Mr Holford's site for English

Agatha Christie

There are many writers in the crime fiction genre, but Agatha Christie (1890-1976) has been given the title The Queen of Crime.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She has sold over two billion books worldwide and has been translated into over 45 languages. In a writing career that spanned more than half a century, Agatha Christie wrote eighty novels and short story collections. She also wrote over a dozen plays, including The Mousetrap, which is now the longest running play in theatrical history [opening night was on 25 November 1952 and it has been performed every night since] Source:

This is the page for 8A English to write their reviews of their chosen Agatha Christie novel. Remember – you can read any Agatha Christie novel of your choice and you must have finished reading it and written a detailed review by the end of this topic. This review is compulsory, not optional, so I will be considering your review from a variety of perspectives. For more information on writing a good review, go to and follow the instructions you find there.



  1. The Clocks by Agatha Christie

    When a young girl from an agency is called upon to be a typist for an elderly blind woman, she gets an overwhelming surprise when she almost tramples on a dead man in the woman’s front living room. The man’s identity was unknown, and young Sheila Webb was even more shocked when the elderly Miss Pebmarsh denied having called upon her services in the first place, and the whole thing was a hoax.

    The case became even more suspicious when Detective Hardcastle, a tall, poker-faced man with expressive eyebrows discovered four clocks in one of the bedrooms all set almost an hour ahead of time. Miss Pebmarsh also denied them being of her possession.

    As the detective looks deeper into the mystery the murderer confesses to his wrongdoing, which begs the question was this case really ‘solved?’ I found it interesting when the murderer actually confessed instead of being caught out.

    An over-supply of red herrings, abundant coincidences and the combination of spying and romance sit disagreeably together resulting in nothing more than displeasure for the reader. For me the book just seemed to go on forever and with nothing achieved until the very end of the story. I breathed a sigh of relief once I had finished reading it, and say with disappointment that The Clocks was much less entertaining and enjoyable than I thought it would be. The blurb had me believing that this murder mystery really was worth reading, but honestly I felt like giving up less than half way through.

    The book really only started to warm up towards the end, by which point I was wondering if I could get through another page! Definitely not one of Agatha Christie’s best novels. If I could make suggestions I would recommend a consistent flow of intriguing new clues that build tension and create suspicion to make it irresistable for the reader not to read another chapter.

    To sum up my review, I think that the novel was calling out for more drama and adrenaline. To me, this book was nothing more than just another murder mystery waiting to be solved.

    Comment by Kate Bailey — March 24, 2012 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  2. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie is a crime mystery novel and was first published in 1932. One Tuesday night 12 men and women are brought together and one of the men blurts out “unsolved mysteries” and the “Tuesday Night Club” was formed. The “Tuesday Night Club” is when these men and women get together and tell each other about crime mysteries that they have been involved in. The person telling the story usually knows the ending, but not always. In this group Miss Marple is one of the characters and she is an absolute expert in solving these mysteries. In ALL of the stories without fail she is always right!

    I had high hopes for this book as it being my first crime mystery novel, but this book was (in my opinion) terribly BORING! Some of the stories were great, but after 3 chapters, Ms Marple was continuously right. I was getting so bored by the 6th chapter because I knew what the ending was going to be, “Miss Marple is right once again”.

    The ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper claims that “The plots are so good that one marvels… most of them would have made a full-length thriller.” Well to be quite honest, i’m not sure the person that wrote this review was reading the same book as me!

    Perhaps I was too young to read this book and I don’t understand the plot’s and cleverness of this book yet.

    I also didn’t like this book because it wasn’t what I call a ‘page turner’. I love books where I can go away thinking about what will happen and be wanting to read it, with this book I found myself making in something I ‘had’ to do instead of wanting to do it.

    I might have had too higher hopes for this book because it was an Agatha Christie book and she has a HIGH reputation, but honestly I wouldn’t waste my time nor money on this book!

    I would recommend this book to someone perhaps a bit older than me or someone my age who likes reading boring books.
    I was very disappointed by this book.

    Comment by Rachel Jones — March 19, 2012 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  3. Death on the Nile

    ‘Death on the Nile’ by Agatha Christie is a well known murder mystery, crime novel. Linnet Ridgeway is a very beautiful, wealthy and successful young woman who seems to have everything except love. Then her best friend Jacqueline de Bellefort announces her engagement to Simon Doyle, a handsome man with no money. Linnet, who takes a fancy to Simon, steals his heart and marries him herself. The young couple go on a honeymoon to Egypt, including a cruise on the Nile River, however they are followed by the jealous and eager for revenge – Jacqueline.

    Amongst the passengers on the cruise are a number of interesting characters including a jewel thief, a criminal and other people with their own stories and problems. By coincidence, one of Christie’s best known detectives, Hercule Poirot, happens to be holidaying on board. Suddenly Linnet Doyle is murdered and many events take place creating tension and suspicion between the characters on board with them all revealing their secrets and stories that lead us to believe that almost any one of the passengers could be the killer!

    The plot thickens as the story unfolds, with a number of false leads and red herrings that are presented to the reader, providing a number of twists and turns. Alibis are established and evidence revealed as detective Poirot questions all the passengers to attempt to piece together the crime. As Poirot digs deeper into the Linnet’s murder two more victims are found dead and jewelry is missing, leading our detective further toward the truth.

    I really enjoyed this book and the way the author wrote it as she kept you guessing until the few pages. The ending was very clever and seemed impossible although when you thought about it, it made perfect sense. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good murder mystery.

    By Clare Askey

    Comment by Clare Askey — March 14, 2012 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  4. The Mysterious Mr Quin – Agatha Christie

    The main character is an old man named Mr Satterthwaite, who is a wealthy englishman. He is described as someone who likes to sit back and watch the dramas of life instead of participating. When the mysterious Mr Quin appears though, he becomes the lead role of the dramas.

    It started with a house-party at Royston where the men were sitting around the fire talking about a suicide that had occurred in the house. A man appeared at the door and introduced himself as Mr Harley Quin. They continued their talk about the death of Derek Capel and taking Mr Quin’s advice they were able to solve the mystery of why he killed himself.

    I was surprised when the mystery was solved by the end of the chapter instead of continuing through the book. After a few more chapters where Mr Quin arrives or is met by Mr Satterthwaite and Mr Satterthwaite solves a mystery, murder or suicide I realised that it is a series of short stories instead of 1 story.

    At first Mr Quin seemed like a normal person who just happens to keep running into Mr Satterthwaite but further into the book it began to show hints that he isn’t normal. Everywhere he was a death had either happened or was going to happen.

    A recurring thing that was mentioned was the name Harlequin who was an immortal . It didn’t make any sense at first but there seemed to be a connection between him and Mr Quin. I was 4 pages from the end when I realised that Harley Quin and Harlequin were the same person, on the very last page if you read carefully it actually tells you that Mr Quin is Harlequin.

    The book was confusing at first but as I understood it more and began to realised what was happening it became more creepy. I picked it because it seemed interesting but when I first began to read I thought it was slightly boring. After the first 3 chapters I became interested and I had to find out what was going to happen at the end.

    Something I found interesting were all the different characters Mr Satterthwaite met. Each was different and there was something interesting about all of them. It was great to see a similar event happen to different people and to see how their character reacted to it.

    It is a fantastic book and will keep you guessing who the mysterious Mr Quin is until the end. I recommend it for anyone who has a love of mysteries, it is a book you have to read!

    Comment by Hope Hyatt — February 29, 2012 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  5. Book Review The big four!
    My Book even though i didn’t finish it, it was a good book and this is what it was about,
    Poirot saw a man in his room and the man fantod, he was not dead but in shock from something, he kept writing number 4 and kept repeating saying number four very faintly. I really can’t remember, but in the end poirot and hastings gets kidnapped by the big four, which was a group of murderess killing people and poirot and hastings were trying to figure out who they were. poirot and hastings escaped and they go back to london.
    Chi-yang number one of the big four committed suicide.

    Comment by kate Ryan — April 6, 2011 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

    • sorry its no very good 😦

      Comment by kate Ryan — April 6, 2011 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

  6. Sorry about the title not being in italics… I copied and Pasted from a word document and it was in italics then. Sorry because I know that I got maked down on my poster because of it.

    Comment by Weeny Morton — April 6, 2011 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

    • No need to apologise. It’s tricky using italics on this blog, unless you know some HTML. I usually put the first instance of a title in bold & italics for students so that it is easier to scan titles down the page.

      Comment by peterholford — April 6, 2011 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  7. Agatha Christie, ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE, a M. Herclue Poirot Mystery

    Everyone fears the dentist, even M. Herclue Poirot. His mouth stuffed with cotton wool and hot air being puffed down a cavity, Poirot can not speak, although his dentist, Mr. Morley, seems good enough.
    So why then, fifteen minutes after Poirot steps out of the surgery, does Mr. Morley commit suicide?
    Poirot is called to the surgery again, this time to investigate. He does not think Morley committed suicide. He suspects murder.
    Soon, the case is turned into a murder inquiry. But why then, was Morley killed?
    For fifteen minutes before and after the crime was committed, in the surgery waiting room was the famous detective, M. Herclue Poirot, a mysterious Greek, Mr. Amberiotis and a rich Banker who could quote: “buy up half of Europe if he wanted to.”, Mr. Alistair Blunt.
    So why kill the inoffensive dentist?
    Two murders follow Morley’s death. One looks as if it could have been committed by Morley himself.
    The other one could hold the key to solving Morley’s death. Could it be that Monsieur Herclue Poirot basis of his theory of the murder on a shoe without a buckle… and then a shoe with one?
    Poirot must be aware. The murder may be under his nose the whole time…

    Overall, this is hardly Christie’s finest work. It has hardly any suspense, none of the characters are introduced properly, leaving the reader feeling completely lost, fails to engage the reader and has no proper plot.
    Poirot also seems to have differing personalities. From being a quaint, polite foreigner he can turn into being slightly snobby and pushy.
    Christie creates a story that has no material or suspense to it, therefore, when reading it, you feel as if rather than reading a detective novel, it is as though you are reading a poorly written narrative with a few brutal murders thrown in.
    Poirot’s conclusion and the murder’s confession, although ingenious, is far to complicated and chock-a-block that you [the reader] are left with no satisfaction of the solving of the case and feel as though you are being dragged along by a rambling, tiresome line.
    The ending (after the solving of the case and the murderer’s confession) is only approximately one and a half pages long. This is hardly adequate and is incredibly confusing.
    In this book, Christie seems to struggle to find the right balance between a satisfactory chapter and rambling on pointlessly.
    The title, ONE, TWO, BUKLE MY SHOE, although catchy, is a rather irrelevant. It is simply named this as Poirot says a line of the rhyme in each chapter, but you must keep your eyes peeled for this as it is easy to miss in the text.
    Overall, this is a bit of a let down from the Queen of Crime. Christie seems fond of using rhymes as titles for her books, but this one hardly up to scratch and it is probably not really worth reading unless you have nothing better to do.

    Comment by Edwina Morton (Weeny) — April 6, 2011 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

    • WEENY THAT IS SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

      Comment by Sophia Thatcher — April 7, 2011 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  8. The Man in a Brown Suit.

    Over the last few months I have completed the book The Man In A Brown Suit written by Agatha Christie.

    Recently Orphaned young woman, Anne Beddingfeild. Poor. lonely and confused witnesses the death of a middle aged man falling to his death at a busy London Tube Station and a mysterious man in a brown suite, claiming to be a doctor he declares the death of the man. He drops a piece of paper noting a location and a number. This becomes a major clue throughout the book.

    Later that week the death of a famous dancer in her hillside mansion is reported with several links to the murder at the Tube Station. Anna grows suspicious and begins to investigate. By this time the book is becoming very exiting and a little suspenseful. Who dunit begins to take its place in the story.

    Anne discovers that she needs to go on a cruise ship to South Africa to conclude her case. This is where the best majority of the investigation really takes place.

    The book is very lively and easy going. I like how the book is set on a cruise and how Anna is constantly meeting new people and therefore new suspects. All together the novel was generally enjoyable. There were a few parts where the use of old English language was used so the book became very tiring and difficult understand at times.

    Olivia Eichorn.

    Comment by Olivia Eichorn — April 6, 2011 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  9. Towards Zero By Agatha Christie

    For English I read the book Towards Zero By Agatha Christie. This book is written from about five or six different characters point of view. It is about an elderly woman, Lady Tressilan, who invites seven house guests to Gulls Point for two weeks. Neville Strange (tennis star) and his new wife, Kay, his ex wife, Audrey (which makes things awkward), Edward Latimer, Kay’s friend and Audrey’s secret lover, Thomas Royde, Audrey’s Cousin, Mr Treves, an old solicitor (also a friend of Lady Tressilan), Andrew MacWhirter, a stranger, Inspector Leach and Superintendent Battle. The guests all get to know each other at a garden party at Lady Tressilan’s house. But there are some big augments between people.

    Everything will change when Mr Treves dies from a ‘mysteries heart attack’. And the only clue they have is a sign on the lift saying ‘out of order’ but it actually still works.
    Then, Lady Tressilan is murdered too. And all the evidence points towards Neville Strange. But he has an alibi! So instead Audrey is the new suspect. And when someone else is found dead, Audrey is locked up.

    Could the augments have sparked something, or is it what Mr Treves earlier stated, ‘all converging towards a given spot.. And then when time comes – over the top! Zero hour. All converging towards zero hour!’ everyone (including the murderer) are heading towards zero.

    I found it a hard book to read because of the changing perspectives of the different characters. I sometimes lost what was happening to who and where. I had to reread sections to understand the plot. But it is still a clever story with many twists and turns.

    The end is unexpected, and you wouldn’t believe who the murderer is…

    By Sophia Thatcher

    Comment by Sophia Thatcher — April 6, 2011 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  10. Hickory dickory dock the mouse ran up the clock the clock struck on the mouse ran down hickory dickory dock
    Childs nursery rhyme or murder mystery
    My name is grace smyth and i read ‘hickory dickory dock ‘ by agatha christie i must say not really the book for me
    it was quite boring it took about one third of the book to get up to the point of murder leaving not enough of the book to fully understand the concept
    in the story things are going missing and not valuable things. Things that would only annoy people if they went missing
    I was first drawn to the book when i heard the title it sounded like a story that would keep you guessing and confused however i got about half way into the book and i had not the faintest idea about anything the clues went around and around in my head but i could not work it out i had my suspicions but then they were eliminated by new clues or an unexpected part of the book that threw me off course the book was hard to read due to it being boring and therefore hard to remember anything that was going on.The book although not my kind of book i can still see it being interesting due to the amount of guessing in the book even though that was one of the main reasons that i did not like it it kept changing even though that is one of the main purposes of a who dunnit it was very frustrating this book staring Hercule Pirot and his secretary miss lemon the book had an awful lot of suspense it kept going back to the basic idea of the story but as i said it spent to much time focusing on the introduction giving not enough time to get the whole idea
    if you want to know more about this book you will have to read it yourself
    The same books are not boring for everyone.

    Comment by Grace Smyth — April 5, 2011 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

  11. The Thirteen Problems
    “The Thirteen Problems” is written by Agatha Christie and was first published by Collins, in 1932. Agatha Christie is an English author who has written many books which include 80 crime novels and short stories. “The Thirteen Problems” is one of the Miss Marple series.

    “The Thirteen Problems” is a book about a small group of people called the “Tuesday Night Club”. They each take turns in telling the rest of the group a mystery which the other members of the group have to solve. The person who is telling the story is supposed to know the answer of the crime. The group is told a number of things about the event which happened including the suspects and information about them, clues, red herrings and also any other additional information. When each person guesses the ending to the story no one gets it right, except for the old Miss Marple. In each chapter a different story is told and always Miss Marple solves the problem. She is the oldest of the group and the least likely and least expected to come up with the most amazing and unexpected conclusion to the crime. She states: “I always find one thing very like another in this world” and that is often the method she uses to solve the problem. After a while the others get jealous and annoyed that no one else except Miss Marple can find the conclusion. The first six stories that are told are told in the “Tuesday Night Club” are with a small gathering of people. Following Miss Marple’s success in the “Tuesday Night Club” she is invited by Sir Henry Clithering to go to a dinner party. The final story happens after the dinner party when Miss Marple asks Sir Henry Clithering to help solve the problem.

    My favourite problem in this book is “The Blood Stained Pavement” in chapter four. The characters interest me and especially how the problem was solved. In this chapter I also liked the characters and the way that the story was. My least favourite chapter is “The Blue Geranium” because the story, characters and plot was very hard to follow. “The Thirteen Problems” is an engaging book as the story keeps changing. It keeps the reader interested working out how each mystery is solved and the method Miss Marple uses to solve it. With this said, I believe “The Thirteen Problems” is very predictable, slow in parts and therefore and average book.

    Comment by Nicola — April 5, 2011 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

  12. Murder on the orient express By Agatha Christie
    Hercule Poirot is catching the Orient Express on a 3 day journey across Europe. He thinks that it will be a nice, peaceful journey.
    A man named Ratchett approaches Poirot claiming that his life is in danger and he wants Poirot to take the “case” for him. He offers him big money Poirot refuses. Ratchett then offers him twenty thousand dollars but again Poirot refuses saying “Mr Ratchett forgive me for being personal, I do not like the look of your face.”

    One night Poirot wakes up with a dry throat, he hears a loud groan and a “ting” of a bell in the carriage next door to him. Then there is the click of a wash basin being pulled down and some splashing noises then another click of a wash basin being pushed back up.
    Shuffling footsteps of someone in slippers can be heard then silence. Poirot slips back into an uneasy sleep.

    The next morning Poirot is approached by one of the carriage attendants and is told that the man (Ratchett) in the compartment next door to him had been murdered.
    Poirot and doctor Constantine investigates the scene and the doctor claims that it occurred around 1am and he was stabbed 12 times in the chest.

    Poirot now accepts the case and discovers that the murderer could not escape the train due to the snow, but is amongst the passengers on the train.

    Poirot finds a burnt scrap of paper saying “ -member of little Daisy Armstrong” Poirot then immediately knows why Ratchett had to leave America and that his real name is not Ratchett but it is Cassetti.

    There was a couple who had had a baby called Daisy. When she was 3 years old a vicious gang kidnapped her and demanded 200, 000 dollars ransom, but before it was paid her body was found.
    Her mum was expecting another baby. But from the shock of her first daughter being killed the baby was born premature and dead, she also died and her husband shot himself.
    Ratchett or Cassetti was the leader of the gang.

    Poirot interviews Ratchett or Cassetti’s secretary and he shows them 2 threatening letters that Poirot received-

    “Thought you’d double cross us and get away with it did you? Not on your life. We’re out to GET you Ratchett and we WILL get you!”

    “We’re going to take you for a ride Ratchett. Some time soon. Were going to GET you see?”

    I won’t tell you any more because I don’t want to give away the story, but I do recommend it to you.

    Comment by Ellie Rowlings — April 4, 2011 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  13. Okay, so here I am. About to write a review on an Agatha Christie book. Personally I wouldn’t normally try to write a good review on a book like this but I mean, a block of chocolate is on the line. So here goes.

    I read the book Problem at Pollensa Bay, a collection of eight short stories.
    The 8 stories in this book are:
    Problem at Pollensa Bay
    The Second Gong
    Yellow Iris
    The Harlequin Tea Set
    The Regatta Mystery
    The Love Detectives
    Next to a Dog
    Magnolia Blossom

    Since I can’t explain them all to you, I will go on about the general gist of them.
    All of them start off with a mystery, sometimes it is told straight away, other times it takes a while before a problem is even introduced.
    Most star the character of Hercule Poirot.

    My favourite story is The Second Gong.
    This story starts off with Hercule Poirot visiting Lytcham Close, one of the most famous houses in England. Its owner Hubert Lytcham Roche, was elderly and starting to go I guess you could say, a little crazy.
    Every night there are two sounds of the gong. When that second sound has rung, you must immediately be at dinner, ready to walk into the dining room. If guests were ever late, they simply would never again be invited.

    When a lady by the name of Joan Ashby thinks she hears the second sound of the gong she rushes to dinner. At dinner everyone is waiting for Mr. Lytcham Roche who is never, ever late. Everything starts to get a bit weird and they decide to go and check out where he is. It just so happens that this was not infact the noise of the gong. It was actually the sound of a murder being committed, the murder of Mr. Lytcham Roche himself.

    Eventually H.Poirot saves the day, after interviewing everyone and using evidence to find the killer.
    …who was it? You have to read to find out…

    To be honest, I found these really fairly boring in short.
    These stories were mostly so short that before you even had a chance to get into it, they had already finished. They were fairly predictable and didn’t keep me guessing. I think that these stories, if they were longer probably would be quite good novels but in this form they really weren’t appealing and I found it hard to finish the book. I also found that most of them had much the same things happen/ she used the same techniques/ideas. It needed to be switched up alot more.

    I think this book would be good for some, but not my cup of tea. I would only recommend it to people who love murder mystery books.

    Comment by Alison Cala — April 3, 2011 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  14. Mr Holford im really sorry this review is really bad sorry:(

    Comment by Izzy Watson — April 3, 2011 @ 8:56 am | Reply

    • Don’t worry Izzy, I’ve seen much worse!

      Comment by peterholford — April 4, 2011 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

    • IZZY this review is AWESOME
      GOOD JOB!!!!!!!

      Comment by Ellie Rowlings — April 4, 2011 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  15. I read the book Endless Night by Agatha Christie
    A man named Michael Rogers comes to Kingston Bishop and notices a for sale sign on a window in the main street, trying to sell the “valuable” property called “The Towers”. He is told by one of the locals that it is called “Gypsy’s acre” around the town, because legend says that Gypsy’s used to live there. He is told that there has been terrible accidents at Gypsy’s Acre, even Death.
    At the start of the book it is hard to keep reading it, because there is nothing really interesting and it is all about his past. The first half exciting is that Michael and Ellie get married and they buy gypsies acre.
    When they decide to move into the house weird things start happening.
    Nothing shocking happens really in the middle if the book, Some interesting things, but not much. The Murder only happens in the last part of the book, which if you like getting to know the characters,setting and other facts and parts of the book, you will probably like this book. In my opinion this book isn’t as suspenseful as some other agatha christie books have been described as.
    The murderer was not who you thought it would be and was a little bit sad when you find out who was murdered. Overall this book was alright. It isn’t a very good murder story, it was more crossed between a love story and a murder mystery. I probably wouldn’t read it again.
    If you like very suspenseful and stories this is not going to be a good book for you.

    Comment by Izzy Watson — April 3, 2011 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  16. The Body In The Library by Agatha Christie

    In English We had to read an Agatha Christie novel and report back on it. At first I wasn’t keen to read the book, but now that I have finished I found that it was quite a good book.

    At the start of this book there is a seventeen year old girl murdered in Mr and Mrs Bantry’s house and no-one knows who this girl is. But then Mrs Bantry calls Miss Marple her friend to solve the case. It took along time to work out evidence in this book and at times I found it very slow.

    They later find the girl is from a small village called Danemouth just outside the town of Glossington where the murder takes place. Her name is Ruby Keene but her real name is Rosy Legge. Miss Marple’s character seemed like a very nice and organised person but is also very good at solving murders. She gets help from other characters too which then encourages Miss Marple to keep going with the case.It is a meritorious and suspenseful novel.In places I couldn’t stop reading. But I won’t tell you you any more you just have to read it for yourself to find out more.

    Agatha Christie is a very talented writer you feel like you are there investigating with Jane Marple because she makes the book come to life.
    Agatha’s choice of words, grammar and equine style of imagination is what she is remembered and famous for.

    Even though this was a slow book in my opinion, I still enjoyed it.I do recommend it is a good book.

    By Monica Connolly

    Comment by Monica Connolly — April 2, 2011 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

    • Hi Monica, nice little review. Can you explain what you mean by an “equine style of imagination”?

      Comment by peterholford — April 4, 2011 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  17. Submitted on 2011/03/31 at 3:34 pm
    Agatha christie review
    I did the book The ABC Murders,
    It was about a serial killer on the loose He work his way through the alphabet after he murders someone he leaves behind a Abc railway guide next to the corpse open to the name of the town where the murder has been taken place.
    Before each murder the killer send Hercule Poirot a letter stating when and were the murder will take place.
    he send Poirot on a big adventure trying to discover who the killer is leaving his signature railway guide behind Poirot get his team in to help him but they still cant discover who the killer is.
    Most of the killing took place in shops or little local stores in quite towns but whilst the murders happened nothing was stolen.
    There was a lot of suspects that Poirot came along during his findings and new clues.
    Along the way the killer make a mistake which Poirot picks up on yet again the famous Hercule Poirot out smarts the killer again and wins the battle.
    I dont think that this was one of her best books because it was very tricky to understand and jumped a lot so i found it quite boring due to not understanding it.
    But overall it was a good book with lost of murders and suspense on who was the killer the tittle really suited the book and i think the railway guide gave the book a great twist.

    By Amy Byrnes

    Comment by Amy Byrnes — March 31, 2011 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  18. About two weeks ago in English my class was told that we were to find an Agatha Christie book, read it and write a review by the end of the term. “Easy” was my first thought but this hasn’t really being that. So I went to the library and had a browse at all of the books they had and at all of the covers (I know you are not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover but I can’t help it). I choose a book called The Mystery of the Blue Train because the cover and title looked the best. I took it home and read the first page of the book and almost fell asleep it was so boring.

    After…… a while I came back to the book and thought ” the sooner you finish this boring book the sooner you can get on with other things”. So I picked up the book and kept on reading when I found that the book actually got interesting. When I had finished half of the book it was starting to really annoy me. I wanted them to just tell me who the murder was. But I knew I couldn’t skip half the book but when I had about six or so chapters left I couldn’t wait so I flicked through the pages and found out who the murder was and went back and continued reading.

    So here is what the book is about and yes I am going to tell you who the murder is because well, I just have to tell you who it is.

    This book starts off with an American millionaire purchasing some really expensive rubies. After he goes to his daughter (Ruth Kettering) who is the person he cares about most and gives her these precious rubies as a present. Anyway the next day she goes on this luxurious train from London to Paris (I think that’s right) and she is murdered on the way with her rubies stolen. The main suspect is her husband who she was divorcing at the time and upon her death inherits all of her money which was two million pounds. 

    The murder ends up being her fathers assistant, Knighton who is a international jewel thief with the help of Ruth’s maid, Ada. I could not believe that they were the murders even though I know it is the person you least expect.

    I really enjoyed this book and I had lots of fun reading the first half of it even though it took a while to finish reading it. I would recommend reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.

    Comment by Brianna H — March 9, 2011 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

    • Nice little review, Brianna, and yes – I’m glad you ended up enjoying it. This kind of book is ‘an acquired taste’ but some people who get the taste for them end up addicted! Check your use of the word murder/murderer.

      Comment by peterholford — March 9, 2011 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

    • the bestest review:):)

      Comment by Izzy Watson — April 7, 2011 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  19. Third Girl
    out of “Crime Collection” by Agatha Christie

    It is a normal morning for Hercule Poirot. He is sitting in his study when George bustles in, “There is a young lady out there who would like to see you. She says she thinks she may have committed a murder.”
    “Bring her in.” says M. Poirot.

    What happens in this meeting between possible murderer and detective? Why does this young lady act so strangely? Is she hiding something? What is so unusual about this case?

    It was about a third through the term and we had had the task for a week or so when I was looking through the library one night during prep. I picked up this book and started to read. I thought that this book was an ok read. I didn’t particularly enjoy it though because I don’t really enjoy the crime fiction genre.

    I think that this book would be enjoyed more by someone who enjoys the crime fiction genre a bit more.

    It is a bit heavy reading because the text was really small and i found it very easy to lose my place and I found the story line a bit hard to follow.

    Over all it was an ok book. I think had I put a bit more time into choosing a book I may have enjoyed it a bit more.

    P.S. Be prepared for some strange things in the book!

    Comment by Katie C — March 7, 2011 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • First review – well done Katie. I would have liked to hear more about the murder and the other ‘strange things’ in the book.

      Comment by peterholford — March 7, 2011 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

    The Unexpected guest

    It was a chilly evening, and swirls of mist obscured parts of the dark, narrow, tree lined country road. The distant barking of a dog could be heard and a the melancholy call of a night bird. Along the dark road an enormous house with a spacious garden. It was at this point that a car sat with its to front wheels were caught in a ditch, at the side of the road. It attempted to get free but it didn’t work. The engine fell silent. The driver went to the huge house to seek help. He knocked on the window but there were no answer.He entered the room seeing nothing. He then shone a torch around the room only finding a man in a chair… DEAD. This may seem strange but the strangest bit was that a women was standing a few metres behind him with a revolver… but was she the one that killed him or was it some one else. There are other people in the house that night but did not hear the bang. WHO WAS THE MURDERER????
    This is a great book. I recommend this to anyone because it’s so good. I couldn’t put the book down because i wanted to know how it ended. A very good book indeed.

    Comment by Christie Turnbull — July 22, 2010 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  21. ok, ok, I know it sounds silly writing this after the chocolate bar was given out too two of my wonderfully talented classmates, but I finally, after reading the book a couple of times, collected my laptop, and now am writing this.

    Evil under the Sun, an interesting title is it not??
    when I was wandering around the library, searching out my terms books, i came across it, after finally remembering that I needed too read an Agatha Christie book. The title struck me as different and many things ran across my mind as I read the blurb on the back.
    I started reading it that prep night and for some reason after all that I’d heard about the way Agatha Christie wrote, the first half was actually very interesting, maybe the fact it was following different view points, one of them being Herucle Poirot the famous detective, a middle aged man, the thougts of a young woman of the name of Linda, a designer and a school teacher, whose type of teaching was unbeknown to the reader.
    all are on a holiday with other characters at the ‘Jolly Roger Hotel’, when one, the stepmother of Linda and the flirtacious wife of Mr Marshall, an old friend of the designer known, is strangled one morning whilst rowing at Pixy Cove.
    All of a sudden all these unknown truths are found out, some completely obvious, but unknown too the reader all are completely important, until the last five pages, where you learn the identity of the murderer, or is it murderers???
    I completely enjoyed this book and I think many Agatha Christie loving readers should read it, and as a Yr12 girl told me, and I completely agree that it is a well writen book and out of the books I have read, it is the best!

    Comment by catriona Graham — June 3, 2010 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  22. I have read a book called The Big Four by Agatha Christie. I thought this book was sensational and everyone should read it. I know that your not supposed to tell everyone what is going to happen but this is a book review and to show you what a fantastic book it really is, I simply have to.

    It starts off with Hastings going to visit Piorot. Upon his arrival Piorot was faced with the task of a murder case. Hastings notices that he is more hooked to this case than he usually is. After solving a couple of ‘unrelated’ murders, Piorot becomes convinced that they all relate to the one murderer. This then leads to more cases to be solved, each victim seeming to have found out about the secret organisation. This group consisted of four members (hence the name ‘The Big Four’). Number one is a China man, number two is an American, number three is a french lady, and number four is only known as ‘the destroyer’. Through each murder mystery Piorot discovers a little more about each member and slowly works on the exact identities.

    Both Piorot and Hastings come frightfully close to death on several occasions which keeps the reader hooked. One of the best things about this book is that you never know what to expect, and when you do there is always something else attached that changes the meaning entirely. The ending is brilliant, although I suspected the red herring, if one were not as smart as me it would have been perfect. Piorot’s death was feigned and so together, with the help of some others, they were able to finish the Big Four off once and for all.

    At the very beginning there was a murder to get you hooked, and trust me, that hook never lets go! Once you begin there is murder after murder and constantly new things to solve and puzzle over. This is definitely one of my favourite books and EVERYONE should read it at some point.

    So there you have it. My opinion on this outstanding book. Some of you will agree, some of you will disagree entirely but perhaps others might go and read it. If you are one of the ones that chose to simply ignore it and continue to read down the page to other reviews, you are sorely mistaken and you ought to rethink your decision. This just may end up being one of your favourite books too.

    I rest my case.

    Comment by Phoebe Parry — May 31, 2010 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  23. The Mysterious Mr. Quin, by Agatha Christie.

    I read this short story over the weekend, it is set on New Years Eve and there is a house party taking place at a country house called Royston. The hosts were Tom and Laura Evesham and the guests are Mr Satterthwaite, Sir Richard Conway, Alex Portal and his Australian wife Eleanor.
    Mr Satterthwaite finds Eleanor intriguing.

    When the clock strikes midnight the older members gather around the fire, during their chat the name Derek Capel came up, he was the previous owner of Royston, who committed suicide ten years ago without reason. The Tom interups them takeing them off that topic and the women tottle off to bed.

    Once the women had left the men continue their conversation on Capal but they are unsure whether they should continue or not as the word ghosts comes up. Then there is a knock at the door and when opened a man come in and introduces himself as Mr Harley Quin, he asks if he could stay as he had no where else to stay for the night as his chauffeur is fixing their broken-down car. Mr Quin knew Mr Capal and steers the conversation to that subject on why Derek Capal would take his own life. Satterthwaite feels that Quin’s arival was not an accident. Whilst the men continue their conversation Satterwaite sees Eleanor crouched down at the top of the stairs.

    On the night of Capal’s death he announced that he was to be engaged, everyone assumed that this was to Marjorie Dilke, they had been seen around a lot before, but Conway suspected that he was engaged to another woman, a married person maybe. They all agreed that Capal’s manner was odd that night as if he had taken a gamble and waqs defying the odds.

    A late post of letters and newspapers came in, this was due to a heavy snow storm that had hit Royston and its surrounding areas but Capal didn’t open any letters. A policeman was there on the night that Capal had died because one of Capal’s dogs had strayed and had gotten burried in the snow storm. He was in the kitchen when the shot was fired. Quin asked them to place an exact date so he could reffer to newspaper articals, all the men rememberedthat it was around the time of the Appleton case murder trial. Mr Appleton had mistreated his younger wife, Capal was friends of theirs. Appleton died of strychnine poisoning but the poison was only found after the body was exhumed. His wife had been seen to smash a bottle of port that her husband had drunk from (presumably to destory the evidence) had been on trial found not guilty and fled the country.

    Quin told the men a sequence of events: Capal had seen the artical in the newspaper that the exhumation order had been given then he saw the policeman approching his house. He didn’t know that this visit was about his missing dog and assumed that he was going to be arrested, so he shot himself.

    All the other guests were stunned at the accusation that Capal was a murderer, saying that he wasn’t at the Appleton’s house on the day of the murder but the Quin points out that strychnine is not soluble and would collect at the bottom of the decanter even if placed there a week before. The question was asked why Mrs Appleton smashed the decanter and, (Quin interrups) Satterthwaite theorises that it was to protect Capal, not to cover her own guilty tracks.

    Quins driver comes in and Quin has to leave. Eleanor follows him down there as to say thankyou and goodbye and then she and he husband are reconciled. Eleanor was Mrs Appleton but Capal’s suicide meant that she was unable to clear he name totally. Quin’s mysterious appearence has enabled this to happen.

    I thought that this book was quit interesting and I would reccommend it to all of you. Enjoy.

    Comment by shannon — May 31, 2010 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  24. Murder. Does the utterance evoke the need to escape from the fear about to envelop your person. Does a startling terror take hold of your mind. Or does this small, harmless word, bring out a heated, feverish desire. You feel it, you do, deep within yourself. The want to run your tender hands over cold, dead skin, and to break and snap the bones, the mind of a humble human. Don’t be ashamed, you certainly have your wits about you. At heart you are a killer, but in these sophisticated times, we’ll take the trouble of calling you a murderer.

    ‘Cat among the pigeons that is what a murderer is’. Famous words Hercule Poirot. Heard of hime before? He just solved a three murder case at Meadowbank Girls school. A note of advice for someone like you, who sports in the art of eliminating ones friends: Monsieur Poirot will be on your tracks before you can even sneeze. You raise your eyebrows, how would you know, you seem to say. Well I admit that I recently became aquainted with him, not personally mind you, but in a most thrilling book. that is why I know a murderers thoughts,your characteristics of a smiling young girl are only skin deep.

    Of mystery and murder I have never been too sure. And yet once I picked up Cat Among the Pigeons, I was quite frankly bombarded with twenty or so characters, most of whom turned out to be quite inconsequential. We started our journey of detection in Merry old England, with a Miss Bulstrode. She is headmistress of Meadowbank, the leading educational academy for girls and is welcoming back the flourishing offspring from a most strict tuition. All is well. All is calm. Then suddenly we have murder.
    From here Agatha Christie takes our ponderous selves to Ramat, a country on the brink of a revolution home of a collection of jewels worth more than half a million pounds. Nothing to make one crave. What with two more schoolhouse murders, an missing princess and an almighty discovery. . . you would think that an old spinster such as Miss Bulstrode would go crackers. But this is where our almighty Belgian hero comes in, dearest Hercule Poirot.

    So never mind the faintest and weakest of hearts, this stimulating and intriguing novel will keep you reading for hours on end, your chest will heave and your breathing shallow. You will lie awake at night and even the stars twinkling in the sky will make you cry out in fear!

    Possibly a slight exaggeration, but no matter who you are and where you read it, your imagination will be inspired you will never great detective stories with derision again and you will never think of murder, just being murder

    Comment by Bella — May 31, 2010 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  25. Appointment with death, Agatha Christie.

    This is a very interesting book, I found it quite hard to get into but finally it all came together. This book is all about the detective Hercule Poirot, who has twenty four hours to solve a murder. There is a weird family the Boynton’s their is the mother, he daughter, Mrs Boynton’s late husbands 2 son one married and his wife. Everything that Mrs Boynton say they all do without and y hesitation. They are all under her spell. All except one, the young boys wife. She knows perfectly well the old ladies spell and plans but is too much in love with her husband to do anything about it, she has considered leaving her husband and nearly does.

    A french doctor, Gerard and his young friend a recent apprentice Sarah King find this family very interesting more so Sarah. She tries to talk to the family but every time she does they always have an excuse to go and see their mother or she come and finds them associating with the outside world which they are not supposed to do. Once the travelling Boynton family decide to continue on their journey, reluctantly Sarah decides that she will not be able to complete her case as she will probably not see any of them again.

    Sarah and Dr Gerard go to a place among the red cliffs in Petra. Guess who they find their? The Boynton family. After a few days they find themselves very close to the children of the family. When going for a walk one afternoon whilst leaving Mrs Boynton alone back at camp as she requested they come back to find that their mother is dead. All the Boynton’s come back from their walk in staggers and all reportedly talk to her, but who killed her. Mrs Boynton seems to have a mark on her wrist that could of been made by a hypodermic well they are quite certain.

    Hercule Poirot is the best detective and is hired to find the killer but I shall not tell you anymore. You need to find out for yourself. All peoples are interviewed but this case is a hard case and Poirot only has 24 hours to complete is.

    I found this book really good and interesting, everything fit together perfectly in the end. I have been taking lots of notice and have come to the conclusion that the writing style is very similar to the play ‘ And then there were none’ . Some of the words and the phrases, which I found really interesting. I recommend this book to anyone that is probable in year 8 or over but you need to be patient this book is hard to get into but once you do it is very interesting.

    Comment by Emily (Jelly) — May 31, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  26. I am currently reading The Big Four by Agatha Christie. When I first started I was freaked out and didn’t want to read it. As it carried on the murders stopped and it was just detective work.
    It is about a secret organisation called The big Four which consist of four leaders in different continents. Hurcule Piorot and Hastings begin to solve the case and uncover the identities of the four members. This involves travelling undercover, solving hidden messages and getting caught several times. The best part is you never expect what is coming which I think all murder stories need but don’t necessarily have! I now read it every day on the bus but I still resist reading at night!
    Overall this is a good book so far and it just keeps getting better!

    Comment by Phoebe — May 5, 2010 @ 8:34 pm | Edit This | Reply

    Good feedback, Phoebe! I’m glad you’re getting into it. Don’t forget there is a special page now for feedback and comments on Agatha Christie.

    Comment by peterholford — May 6, 2010 @ 6:56 pm
    Copied from ‘Book Reviews’ by peterholford

    Comment by peterholford — May 31, 2010 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  27. The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie

    About six weeks ago, our english teacher announced our unit on Mystery and Detectives and informed us we were to read a book by Agatha Christie. My first thought was, ‘Great. When am I going to find the time to read? Ugh! This is so annoying!’
    I have always adored reading but these days I never seem to find time to read as I am a border.
    A few days later I dragged myself to the library and chose the Agatha Christie book that I thought looked half interesting. Until Mr Holford pulled out a block of Cadbury Chocolate, I had completely forgoten about it. It so turned out that we had to finish our Agatha Christie book and write a review on it by next Tuesday. The best review would win the block of chocolate.
    So, I had about three days to read the book AND write a killer review to snatch up that family block.
    Well, here it goes.

    I was drawn to Agatha Christie’s book, ‘The ABC Murders’ because of the name. I knew immediately that this book was going to be filled with mysteries and confusion. Plots and unexpected turns. Surprises and – well, that was until I started reading it. The first half of the book was, to me, very predictable and…dull. The murders were going to be committed in alphabetical order, with a letter to Hercule Poirot, the proninent character before each one. Beside each body, an ABC Railway Guide would be left open on the page of the town where the murder was committed. The two detectives and Scotland Yard would have such trouble in finding the seriel killer. Boring, Boring, boring.

    Although I was convinced that the rest of the story would be bland and tasteless, I was somehow hooked. It was like instead of holding you by the hand, it was holding you by the pinkie finger; hardly there but still pulling you along.
    Even so, at the halfway mark, the greatest excitement in relation to the book was the fact I was closer to being finished.
    By the fourth murder, things started to become interesting. The smallest of clues attatched themselves to others and the detectives were becoming closer and closer to finding the murderer…
    Then the B I G G E S T turn completely twisted the story into knots.
    My mother was right. I had come to her, complaining about how predictable the story was and she had said,
    “It is an Agatha Christie Book! You just wait and see, the ending that you are expecting will be nothing like what really happens!”
    But I’m afraid I cannot tell you any more, as it will ruin the story for you.

    I can tell you however, that when I finished, I came to the conclusion that this book turned out to actually be a fantastic read. There was always something to be thinking about, trying to solve the mystery myself. I would most definately reccommed ‘The ABC Murders’ to anyone who loves a bit of suspense and intensity. It is absolutely worth reading.
    A little tip for those reading it – keep going! It only gets better.

    Comment by Ella Tindal — May 30, 2010 @ 4:39 pm
    Copied here from ‘Book Reviews’ by peterholford

    Comment by peterholford — May 31, 2010 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  28. My Agatha Christie book was called Elephants can remember and i absolutely HATED it. I cant say it was the worst book i’v ever read but it comes pretty close. The book was about a lady called Mrs Oliver who was a novelist and her friend Hercule Poirot who are given the job of investigating the death of Mrs Oliver’s god daughters parents as to wether the father killed the mother and then himself or wether the mother killed the father and then her self. Either way it was going to be hard to find out the truth as it had happened 12 years ago and know one really knew much of it. I wont tell you any more of the story because if you want to find out how it really was you’ll have to read it for your self, even thought i wouldn’t recommend it its up to you wether you choose to or not, but honestly i think its a big waste of time that that you’ll never get back.

    Comment by Laura Brown (LOZ) — May 29, 2010 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  29. Sir Im reading “Elephants can remember” (my agatha christie book) and i’m finding it really hard to read because its really boring and it DOSEN’T interest me at all. And even though i keep reading it hoping it’s going to get better but it doesn’t and so when ever mum tells me to go read my book i really don’t want to and then i read through it really fast because it’s boring!

    Comment by Laura Brown (LOZ) — May 16, 2010 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

    • Hi Laura, two things to think about:
      1. congratulations on persisting. Agatha Christie books can be a bit like that … boring until all the ‘strands’ of the story come together. Hopefully this one will reward you (eventually)
      2. your mother knows what’s good for you. Listen to her.

      Comment by peterholford — May 16, 2010 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

      • I’ll try sir but i don’t know how long it will last and i can’t promise anything!

        Comment by Laura Brown (LOZ) — May 18, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

  30. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Cristie

    The Thirteen problems is about a group of people who gather together on a Tuesday at Mrs Marple’s house they are all having a friendly conversation when the conversation goes to unsolved murder mysteries. There are all different mysteries but Mrs Marple seems to always solve them, with her knowledge of the clues, the murders are quite interesting, they just keep you guessing, and as soon as you suspect someone another clue comes along, it is a very interesting and intregueing novel, you won’t be able to put it down, I highly recommend it.

    Comment by Sophie M Yr 8A — May 13, 2010 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  31. Mr h, does this include reading ‘And then there were none’????

    Comment by catriona Graham — May 1, 2010 @ 8:15 am | Reply

    • No – this page is for you to tell me about the OTHER Agatha Christie book you are reading – a novel of your choice.

      Comment by peterholford — May 1, 2010 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

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