How I discovered
I have joined Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise with her Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and this is part of that. Also this week is Agatha Christie Week, which coincides with a celebration of Agatha Christie’s birthday, Sept. 15, 1890, and for that, I’m reading a novel per day and posting a review here. This is the first review of the week.
Believe it or not, Bobby Jones had topped his drive! He was badly bunkered. There were no eager crowds to groan with dismay. That is easily explained – for Bobby was merely the fourth son of the Vicar of Marchbolt, a small golfing resort on the Welsh coast. And Bobby, in spite of his name, was not much of a golfer. Still, that game was destined to be a memorable one. On going to play his ball, Bobby suddenly came upon the body of a man. He bent over him. The man was not yet dead. “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” he said, and then the eyelids dropped, the jaw fell…
— from the blurb on the dustjacket of the first UK edition
From here, Bobby Jones, with whose name you might be familiar since it was the name of the famous golfer, and his friend, Lady Frances “Frankie” Derwent, investigate the man’s death after a couple of strange things happen to Bobby, including being poisoned. Could the poisoning be connected to the death of the man, ruled a suicide? That is what Bobbie and Frankie must discover.
Bobby and Frankie are similar to the characters of Tommy and Tuppence in Christie’s earlier The Secret Adversary, in that they find themselves thrown into the middle of a mystery that is over their heads. Like that earlier novel, the review of which I have seem to lost and for which I’m not sad, this one also is not one of my favorite Christie outings. It’s a little too cute for my tastes. For example, take this exchange between Bobby and Frankie:
“Isn’t it odd?” she said. “We seem somehow to have got in between the covers of a book. We’re in the middle of someone else’s story. It’s a frightfully queer feeling.”
“I know what you mean,” said Bobby. “There is something uncanny about it. I should call it a play rather than a book. It’s as though we’ve walked onto the stage in the middle of the second act, and we haven’t really got parts in the play at all, but we have to pretend, and what makes it so frightfully hard is that we haven’t the faintest idea what the first act was about.”
Frankie nodded eagerly. “I’m not even sure it’s the second act– I think it’s more like the third. Bobby, I’m sure we’ve got to go back a long way…And we’ve got to be quick because I fancy the play is frightfully near the final curtain.”
Unfortunately, they weren’t quick and the story wasn’t “frightfully near the final curtain,” as this section was more than 100 pages from the end.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve been spoiled by reading Christie’s Hercule Poirot books. I know she can do better than this. That said, this is a good book for those who enjoy a light, extremely light, read and liked the Tommy and Tuppence novels. For me, despite it not being one of my favorite Christie outings, it’s still worth taking out of your local library and for that, I give it a 3 out of 5.
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 this book and would like a link to be included here, please leave it in the comments or e-mail me at unfinishedperson (at) gmail (dot) com.