I don’t know what it is about mysteries lately, but they’ve got their hooks in me. I finished reading Still Life, by Louise Penny, and had a couple days before I could get the sequel, so I started reading The Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen L. Carter. It was good but not what I wanted, so I grabbed Under the Dome, by Stephen King, with the same results. I thought about trying a fantasy book but I didn’t even get as far as selecting one to read. Obviously I’m in what is commonly called Sherlock Syndrome: an unrelenting need to engage in mysteries for the intellectual challenge of outsmarting the criminal. Since I currently live in Rexburg, ID where nothing exciting happens (aka. no one is murdered on a semi-regular basis) the obsession craves the next best thing: fiction, and because I still think I can beat Agatha Christie at her own game I decided to tackle The Secret of Chimneys. What happened was that I second guessed myself so many times I ended up twisted into knots and kicking myself when the villain was finally revealed.
Agatha Christie: 5
Anthony Cade thrives on adventure. Little does he know that his decision to deliver a manuscript to a publishing house in London will thrust him into the middle of a political conspiracy surrounding the death of the king-to-be of a small eastern European nation. Soon Anthony, Scotland Yard, and the French Sûreté find themselves converging on the popular country estate of Chimneys where not everything is as it seems.
What more is there to say about Agatha Christie and her books? She is the queen of mystery. In my amateur opinion she is yet to be matched. Her stories take readers on a ride through a deceptively twisting plot leaving all but the most observant behind.
This book in particular is one of my favorites by Agatha Christie. Granted, I’ve only read five of her books, but from those I was especially impressed with this one. The Secret of Chimneys doesn’t follow any of her regular detectives, and I liked that. I especially liked Anthony Cade. He was smart, observant, and charismatic, but he also made mistakes and when he did he didn’t try to hide them. But just like most of her other books all the suspects are gathered together in the end in proper Christie fashion where the truth is revealed, and I was once again surprised by the result (but not too surprised. I did suspect them at some point in the play but had moved my suspicions elsewhere). My advice for this book, trust your first instinct.