Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Christies That Didn't Make the Cut

Eighteen Agatha Christie mystery novels did not receive any mention on the 31 Favorite Christie lists I recently compiled. Here are the unloved (comparatively) Christie mysteries:

Seven Dials Mystery: clocked out
From the Twenties
The Murder on the Links (1923)
The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
The Big Four (1927)
The Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)
The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)

From the Thirties
Lord Edgware Dies (1933)
Dumb Witness (1937)

From the Fifties
They Came to Baghdad (1951)
They Do It with Mirrors (1952)
Dead Man's Folly (1956)
Cat among the Pigeons (1959)


From the Sixties
The Clocks (1963)
At Bertram's Hotel (1965)
Third Girl (1966)
Hallowe'en Party (1969)

From the Seventies
Passenger to Frankfurt (1970)
Elephants Can Remember (1972)
Postern of Fate (1973)

Let's give these uncosseted Christies another chance!  If you had to pick your favorites--let's say your Big Four--from this bunch, what would they be?  I'm sure Lord Edgware is dying to know!

23 comments:

  1. Blue Train, Dumb Witness, Cat among the Pigeons, Third Girl... Has to be Postern of Fate, as she returns in spirit to her old home, and puts the toys back in the box.

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  2. "At Bertram's Hotel" was my favourite as a teenager but I don't think I have read it since

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    1. I now definitely think it is underrated, as they say.

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  3. Man in the Brown Suit is one of my favourites, I should have included it in my top 5, and so is Cat Among the Pigeons. And if I HAD to pick 2 others from these, it would be Blue Train and 7 Dials.

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    1. I like Man in the Brown Suit and Seven Dials Mystery quite a bit. This would be my choices for best Christie thrillers, along with they Came to Baghdad, which no one has mentioned. Maybe no one wants to read books about Iraq anymore!

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  4. I always enjoy Cat Among the Pigeons. It's a messy mix of espionage and mystery, but the girls' school setting is irresistible! I also think Mirrors is a perfectly respectable mystery, although I figured out the ending almost immediately. Both of the mysteries you mentioned from the 30s are good, if not great, Christie's. At Bertrams hotel is pretty bad, but I love the early part of the book where they describe the hotel. It always makes me hungry! As for the 70's......well, they were dark years.

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    1. Yay! I'm usually alone in my love for Cat Among the Pigeons, but it was one of my first Christie-favorites in spite of the messy mix of genres. Its real flaw is that it was not written as a standalone and Poirot was dragged into the story towards the end.

      The only thing I remember of They Do It With Mirrors is that it came across as a Miss Marple version of Death on the Nile.

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    2. I like Cat among the Pigeons, but, yeah, what does Poirot do in this? I seem to recall he makes some deduction based on girls' knees. He is recessive in The Clocks too, come to think of it, so Poirot fans back in the day had to wait, like a decade, between Dead Man's Folly and Third Girl, for a full Poirot performance. AC really had tired of Poirot!

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  5. Cat Among the Pigeons (which I almost included in my top ten); Lord Edgware Dies; The Seven Dials Mystery; Dumb Witness

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    1. Yes, I think all of those are enjoyable ones!

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  6. I retain a certain fondness for Lord Edgeware Dies as it marks the first time I was completely flummoxed by Dame Agatha. I agree with Brad Friedman that while At Bertram's Hotel is not among Christie's best, the opening scenes in the hotel are wonderful, and the underlying idea is fascinating. If I may go slightly off topic, I think Joan Greenwood's star turn as Lady Selina is probably my favorite scene in the Joan Hickson Miss Marple series.

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    1. I liked At Bertram's Hotel a lot better on rereading, I must admit. Liked the Hickson film of it too, though I wish they had set it in the sixties.

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    2. I agree too about Lord Edgware. I think that's a major Thirties Christie, was surprised no one picked it on a list.

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  7. Let's give these uncosseted Christies another chance!

    Even Postern of Fate? I haven't read it but most people seem to regard it as her very worst book. Have I missed something? Is it actually a neglected masterpiece?

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    1. https://bloodymurder.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/postern-of-fate-1973-by-agatha-christie/

      It has a certain charm when you realize Christie is rummaging through her own childhood, but the plot is pretty dire and it does ramble so! Lucy R. Fisher is a great advocate for this one.

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  8. My own "big four" from this group would be, I think, Lord Edgware Dies, The Clocks, The Seven Dials Mystery and At Betram's Hotel. Throw in The Man in the Brown Suit or They Came to Baghdad or Cat among the Pigeons if I picked another.

    I did an oral book report in the eighth grade on The Seven Dials Mystery, waaay back in 1979 I think this was. Only time I ever stood up in grade school to tell my classmates about the genius of Agatha!

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  9. My big four would have to be: The Big Four (which is nothing like the horrific adaptation ITV did in Britain a few years ago), The Man in the Brown Suit, The Seven Dials Mystery and They Do it with Mirrors.

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    1. I thought The Big Four was kind of fun, in an Edgar Wallace sort of way. And it gives Captain Hastings a chance to be rather brave.

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    2. I'm planning on rereading it in that light. I think the problem though is that Poirot should not have been in that sort of book. But it certainly has zip lacking in, say, Elephants Can Remember.

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  10. Actually, I'm surprised. CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS is in my Top Ten. Also: THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT, one of my very favorite Christies. I reread both these books all the time. I also love DEAD MAN'S FOLLY and THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD, not to mention DUMB WITNESS aka POIROT LOSES A CLIENT. Hmmm, I am SO out of step. But, happily. :)

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    1. Brown Suit and Baghdad are, with Seven Dials, my favorite thrillers by AC. I think Cat has charm too.

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    2. I'm rereading it now - just for the heck of it. :) Did you happen to see the BBC(?) adaptation (done some years ago) of THE SEVEN DIALS? Absolutely top notch with Cheryl Campbell as Bundle Brent and Sir John Gielgud as the delightful Marquis of Caterhan and Harry Andrews as Superintendent Battle.

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