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Rocky Hill United States of America
Back in the Christie mystery wagon!
Sep 20, 2013 07:35 PM 3063 Views
(Updated Sep 21, 2013 07:41 PM)



“If you are to be Hercule Poirot, you must think of everything.” says Agatha Christie

“If you are to read Agatha Christie, you must not miss anything.” says Deepa :P

True to the latter quote, each piece of each short story in this book fitted nicely in proper place like a jigsaw puzzle. Every clue carried importance and every character description enjoyed finesse.

Mews’ is a British term that refers to a row of houses. But only the first story deals with a murder at this location. Usually in a book of short stories, we find some good and some bad ones. Here I had a tough time on deciding which one I loved most out of the four. Below is a description of all of them in no order of preference:

Murder in the Mews:

A 27 year old widow Mrs. Barbara Allen has apparently committed suicide at her home by shooting herself. However, the bullet wound is near her left temple on the head and the gun is found in the right hand. How did she manage such a complicated suicide? The simple suggestion is that a murder has been committed, but no evidence depicts so. The prime suspects are her fiance Charles Laverton who is a political figure, her roommate Miss Jane Plenderleith, servants in the household and major Eustace who was systematically blackmailing her with her stained past. The room is locked from the inside with only the chimney opening. No suicide note is recovered. The little Belgian is called to investigate. Will he be able to sort out the threads of this intertwined mystery?

The incredible theft:

This is the only story not revolving around any murder but deals with a high-profile theft. Lord Charles Mayfield, an ace engineer and a self-made millionaire has invited a few guests for stay.  One of the guests is Air Marshal Sir George Carringtonon. Charles needs to discuss the important plans and architecture of a new bomber with Carringtonon after all guests retire for the night. This plan will benefit Britain highly to reach a new level of supremacy.

When the stipulated time arrives, both of them are shocked to find that the plans that were there just a while ago are now missing. What follows is a call to the highly intelligent Hercule Poirot who starts his investigations immediately in the dead of the night! He carefully inquires all the guests and notes down clues. The clues seem to paint nearly all of them as culprits. Ranking high in the list of suspects is the beautiful Miss Vanderlyn who is known for being involved in wary and spying activities over many years. Will Poirot be able to find the real culprit?

Dead man’s mirror:

This story is about a rich oldie Chevenix Gore who commits suicide in his own vast mansion. Curiously, he had summoned Poirot but died even before they met. Why would a rich, egoistic and proud fellow commit suicide? Was it suicide at all? The suspects are many- An adopted daughter Ruth Gore, her fiancée, a not-so-dear good-for-nothing nephew Hugo Trent, a weird occult believer wife Lady Gore and an admirer of the wife Colonel Bury, the valet Snell and Gore’s secretary-Linda. The list just goes on. The clues are not few either- a bullet shaped pencil nearby, footsteps outside the window, a ‘suicide’ letter with SORRY written. It appears that the bullet has passed through his head and shattered a mirror on the far side of the room, but perhaps the alignment of the mirror suggests something else.

The triangle at Rhodes

The triangle refers to a love triangle; love that knows no bounds and is incapable of deciding on justice and injustice. A Rhodes hotel shelters a few guests, one of which is our Poirot. Poirot has headed here on a vacation to stay away from cases and work. Little does he know that a case is in store for him here too. Beautiful and flirty Mrs. Valentine Chantry, married for the fifth time, is poisoned to death with a heart poison mixed in a drink. The drink was actually meant for her husband- Navy commander Chantry. Mr. and Mrs. Gold are also staying at the same hotel. Mr. Gold seemed a bit too interested in Valentine. Did he mix the poison in the drink so that Mr. Chantry would get out of their path? The love triangle is not as simple as it looks.

My opinion: A quote says- “The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.” ? Christopher Morley

To give my opinion on this book, let me narrate an episode from real life.

Mystery of the recurring defect

Location: Our workplace meeting room (IT organization)

Agenda: Analysis of a recurring defect in our application.

Characters: Friend(team mate) and me

Situation: Totally baffling.

Friend: I simply cannot understand how this kind of message is coming here.

I: Neither can I

Friend: We have checked all the flows and this message is not passed from anywhere.

I: Wait, we may have not looked at all possibilities.

Friend: Like?

I(after microscopic scrutiny of the message): I have found the culprit. There is no space here – a typo error. This means it is not coming from any tool, someone has tampered with it.

Friend: Oh god, I didn’t imagine it would be this way.

I: You will think of this, if you read Agatha Christie.

The book literally trapped my mind to do my own thinking! So I can give due credit to Poirot!

Recommendation: I’m proud to be the first one reviewing this book. Go for it!

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Murder in the Mews - Agatha Christie