My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book #5 for 2016
PopSugar Challenge Categories:
– A book that takes place on an island – A book set in Europe
– A classic from the 20th century
Personal Challenge Categories:
– A book set in a capital city
– A book set on an island
– A book featuring Scotland Yard
Like The Big Four, this is a collection of short stories that were previously published in magazines and share a larger story arc about espionage. This book, however, is far more coherently organized and features Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, who are more naturally suited to the spy-thriller genre. They also play off of each other in a manner that is more rewarding than the Poirot/Hastings relationship. Tommy and Tuppence have always been my favorite Christie sleuths, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this immensely.
Another interesting feature of this collection is that Christie used Tommy, Tuppence, and their young assistant Albert to explore the methods of other classic detectives, including Poirot. Of course, I have read plenty of Poirot and Holmes as well as some Thorndyke, and I think I’ve even read a Father Brown. Though I suppose it couldn’t hurt to re-visit Father Brown, since it was apparently very long ago and did not make a lasting impression on me. I must admit I am a little disappointed in myself that I’d never even heard of some of the other sleuths mimicked in this collection. So you will probably see me adding the following to my reading list in the near future: Desmond Okewood, Tommy McCarty, Thornley Colton, Edgar Wallace, The Old Man in the Corner, Inspector Hanaud, Inspector French, Roger Sheringham, and Dr Fortune. It should make for an interesting study.
I also like that this book gives an interesting look at the culture of 1920s London through the eyes of an adventurous and witty young couple. If you enjoy the London-based storylines in Downton Abbey, you are sure to find this book a real treat.