Thursday Review: Murder at Hazelmoor

Today begins the inauguration of a new feature here at Just A (Reading) Fool called Thursday Review. Each Thursday, I will review at least one book. This week’s book is:

Agatha Christie CollectionTitle: Murder at Hazelmoor
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication Year: 1931
Pages: 201
Genre: Mystery
Count for Year: 31

How I discovered

I have joined Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise with her Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and this is part of that.

The setup

M-U-R-D-E-R. It began as an innocent parlor game intended to while away the hours on a bitter winter night. But the message that appeared before the amateur occultists snowbound at the Sittaford House was spelled out as loud and clear as a scream. Of course, the notion that they had foretold doom was pure bunk. Wasn’t it? And the discovery of a corpse was pure coincidence. Wasn’t it? If they’re to discover the answer to this baffling murder, perhaps they should play again. But a journey into the spirit world could prove terribly dangerous–especially when the killer is lurking in this one.

synopsis from Barnes & Noble

I must preface my comments about this book, with a look back at a post on one of  my other blogs, “What Would Jesus Read? Agatha Christie?”, in which I discuss how I lost the copy of this book I had borrowed from the library. I still haven’t found it, but was able to purchase a copy online for not too much to replace the copy I lost. After this review, I will be turning that copy in to the library today. On to the review:

This is Christie’s 11th novel and like the previous 10, where she likes to introduce new lead characters, in my opinion, to see if they might be worthy of sequels, she introduces Emily Trefusis and Inspector Narracott. Trefusis’s fiance has been accused of the murder of  his uncle, a Captain Trevelyan and so Trefusis sets about to investigate it along with Inspector Narracott, who is assigned to the case and at first thinks he already has the murderer in her fiance.

Narracott begins the investigation, with Emily Trefusis not entering the story until page 63, and from the start, we learn she is not one with whom to be trifled.

“I don’t feel as if I have a friend in the world,” groaned Jim.
“Yes, you have,” said Emily. “You’ve got me. Cheer up, Jim; look at the winking diamonds on the third finger of my left hand. Here stands the faithful fiancee. Go with the Inspector and leave everything to me.”
Jim Pearson rose, still with a dazed expression on his face. His overcoat was lying over a chair and he put it on. Inspector Narracott handed him a hat which was lying on a bureau nearby. They moved toward the door and the Inspector said politely. “Good evening, Miss Trefusis.”
“Au revoir, Inspector,” said Emily sweetly.
And if he had known Miss Emily Trefusis better he would have known that in these three words laid a challenge.

Along the way, Emily teams up with a newspaper reporter, Charles Enderby, during her investigation into Captain Trevelyan’s murder. Naturally, Enderby falls in love with Emily and sets in motion one of the subplots of the novel: If her fiance is freed, will she choose her fiance or Enderby?

Cutting to the chase: While the ending isn’t far-fetched, including the subplot, this book didn’t bowl me over and I can see why Christie didn’t return to Emily Trefusis or Inspector Narracott. In the end, I give this one a 3 out of 5 (if also for the case, that it is a book readily found at most libraries, including the one I frequent, at least it will be shortly).

My rating system:

5- Classic, must read
4- Worth
owning a copy
3- Worth picking up at library
2- Worth skimming at the bookstore
1- Worth being a doorstop

For others reviews of the book:

If you also have reviewed the book, please leave a link in the comments, or e-mail me at justareadingfool (at) gmail (dot) com and I will add your review to the list.

Murder at Hazelmoor also is known as The Sittaford Mystery. For more on the two names, see one of my previous posts here.

5 responses to “Thursday Review: Murder at Hazelmoor

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Read So Far For The Agatha Christie Reading Challenge « Unfinished Person

  2. Pingback: Midweek Review: Peril at End House « An unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  3. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: On a Michael Connelly binge, or my latest obsession « Unfinished Person

  4. I want to read some Agatha Christie books…where should I start?

    • Well, while I’m reading through her books in order with the aforementioned Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, you don’t have to start there, although I think it’s a good place to start. However, I think some of her books are worth skipping, for example, so far to me the Tommy and Tuppence novels are a skip. But anything Poirot is worth a hit and Miss Marple is also good.

      If one book, maybe Murder on the Orient Express and then see the movie, which is a really good one.