS; APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH; THE HOLLOW; THE MOUSETRAP; WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION; TOWARDS ZERO; VERDICT; and GO BACK FOR MURDER, all of which were staged between 1943 and 1960.

The "monster" hit of Christie's career as a playwright was THE MOUSETRAP, which opened in London in 1952... and continues to play to packed houses more than fifty years later, the longest continual run in theatrical history. Based on a short story which was in turn based on a radio sketch, the play presents us with newly-married Giles and Molly, who have decided to open a guest house in rural England--only to find themselves and their guests snowed in with a killer. The play is classic Christie, presenting us with an isolated group of people and a truly jaw-dropping final twist; it is also remarkably well-written, tightly structured.

Even so, most critics tend to dismiss THE MOUSETRAP in favor Christie's second stunner: the celebrated WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, which opened in London in 1953 and proved a smash both there and in New York. The play is essentially a courtroom drama: Leonard Vole has been accused of the murder of a somewhat elderly woman and only the testimony of his wife can save him from certain conviction. But his wife, Romaine, is a unknown quantity, a mysterious woman who may have her own reasons for wanting to see Leonard hang. Can the eloquent Sir Wilson, acting for the defense, save his client from death? Like THE MOUSETRAP, the conclusion is a stunner--but with a double twist that has continued to shock and astonish audiences in its numerous revivals and the celebrate film version for well over fifty years.

There is a third "great" success in this volume, and it is TEN LITTLE INDIANS, adapted directly from the Christie novel AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Opening in London in 1943, it successfully transferred to New York and in both instances enjoyed long runs before becoming an extremely popular title in regional, community, and educational theatre, where it remains a staple to this day. The basic story is extremely well known: ten people are invited for an island getaway by an unknown host--and once cut off from the world are accused of having committed murders that the law cannot touch. They are then picked off one by one in accordance with the nursery rhyme posted above the fireplace. Read today, TEN LITTLE INDIANS is distinctly old fashioned--but that's part of the fun, and the conclusion contains a surprise twist that will amuse those who have read and enjoyed the Christie novel upon which it is based.

The remaining plays might be described as "distinctly of their time" and vary significantly in terms of quality. The two weakest titles are the 1945 APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH and the 1958 VERDICT. Based on the Christie novel of the same name, APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH lacks the focus found in most Christie works; it was not a success, opening and closing in London within a few weeks. VERDICT, which Christie wrote for the stage as an original work, was reasonably successful--and was a bit of a departure for Christie in the sense that it is more suspense than mystery. Read today, however, it has a distinctly implausible quality.

THE HOLLOW, TOWARDS ZERO, and GO BACK FOR MURDER are much stronger plays, with the latter easily the best--and certainly the most interesting in terms of staging. Based on the Christie novel THE FIVE LITTLE PIGS, this 1960 play finds a young woman determined to get to the bottom of a family scandal: her mother was convicted of her father's murder. The approach is particularly clever, introducing each character separately in the contemporary world and then sending them back in time to play out the past. THE HOLLOW, produced in 1951 and based on Christie's novel of the same name, was a significant success; TOWARDS ZERO, produced in 1956 and based on Christie's novel of the same name, was also reasonably popular. Both are distinctly Christie, but both tend to read as old fashioned in a way that is not nearly as entertaining as TEN LITTLE INDIANS.

As Ira Levin notes in his brief introduction to these seven titles, mystery plays are rare birds, and few authors produce more than a single successful play. With three major hits and many more minor ones, Christie broke the mold--and, of course, THE MOUSETRAP's success didn't so much break the mold as shatter it entirely. Strongly recommended for Christie fans, mystery fans, and play-readers everywhere.

GFT, the store Reviewer
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephen todd
"The Sittaford Mystery", also known as "The Murder at Hazelmoor" for its U.S. publication, takes place in Christie's native Devon. The setting is a desolate, small village during winter when a heavy snowstorm has dumped ten inches of snow on the area - the perfect time for a perfect murder. "The Sittaford Mystery" does not feature either of Christie's sleuths, Poirot or Miss Marple, but rather a team of amateur investigators intent on solving the crime.

Captain Trevelyan has rented out his house in Sittaford to the mysterious Mrs. Willett and her daughter Violet, who have supposedly been in South Africa. Everyone in the village is eager to learn more about them and what possible connection, if any, they had to Captain Trevelyan, a noted woman hater. At a house party one snowy Friday night, the party tries table turning, a purported psychic phenomenon. Yet the playing becomes serious when the "psychic" presence alerts them that Captain Trevelyan is dead, in fact that he has been murdered. His best friend, Major Burnaby walks the six miles into Exhampton to check on his friend, only to discover the truth behind the game. All signs immediately point to the captain's nephew, Jim Pearson, who just happened to be in town that night and left the next morning before anyone could see or question him. His fiancee, Emily Trefusis, knows that Jim is innocent and sets out to solve the murder of her own accord. Inspector Narracott of the local police is less and less convinced that young Pearson is guilty and allows Emily to search as she does. Along with those two, a young reporter, Charles Enderby, who happened to be in the right place at the right time, aids in the investigation. Since everyone at Sittaford House is in the clear, who killed Captain Trevelyan? Or is there a more logical explanation behind this so-called psychic phenomenon?

"The Sittaford Mystery" is a fast-paced, entertaining mystery that will leave readers guessing until the end, although there are a few strong, true clues sprinkled in with all the red herrings that Christie threw in. The three detectives are all likable characters and there is no disjointed feeling despite the fact that the story is narrated by different characters at different times. All of the clues and misdirection lead to an outcome that is given ample resolution at the end, with every strange occurence receiving explanation. "The Sittaford Mystery" is a typical Christie whodunit with the small circle of suspects and wily, atypical detectives who leave no stone unturned.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marilyn barton
Agatha Christie definitely owns the lion's share of the mystery market. Another classic style murder mystery set in the tundra of England's Dartmoor district.

The plot begins with a fun type "table turning" which begins with humor but ends with an ominous message that someone has been murdered. Discovery of a dead body belonging to one of the small town's most stalwart figures starts an investigation that brings many colorful characters into play. The snowy, blustery backdrop of Dartmoor adds a somewhat quaint yet foreboding aspect to a story that would transfer to theater with little adaptation.

Agatha Christie's books always abound with multi-layered characters who support the protagonists through who we learn about the settings, the local lore, the local mindset and it all serves as a rich reading experience that we can enjoy and escape into.

The plot thickens as the newspapers have now learned of the murder and its questionable circumstances. There is already a man in jail charged with the murder yet, the police and the detective who put him there question his guilt. The plot twists and turns and runs into dead ends as the girlfriend of the incarcerated man attempts, with the help of a journalist, to get to the bottom of the affair.

As all good murder mysteries, the end involves the throwing open of a door into a room full of potential suspects with the announcement, "Inspector arrest that man". It's all classically quaint in it's tidiness and you almost want to stand and applaud as the motive and execution of the murder are explained to a room full of shocked listeners.

Great stuff that only the mind of Ms. Christie could produce. It's a fast read but you can lose yourself in it while you sip tea and eat a scone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tyler cheung
As an unapologetic, die-hard Christie fan, I loved this book. However, it was one of her later ones and is not a murder mystery. Rather it is a sort of spy thriller. The story is that scientists have been disappearing from their posts all over the world, just after WWII. A wife of one of the disappeared men announced her intention to take a trip for her nerves. On the way she dies, and the police set up another red-haired woman who resembles her to take her place. This imposter is taken on a journey to an unknown destination in Africa to meet up with her husband. The trip was described so well that I fell into it and almost felt as if I were along for the ride. I think it had to be based on actual trips she took herself. Once she reaches her destination, she finds herself trapped with a man who is not her husband but who is willing to keep up the pretense for reasons of his own. How she is finally rescued and falls for one of her fellow captors concludes the story. The plot has the trademark Christie twist at the end, but it is admittedly not the mystery she is known for. The remarkable thing about this book is that Christie finally indulges her desire to express her philosphies of life, which she always wanted to do, but was restrained by her publishers. I marked the bits of philosophy which really didn't relate to the plot and found many of them. A lot of this book sounds autobiographical and may reveal more of Christie's true self that her official autobiography. Absolutely fascinating and irresistable to a Christie fan like me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimberly vogel
Though this statement by Inspector Narracott resembles statements made by Agatha Christie's detectives in most of her other mysteries, there is MUCH more in this case than meets the eye. Perhaps the most complex and most beautifully developed case among all Christie's novels, The Sittaford Mystery, originally published in the US in 1931 as The Mystery of Hazelmoor, has at least half a dozen mysteries going simultaneously. Each of them is investigated separately until the conclusion, when all are resolved, with surprises galore. Clever, complex, and filled with unexpected twists and turns, this mystery is a classic of the genre.

Six people at remote, moor-side Sittaford House decide to pass the time on a snowy evening by calling up the spirit world while joining hands around a small table. A "spirit" tells them that Captain Trevelyan, a man known to them all, is dead--murdered. His best friend, Major Burnaby, alarmed, immediately decides to check on him in person, traveling on foot for six miles until he finds Trevelyan's cottage open and Trevelyan indeed dead.

Trevelyan, a wealthy but "close" man, has family, some of them greatly in need of money, and each member of the extended family is investigated in detail. One young nephew, who had visited his uncle just before his death, is arrested for the murder, and his fiancée, Emily Trefussis, believing him innocent, decides to investigate, with the help of a newspaper reporter, Charles Enderby. The Willett family, which has been leasing Sittaford House from Captain Trevelyan, is mysterious, their origins in question, and their reasons for occupying the house in the depths of winter are suspect. A jailbreak twelve miles away creates tension in town, and characters seemingly unconnected with the murder are discovered to have been lying about their whereabouts. Everyone in the community seems to have questions about everyone else. The six people involved in the table-turning at Sittaford are the only ones who seem to have airtight alibis.

As Inspector Narracott, Emily Trefussis and Charles Enderby all work to solve the case, each for different reasons, Christie's genius at plotting becomes obvious. Red herrings abound, as do true surprises, and when, at the conclusion, all the questions are answered and the murderer is unmasked, the precision with which Christie has developed this mystery is obvious. Arguably the best of the Christie mysteries. n Mary Whipple

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
Lord Edgware Dies
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
oceana
Though this statement by Inspector Narracott resembles statements made by Agatha Christie's detectives in most of her other mysteries, there is MUCH more in this case than meets the eye. Perhaps the most complex and most beautifully developed case among all Christie's novels, The Sittaford Mystery, originally published in the US in 1931 as The Mystery of Hazelmoor, has at least half a dozen mysteries going simultaneously. Each of them is investigated separately until the conclusion, when all are resolved, with surprises galore. Clever, complex, and filled with unexpected twists and turns, this mystery is a classic of the genre.

Six people at remote, moor-side Sittaford House decide to pass the time on a snowy evening by calling up the spirit world while joining hands around a small table. A "spirit" tells them that Captain Trevelyan, a man known to them all, is dead--murdered. His best friend, Major Burnaby, alarmed, immediately decides to check on him in person, traveling on foot for six miles until he finds Trevelyan's cottage open and Trevelyan indeed dead.

Trevelyan, a wealthy but "close" man, has family, some of them greatly in need of money, and each member of the extended family is investigated in detail. One young nephew, who had visited his uncle just before his death, is arrested for the murder, and his fiancée, Emily Trefussis, believing him innocent, decides to investigate, with the help of a newspaper reporter, Charles Enderby. The Willett family, which has been leasing Sittaford House from Captain Trevelyan, is mysterious, their origins in question, and their reasons for occupying the house in the depths of winter are suspect. A jailbreak twelve miles away creates tension in town, and characters seemingly unconnected with the murder are discovered to have been lying about their whereabouts. Everyone in the community seems to have questions about everyone else. The six people involved in the table-turning at Sittaford are the only ones who seem to have airtight alibis.

As Inspector Narracott, Emily Trefussis and Charles Enderby all work to solve the case, each for different reasons, Christie's genius at plotting becomes obvious. Red herrings abound, as do true surprises, and when, at the conclusion, all the questions are answered and the murderer is unmasked, the precision with which Christie has developed this mystery is obvious. Arguably the best of the Christie mysteries. n Mary Whipple

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
Lord Edgware Dies
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shelia
Sittaford House is located in an isolated spot in Dartmoor. Most of the inhabitants of the tiny village are gathered at Sittaford House for an afternoon seance. A 'message from beyond' indicates that Captain Trevelyan has been murdered. The Captain is spending the winter 6 miles away in Exhampton, there is a raging snow storm making the road impassable to the town's only car and there no telephones in the village. The Captain's best friend Major Burnaby decides that he will make the 6 mile trip to see his friend despite the impending blizzard. When he arrives he finds the Captain has been murdered.
Numerous suspects begin to present themselves. The most obvious is the Captain's nephew James who is promptly charged with the crime. James' fiancee Emily arrives on the scene and begins to unearth more possiblities and questions. She is aided by a newspaper reporter who is in the area on another matter. Between them they discover that James is not the only heir who was in the area the night of the murder. They also begin to ask questions about the other inhabitants of Sittaford and discover that a surprising number of them seem to have secrets in their past. In the end all is resolved although this is one of Christie's less convincing solutions.
The setting of a lonely house in Dartmoor is very reminiscent of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, down to the escaped convict hiding in a cave on the moor. The novel also forshadows other works by Christie herself, most notable THE MOUSETRAP. The heroine, Emily Trefusis, has much in common with Lucy Eyelesbarrow (who will appear 20 years later) particularly the problem of choosing between two suitors, one who needs her and one who doesn't.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
miss m
For those who had enjoyed children adventure books like those written by Enid Blyton or Capt WE Johns, this book would
have fit right in.
Unlike other novels by the writer, this book is not a mystery
book but an adventure book. There is no who-done-it, though
there are few clues left around, there is no crime actually defined.
Scientists from the West have gone missing. When the wife of one such scientist went on a holiday, supposedly to recover from the trauma, British agents had her tailed, suspecting she could lead them to the whereabouts of the missing scientists. But when her plane crashed and she was seriously injured, the trail appeared to go cold. Enter Hilary Craven, a suicidal woman who bore a passing resemblance. Offered a more exciting way to die in an almost certainly fatal missiong, she eagerly took the chance.
Not knowing what she could expect to find, the British agents could brief her little except to play-it-by-ear. As they hoped, she was accepted as the supposed wife, and led to be with her supposed husband. But as closely as the British agents trailed her, the adversary was a step ahead to outsmart the shadowers and Hilary found herself in an unexpected place, with even more unexpected encounters.
Would she survive, or would she be exposed as an impostor? The strangely diverse people she had for travelling companions on her way to the lair of the enemy made her wonder if the whole business was what it really appeared to be.
In Hilary, the writer had a perfect character for such a mission, a person who had no desire for self preservation, and could mold herself into another being who had a dual purpose in life, one as a impostor wife, another as an undercover agent.
To paraphrase a line from a popular song, when she fooled the others, she fooled herself as well and through the ordeal, she actually became the force which pushed others to cling on to hope, and eventually, regaining her sense and purpose of existence.
A highly enjoyable book, in the cast of adolescent adventure but written for adults.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vishnu
Ahhh. This is more like! A mystery reader/fan must, every now and then, return to the books of the great Dame Agatha. Yet, it becomes harder and harder to find one that perhaps hasn't been read for a while. It's important also, not to get sucked into a recently read title now masquerading under a new name.
I'm sure that at some time in my past, I've read The Murder at Hazelmoor, but not recently enough to have given the subsequently-named The Sittaford Mystery a familiar aura. S'wonderful, indeed.
No one captured the thirties quite so eloquently as did Christie, and this book is a prime example of her art. There is no Miss Marple or Hercule Poiret in this episode, however. Rather we have an intrepid young woman named Emily Trefusis, who has the misfortune to be engaged to the nephew of a man who is found murdered, after his death had been exposed by a 'table turning.' This is a version of the Ouija Board, which was enormously popular in the first decades of the 20th century.
Captain Trevelyan, who was rather fond of money, had been prevailed upon to let out his own Sittaford House to a widow and her daughter, apparently just arrived from South Africa. Never married, the Captain had few heirs: one sister and the three children of another, now deceased. It is James Pearson, one of this latter group, who has captured the fair Emily, and finds himself in jail under suspicion of having done in his uncle.
Emily knows better, however, and with the aid and assistance of a live-wire newspaper reporter, Charles Enderby, sets out to prove his innocence. Emily and Charles quite put in me mind of Tommy and Tuppence with their humorous bantering. (Perhaps they were the inspiration for Dame Agatha, as well.)
The prevalence and importance of trains and their schedules take one back to that time when almost no one owned an auto of their own, and walking twelve miles (round-trip, to be sure) for a visit was hardly any kind of bother at all. If one was fit, that is.
Village life along the moors is captured perfectly, along with the various eccentrics who reside there. It's a cracking good puzzle, with all the clues neatly laid out for the intrepid sleuth. A visit to Agatha Christie's England is good for us all every now and then. I'm looking forward to the next one!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
larry rosen
An oldie but goodie, for sure. I enjoyed it because it was an attempt by Ms. Christi to do a spy novel. Most reviews I’ve read put it down somewhat for that. I guess their expectations weren’t met. But if you like something different and love good plotting, good characters, and good writing, this is a very enjoyable book to read.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chiara
I'm not much of a fan of the thriller genre - there's usually so much detailed intrigue that I can't even keep up with what's happening, let alone figure out what's really going on. So hooray for Agatha Christie! Her thrillers are plot-focused (rather than designed to show off how clever she thinks she is), admirably economical, and contain some really appealing characters.
Hilary Craven is a woman who has lost her husband and child, and is seeking escape by travelling to Morocco. But once there, she discovers that her problems are within her - that there is no escape. She decides to end her life, but is interrupted by the practical Mr Jessop. Jessop has previously been encountered investigating the disappearance of Thomas Betterton, another brilliant scientist who has vanished without a trace. He suggests that if Hilary is so bent on death, she could make herself useful to him while she seeks it. Deciding that she's up to the challenge and convinced that death is what she really wants, Hilary impersonates the wife of Thomas Betterton and heads off into the unknown. She waits for Mrs Betterton's mysterious allies to contact her and take her to join her "husband", knowing she will be beyond help if her ruse is discovered. And once she is contacted, then the fun really begins.
Hilary is a great character, the mystery she gets caught up in is a satisfying one, and as with all Christie novels, there is a great sense of era as the concerns and foibles of the 1950s (when this book was written) are brought to life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nathan harrell
US readers used to know this one as "Murder at Hazelmoor," but nowadays they call it by the name Christie used, "The Sittaford Mystery." What a dull title! I guess the experience of slow sales with "The Listerdale Mystery" didn't teach her much, for this one also seems often to fall between the cracks when fans compile lists of Christie's best books, and I think it's the colorless title that does it, for otherwise this book is nearly the equal of the two midperiod masterpieces that followed it, CARDS ON THE TABLE and DEATH ON THE NILE. It lacks the complete assurance of the sleight-of-hand play of CARDS, and of course it is entirely missing the tragic dimension of the opera that is DEATH ON THE NILE, but THE SITTAFORD MYSTERY is indeed a wonderful treat for Christie readers. I wonder, if Poirot was in it, if it would be better known?

Instead we have the admirable Inspector Narracott, and his opposite number, the inventive, spirited, dazzling heroine Emily Trefusis, a sparkling Katharine Hepburn type no man can resist or outwit. Things look bleak of Emily at the beginning of the story as her sad sack boyfriend, Jim Pearson, is arrested for the murder of his uncle, Captain Trevelyan, in a little English village near Dartmoor--Sittaford--or Hazelmoor--one of them, I suppose. All I remember is that the book begins with a spooky seance of table turning, when the table raps, raps, raps, revealing Trevelyan's name and to the surprise of almost everyone present, the spirit voices say he has died! Six miles away, his body lies on the floor of his home, sandbagged, in the middle of a ferocious, historic blizzard.

Several other rough things happen to Emily during the course of the story, but she never loses heart, or if she does, it's only momentarily, and her common sense and high spirits come to her rescue, as she attempts to clear Jim's name and to free him from prison, even as he's battling an open and shut case against him. Everyone in Sittaford has a secret. I've read the book a good dozen times over the years, and still the utter simplicity, daring, and good humor of Christie's writing dazzles me every time I plunge in again. In some ways, this is the book to recommend to those who don't like Agatha Christie. It has everything Jane Austen has, and a little bit more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kaye
Most of Agatha Christie's books deal with established characters, such as Poirot and Marple. But, there are a few that stand alone. Interestingly, most of them focus on powerful people who want to rule the world. Destination Unknown and They Came to Bagdad are two of the best known. Some of her works featuring the power-hungry also include an established character (The Rule of Four and Poirot).

In Destination Unknown, written during the height of the Cold War, the reader could be lulled into thinking at the outset that it is a cold war novel between East and West. The reader will be fooled! It is instead a novel about scientists and others seeking a utopian world where they can work unfettered by governments. Eventually they discover the illusiveness of their searcb and become pawns in a "new society" created by a megalomanic.

Christie mixes a touch of murder and international intrigue into this great read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andrew flack
Love Dame Agatha! I thought I had read every one of her books, but I'm going through them and finding that due to confusion over the English vs. American titles, I've missed reading a couple. This was one I missed. This version includes a forward by Charles Osborne who has finished a couple of unpublished works of Christie's. I assume from some of his comments that he sees himself as an expert on Christie and her writing. He particularly disliked the motive for the murder of Captain Trevelyan. I am not a literary expert by any means but as a 40 year plus reader of mysteries, I can say that I had no problem with the murderer or the motivation. People often commit crimes for very little reason at all. I especially liked the primary investigator, Emily Trefusis, and didn't find any of her comments or observations to be out of character. In fact, my one criticism of the novel is that Dame Christie didn't flesh out Emily's character enough but spent too much time on other peripheral characters. This wasn't my favorite of Christie's books, but it was well worth the read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
richard ladew
The Sittaford Mystery (American title: Murder at Hazelmoor) opens on a wintry afternoon at the large mansion known as Sittaford House. The entertainment for the day is a seance which suggests that Captain Trevelyan, owner of the house, may be dead. The Captain has leased his home to a Mrs. Willett and her daughter Violet. These South African women had been so insistent on spending a typical British winter in the home that they convinced Trevelyan to move into a smaller home in nearby Exhampton. Major Burnaby, a friend of Trevelyan's, is present at the seance. Although he does not believe in spiritualism, he decides to check up on his friend and finds that Trevelyan has been murdered.

From this intriguing beginning the story moves to Trevelyan's sister, two nephews, and niece, all of whom had motive and opportunity to commit the crime. Also, a convict has escaped from a nearby prison and is added to the list of suspects along with the mysterious Willetts.

Christie weaves the murder beautifully into the novel's second plot which is the unexplained presence of the Willetts in Sittaford. This book, notable for its outstanding description of the stark and isolated setting, also introduces a gimmick that Christie will use again in her novella "Three Blind Mice."
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lekoenigs
Featuring neither of her quintessential sleuths, Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple, this book is a case of missing persons, double identity, and murder.

Contemplating suicide, Hilary Craven, is immersed into life full of excitement and the unknown. Life: It truly is worth living.

Given Mrs. Christie's attitude toward disloyal men throughout the book, I would say that her previous marriage and the feelings and emotions experienced during that time of her life greatly effected the writing of this book.

This is a fun story with lots of plot twists throughout. I rate it three stars out of five on the following scale:
+ poor read
++ so-so read
+++ good read
++++ excellent read
+++++ life changing read
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pamster
This 1955 novel is a departure from her more well known cosy series books. This one has none of her more familiar characters like Poirot or Marple, the setting is mostly the North African desert and centers on a James Bond type conspiracy complete with secret hideout and mysterious, fabulously wealthy mastermind.

Hilary Craven has been defeated by life, her daughter has died, her husband has left her and she has nothing left to live for. She has decided to leave England and in an out-of-the-way spot in Morocco end it all. Circumstances intervene and instead of a quiet end in a lonely hotel room Hilary finds herself cast in the role of secret agent.

This is a rather standard thriller type novel. Although a departure from Christie's usual fare there are still many of her more familiar motifs. The 'hero' is a single woman off on a adventure (like MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT), there is also a 'master criminal' (like the Tommy and Tuppence series or PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT) and much of the action takes place in an isolated, contained environment. As always in Christie's work the clues are all there for the reader to follow right up to the surprise ending.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
caitlin o reardon
In the 1920s and 1930s Agatha Christie often created novels that were more "thriller" than "mystery"--but as time passed she became less and less interested in such material. 1954's DESTINATION UNKNOWN (also published as SO MANY STEPS TO DEATH) is one of her few such novels from the latter half of her career.
The novel has a topical story line that references the Cold War, defections, and even the notorious House Unamerican Activities Committee. In the aftermath of her child's death and a painful divorce, Hilary Craven travels to the Middle East in an effort to escape her past--and when this fails determines to kill herself. But her attempt at suicide is foiled when she is confronted with an intelligence officer aware of her intention, an intelligence officer who makes her an unusual proposal: if you are so determined to die, why not do it in a way that would serve your country? A nuclear scientist has defected; his wife, rushing to join him, has died in a plane crash. And Hilary, intrigued, agrees to take the wife's place in an effort to trace the missing scientist and uncover the intent behind his disappearance. It is a mission from which she is unlikely to return alive.
Although the premise is interesting, the resulting novel reads rather like the outline for a minor Alfred Hitchcock film. Christie writes with her usual expertise, but the characters here are not greatly memorable and the story itself falls down a bit toward the novel's conclusion. Still, it is a fast and fun read, and fans of the writer will likely enjoy it as a change of pace from her more typical fare. Mildly recommended.
--GFT (the store reviewer)--
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andy george
A murder in a tiny Dartmoor village in the dead of winter sets the stage for this classic Christie whodunit. Several had a motive, few had an opportunity. The most likely suspect is quickly imprisoned, but his fiance remains unsatisfied with the law's conclusions. Determined to clear James Pearson's name, Emily Trefusis sets off with intrepid newspaper reporter Charles Enderby to seek out the circumstances of Major Treveylan's murder. As with all of Christie's books, we get plenty of atmosphere as the plot unfolds in the Dartmoor countryside. Here we see the deepest depths of winter. This novel has all of the elements of a juicy, quick read. The plot and suspense build as we follow Emily on her quest for answers. This is classic Christie- a bit of brain-fluff, for sure, but engaging and well-written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vincent zhu
This is a fine mystery, well thought-out and shrewdly conveyed.

It takes place in the English Boondocks (moors) and the chief question is, 'Who murdered an old curmudgeon in his own home?' There is also a secondary sub-plot regarding an escaped convict loose on the moor.

The chief suspect's fiance and a tabloid reporter investigate the crime (along with a sharp police inspector), even though they are forced to also battle the icy weather and deep snow, and the clues just seem to add up to less than zero. To make matters even worse, there is a supernatural aspect to the crime -- several locals at a seance were informed by the spirits that the old man was dead to begin with. It was only then that a close friend, disturbed by the prophecy, left in the blizzard to investigate and found his old pal murdered, sure enough!

This one's a real ringer!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
betsy willing
This is a very different book from the usual formula: no mass murderer hiding behind non-obvious clues. The mystery here is who is behind a bunch of scientist disappearing. It starts out being “obvious” that it’s an “iron curtain” plot, complete to the (in today’s world, jarring) reference to a character barely evading the ravages of the “un-American Activities Committee”. As with the typical Christie novel, things are not all as they seem. Other than the odd plot hole (how a plane takes off and crashes in a planned way is not explained), a pleasant enough read and a nice variant on her usual page-turners. You could imagine this one being made into a movie in the James Bond style.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mikayla
In his SOE role, "Captain" Selwyn Jepson was recruiting officer for F section, the independent French section. As a recruiter he was one of SOE's "most skilled craftsmen" (see Foot, below), and according to (??) he was SOE's senior recruiting officer. When interviewed by the Imperial War Museum he stated:

"I was responsible for recruiting women for the work, in the face of a good deal of opposition, I may say, from the powers that be. In my view, women were very much better than men for the work. Women, as you must know, have a far greater capacity for cool and lonely courage than men. Men usually want a mate with them. Men don't work alone, their lives tend to be always in company with other men. There was opposition from most quarters until it went up to Churchill, whom I had met before the war. He growled at me, "What are you doing?" I told him and he said, "I see you are using women to do this," and I said, "Yes, don't you think it is a very sensible thing to do?" and he said, "Yes, good luck to you." That was my authority!"
M.R.D. Foot's SOE contains an illuminating account of Jepson's interview style with potential recruits; "I have to decide whether I can risk your life and you have to decide whether you're willing to risk it" (p. 73). According to Foot, of F section's 470 agents sent into the field, 117 were killed; 39 of the 470 were women, of whom 13 failed to return.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ash hunter
"The Mousetrap" may be THE classic stage mystery of all time; if you're ever in London, GO SEE IT! Failing that, read it here, along with "Ten Little Indians" (with a different ending from the book that does not upset the pattern of the plot), "Witness for the Prosecution" (with a double whammy shocker at the final curtain), and five other plays, each with its own unique quality. Interestingly, three of the plays - "Appointment With Death," "The Hollow," and "Go Back for Murder," are adapted (by Christe herself) from Poirot novels ("Go Back for Murder" is from the book "Five Little Pigs"), but none of the plays features Poirot, and, guess what: YOU WON'T MISS HIM! "Appointment with Death" has a different murderer in the play than in the book. Read the plays and compare them to the novels; double your pleasure!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
cterhark
The scientist Thomas Betterton, a brilliant young American who developed the ZE Fission technology that can be very important for modern warfare, has disappeared suddenly out of England. Has he been kidnapped or did he depart out of free will to work for the enemy? If Betterton's wife asks for permission to leave the country for a relaxing trip to Morocco, she gets followed by security agent Jessop. It all turns bad when her plane crashes on its way to Cassablanca. Nevertheless she succeeds in continuing her trip, but is not fully aware into which beehive she stumbles.
First of all it must be stated clearly that this is not a detective story, but an atempt at an espionage novel. When Agatha published Destination Unknown in 1954, Ian Flemming had just created his famous James Bond character in the novel Casino Royale. Although Agatha clearly has the intention of making the plot flamboyant and bursting with action, she never succeeds in coming close to the fantastic plots that Flemming created. It is clear that the specialty of the Queen of Crime lies in the typical whodunit with Poirot and Marple as the key-characters and not in novels of espionage. The plot of Destination Unknown is straightforward and, although some admirable attempts were made to surprise the reader, lacks the level of suspense that normally characterizes this type of thriller.
This book certainly does not belong to Agatha Christie's highlights. But then again, it is still remarkable that seen the enormous size of her oeuvre, she only wrote but a few really bad books.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen richardson
Not the usual Christie fare, this spy story keeps you in suspense from page 1. I thought it was well done, although the plot is highly improbable. Like most Christie's work, it focuses more on the psychological aspect than anything else. The writing is good. I could see several serious philosophical questions addressed, in a light style through the conversations and thoughts of the protagonists. Being a scientist myself, I truly appreciated this piece.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
liz hardesty
Written in Agatha's earlier years (1931), this mystery moves fast. A seance in a hamlet in Dartmoor, held to pass the time during a snowstorm, spells M-U-R-D-E-R. Not trusting the police to do justice, the finacee of the prime suspect takes charge of her own investigation, aided by a reporter who happened to be on the scene. Can they find the murderer? And what about the seance? Could the supernatural really be at work?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
fyeqa
I enjoyed this mystery very much. I've read most of Christie's mysteries, and own dvd's of her stories as well, but I hadn't come across this one before, and it charmed me with its newness. I like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot with his little gray cells, but the totally different cast of characters refreshed me. A great read for a gray day.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ngbengseng
Hilary Craven, the heroine of this story, wishes to commit suicide. The sleeping pills are on her bedside table and all is ready for self-imposed death when a knock on the door changes her plans. A young man tells her the story of a nuclear physicist who has disappeared. Hilary, intrigued by the drama, agrees to impersonate the scientist's wife and begins an improbable masquerade that leads her deep into Africa to an unknown destination.
This is a book you will probably want to read in one sitting because of its breathless excitement which culminates in a surprising ending.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
roxana bogacz
Excellent collection of Agatha Christie's plays that shows her versatility as an author. I was especially impressed by how she adapted several of her mysteries into plays with new twists in the plots.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jeraldo
The murder mystery aside, this book remined me of a Jane Austen book - I'm thinking of Mansfield Park. I really enjoyed the detectives - Inspector & Emily. They should have worked together again in a future book. I was slightly disappointed with the romatic storyline, a girl like Emily deserved better, as Major Burnaby says!

Still the cozy atmostphere, small town charactors & humor were all there, making this a worthwhile read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bindiya khanna
This was a wonderful book, I belive Agatha Christie to be the best mystery play writer. Her stories are very well written and she intertwines the nursery rymes very well, and still i am surprised at all the endings.I perticuly enjoyed the Moustra,. I was interested that play for an audition for my school production of the Moustrap and was happy to have many other wonderful plays in the book. It was inexpensive and in very good condition. I recommend it for all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
quyen nguyen
As others have noted, one must return to Agatha frome time to time. She of course is inarguably the most important influence in mystery fiction after Arthur Conan Doyle. She created a style that's been followed most notably by P.D. James and Ruth Rendell.This is a lesser known novel of hers with none of her well known characters, but nontheless is Christie at the top of her game playing form.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shawna
If you love mystery books, anything by Agatha Christie is a must read. She is known and for good reason, as the "Queen of Mystery". Although mainly known as an novelist, she was also known as a amateur archeologist(she was married to an archeologist and often travelled with him)and playwright.

The stories are written in a play format, hence there are many bracketed directions for the actors and may be distracting. However, the stories are pure Agatha Christie-- murder, intrigue, suspense and of course, a touch anti-climax thrown in.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathi
As a mystery novelist with my debut book in its initial release (and a one-time drama coach), I enjoy Agatha Christie's THE MOUSETRAP every time I view it. The text itself is a great read, and when it is properly staged, the play is spectacular. For those of you not familiar with THE MOUSETRAP, the plot involves a classic cozy murder mystery--perhaps the classic cozy murder mystery. The characters are well-drawn, and my wife even verbally gasped when she first saw the play's final plot twist. Great work. I hope it survives forever.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rascelle grepo
The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
Bantam Books, 1931
201 pages
Mystery; Cozy
3.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Summary: After a seance that predicts the death of Colonel Trevelyan, Major Burnaby journeys to his friend's house only to discover him dead. His nephew John Pearson is soon arrested as the most likely suspect but his fiancee Emily Trefusis is determined to solve the mystery and prove him innocent.

Thoughts: When I think about Agatha Christie mysteries, I mostly judge based on two aspects: the solution to the murder and the characters especially the main one. This Christie failed on both levels for me although until the end I was finding the story to be a very strong one. I think that was because it was one of her earlier ones-from 1931 as you can see.

The murder solution was unsatisfactory because I really liked the murderer and I thought the motive was stupid although heavily foreshadowed. I am also uncertain that there were really enough clues to understand his/her chance to kill the victim although again there was plenty of motive around.

I also did not like the main character, Miss Emily Trefusis who is engaged to the presumed murderer James Pearson and starts investigating to clear his name. She is a manipulative, strong-willed young woman who I disliked as insincere and as wasting her time on an unworthy man.

However the other characters are very colorful such as the invalid and bossy Miss Percehouse, journalist Charles Enderby, voluble Mrs Curtis, and Inspector Narracott. I did confuse a feel of them because they had less distinct personalities but overall I enjoyed spending time in Sittaford.

Overall: A strong mystery that is pretty good but I disliked some parts and that ruined it for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sara lamers
Classic English mystery, moors and all. Agatha Christie is always able to keep one guessing all the way, and in the end the
solution makes perfect sense. If you enjoy this type of story, you will find this a rewarding read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cmac
Destination Unknown is possibly my favorite Christie novel. It is filled with twists and turns and follows an incredibly likable woman named Hilary Craven who must pretend to be someone she is not. She is faced with a mysterious journey where each step takes her closer to danger and further from her previous life. Her goal is to find a missing scientific genius who has vanished into thin air. The reason for the disappearance is absolutely impossible to deduce until the very end. One of the main themes of this book is: the acceptance of inevitable captivity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
mar a umpi rrez
This mystery had a real twist that I was not anticipating which makes it so exciting! Have to say I didn't love Emily Trefusis as the main detective on this one - she kinds of grates on the nerves. But the plot certainly made up for it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
keith soans
Another one of Christie's espionage potboilers contains one of her best female protagonists. Hillary Craven starts out a tragic figure and becomes by the end, a clever, determined and complex character. Slight comparisons to Passenger to Frankfurt, which expands on the disappearing scientist thread more chillingly. As usual, Agatha tops off the adventure with some nice final twists.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
katinka22
You'll be able to tell who did the dirty deed in this one but the snowstorm plot device is very ingenious. A goofy seance begins the story and from there, the amateur sleuthing begins. The main characters seem somewhat like the enjoyable duo from Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Not a masterpiece, but as usual, Agatha tosses an extra red herring into the plot to throw you offguard.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
frances myers
Destination Unknown is possibly my favorite Christie novel. It is filled with twists and turns and follows an incredibly likable woman named Hilary Craven who must pretend to be someone she is not. She is faced with a mysterious journey where each step takes her closer to danger and further from her previous life. Her goal is to find a missing scientific genius who has vanished into thin air. The reason for the disappearance is absolutely impossible to deduce until the very end. One of the main themes of this book is: the acceptance of inevitable captivity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
scott
This mystery had a real twist that I was not anticipating which makes it so exciting! Have to say I didn't love Emily Trefusis as the main detective on this one - she kinds of grates on the nerves. But the plot certainly made up for it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
uthera
Another one of Christie's espionage potboilers contains one of her best female protagonists. Hillary Craven starts out a tragic figure and becomes by the end, a clever, determined and complex character. Slight comparisons to Passenger to Frankfurt, which expands on the disappearing scientist thread more chillingly. As usual, Agatha tops off the adventure with some nice final twists.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
garrison
You'll be able to tell who did the dirty deed in this one but the snowstorm plot device is very ingenious. A goofy seance begins the story and from there, the amateur sleuthing begins. The main characters seem somewhat like the enjoyable duo from Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Not a masterpiece, but as usual, Agatha tosses an extra red herring into the plot to throw you offguard.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sarah lang
Seances were in vogue in the world known to Agatha Christie in the early 1930s. Contemporary novelists and playwrights began to exploit their dramatic potential, and it was in 1931 that Agatha Christie incorporated one into her novel, "The Sittaford Mystery".

This ever-ingenious writer incorporates much else into the novel, of course. There are the "bright young things" of the Tommy and Tuppence variety, who contribute to the sleuthing undertaken by the local constabulary. There is an escaped convict. There is a snow-bound village. There are new residents from New Zealand, whom nobody knows and who may not be what they seem. There is a will, and legacy hunters who might be any of the characters in disguise.

Readers can therefore expect a tightly wrought, engrossing mystery. I was aware while reading it that it had much in common with "Murder at the Vicarage" and then discovered that it was the Christie novel that immediately followed it. Miss Marple is not here, however, nor is Hercule Poirot - both unsuited to trudging through the snow on Dartmoor.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lizzie
Too bad you can't give a book 0 stars, I would if I could. I read this book and found it SO boring (this might be because I read it when I was 10). I couldn't remember what I had read at the top of the page before I go to the bottom! This just proves how boring it was. And believe me, I was reading other mysteries at the time so I know a good one when I see it. Agatha Christie was NOT a good one.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
foster bass
It was a thrilling book that kept you wanting more.Once you get past the beginning you can't put it down.The characters were realistic and the story was believable.There's enough information for you to guess the killer but it's not obvious.I would recommend this book to mystery lovers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mustafa zidan
A. Christie's genius for detective fiction is unparalleled. Her worldwide popularity is phenomenal, her characters engaging, her plots spellbinding. No one knows the human heart -or the dark passions that can stop it- better than Dame Agatha Christie. She is truly the one and only Queen of Crime. Read this book, and you'll know why.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
adele mo
Let me start by saying I love Agathie Christie, she's one of my guilty pleasures. There's nothing cosier that sitting in a lovely warm living room reading an Christie novel while it's raining outside.

That being said, this novel is very odd and uninspiring. It's not one of her typical murder mysteries...and it's all very farfetched and just barely comes together in the end.

Fans of her usual material might seem a bit baffled by this 'novel'. This probably would have made a fine screenplay...but there's not enough coherence or guts to it, to make it a good novel as such. The characters also, are rather forgettable. The climax to the novel as well, is all rather odd and unimpressive.

A fast read notheless.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jan haas
i didn't care much for the other stories but Mousetrap was real good - I seem to have bought this book long ago- ofcourse the cover was different. What particularly impressed me about Mousetrap was that there were not many people in the cottage who could have "done it" and yet it was impossible to tell "who did it!"
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marsha jones
My personal favourite was "Ten Little Indians" with "The Mousetrap" coming in close second. "Witness for the Prosecution" and "Go back for Murder" were also pretty good. I felt as though the rest of the plays focused far too much on the character backstories and not enough on the actual murder at hand. But they aren't boring because Agatha Christie is a literary genius when it comes to murder mysteries!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
susan wagner
Not every Christie novel works and this attempt at adventure fiction must, like most of her similar attempts, be written off as a failed experiment. The plot is thin and generally improbable and most characters are caricatures.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
simon simbolon
Agatha Christie never fails to amaze. I have read quite a number of her books. The Sittaford Mystery, in my opinion, one of her best. The clues to the guilty party are all there, but so many other suspects were possible. Fully recommended to Kindle readers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shmuel
Agatha Christie rox! Every one of her stories are masterpieces! This book comes in perfect condition; not marred in any way. I give it two thumbs up. If you liked "And Then There Were None" you'll love "Mousetrap".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brenda baker
The Mousetrap is the first play I've read by Agatha Christie and it exceeded my expectations. It's every bit as good as one of her novels & I can see why it has set all records for English theatre.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
august
This compilation of Agatha Christie plays was just what I was looking for to use with my Readers Theatre Group. The only thing is that I wish the website would have listed the plays that were included - it was sort of a guessing game!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
dfchen
How can you not love Agatha Christie? I just finished directing The Mousetrap with a local university. Both students and faculty enjoyed it. Slightly dated but still pretty impressive for a 60 yr old show! Great fun - especially with the murderer's reveal at the end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jonathan woahn
Also (or perhaps originally) known as "The Murder at Hazelmoor." This is a pleasant story for an afternoon's reading, not complicated or taxing. A lot of familiar plot points, and the setting feels very familiar also, set in a big house during a bad snowstorm, roads are impassible and the wind is howling at the windows. Despite the weather, a few neighbors have come for an evening at Hazelmoor, where Mrs. Willett, the hostess, is a visitor to England, coming from South Africa to rent the house from Captain Trevelyan. The Captain has moved to a small house in the next town, but is not attending the small party. Also present are Mrs. Willett's daughter Violet, and four other guests, including Major Burnaby, who lives next door and is a good friend of Captain Trevelyan. Later in the evening, they decide to hold a séance for entertainment. To their amazement and horror, they receive a message that Trevelyan is dead. Despite being a total skeptic about such matters, Major Burnaby is unable to put aside his concerns, and sets out on foot to Captain Trevelyan's house. There he discovers the Captain has been bludgeoned to death.

Christie makes a fairly good case for each of the people involved to have committed the murder, but giving everyone the same alibi: they were all present at the house at the time of the murder. Or were they? The best part of the story was the atmosphere created by the snowstorm. Sort of a dark, dreary, and cold feeling throughout.
Please Rate The Sittaford Mystery (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection (Paperback))
More information