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The Secret of Chimneys

de Agatha Christie

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Superintendent Battle (1)

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2,386564,624 (3.59)122
Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.

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I might be getting the hang of Agatha Christie's novels. This one has characters I quite like and a solution that I found not entirely unpredictable, which is how I tend to like mysteries. I don't want the reveal to come out of left field, but I also don't want it to be obvious from the start. This novel struck that balance for me. Enjoyed despite the hoity-toity "England's the best and everyone else is a barbarian" overtones. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Feb 23, 2021 |
Finally, a group of individuals interested in reading Agatha Christie, after I decided to take the plunge in 2021. Agatha Christie adores following Shakespeare model with the mistaken identity or multiple aliases of a character. In this novel, Anthony Cade goes through three different monikers. I fervently wish that Christie had provided a list of characters in her novels as I felt compelled to list all the name changes. The Scotland Yard officer, Superintendent Battle, enters and exits too often and does not seem to detect what is happening. Anthony Cade agrees to deliver a manuscript to England for a friend and immediately encounters problems. Politics, intrigue, and romance follow as many people meet at Chimneys, the stately home Lord Caterham. The story provides amusement, but other novels, especially with Hercule Poirot, delight the reader. ( )
  delphimo | Feb 22, 2021 |
This is a country house closed room murder mystery, originally written in 1925. Superintendent Battle is a Scotland Yard police detective working along with amateur detective Anthony Cade to solve the murder of King Michael of a Balkan nation called Herzoslovakia. The investigation is wrapped in a busy story involving Balkan political intrigue, oil concessions, a long lost jewel and an elusive French thief known as King Victor. It comes to a breathless conclusion when the killer is revealed. Several characters are not who they originally present to be. There's skilful use of an unreliable narrator which only becomes apparent at the end. It's fun entertainment. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Feb 16, 2021 |

‘The Secret Of Chimneys’, published In 1925, was Agatha Christie’s fifth novel. Like ‘The Secret Adversary’ (1922) and ‘The Man In The Brown Suit’ (1924), it is an early example of a thriller, rather than a detective story. It is also the first of her five Superintendent Battle books..

Sadly, it has neither the freshness and vigour of the earlier thrillers. They had main characters I could root for. 'The Secret Of Chimneys' is filled with people I'd prefer not to spend time with. Superintendent Battle is the best thing in the book and he isn't given much to do except demonstrate that, even though he's a policeman and is not a gentleman, he's still astute and intelligent. How remarkable is that?

It was a book I was glad to be done with. The plot manages to be silly without being amusing. I felt as if I'd just stepped out of a period adaptation of Scooby-Doo with added doses of patriarchy, xenophobia, and aristocratic exceptionalism thrown in for authenticity.

I detested the hero, Anthony Cade, on sight and further acquaintance only confirmed my poor opinion of him as a chancer, all confidence and cunning wrapped up in charm. The aristocrats in the book respond to him as 'one of us' not despite his behaviour but because that behaviour demonstrates his unassailable sense of entitlement.

The foreigners presented in the book have all the authenticity of a Tintin cartoon. Christie demonstrates her dislike of Italians, her disdain for Slavs, her sense that a British financier with the surname Isaacstein is almost a foreigner and her belief that even foreign aristocrats negotiating internal contracts can't master the basics of English syntax.

The denouement is so ludicrous it's almost a pastiche of itself. After the big reveal, Christie makes us trudge through two more chapters, one to help anyone who hasn't understood the plot to have it explained to them one more time and a final one for readers who need this rather dull cake to be iced over with an attempt at romance. Even the romance fails, degrading into a successful negotiation between two people who know themselves too well to have any truck with romance.

If this had been my first Christie, it would have been my last.
( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Feb 8, 2021 |
The Secret of Chimneys was published in 1925. It was Christie's 5th and last book released by her first publisher, The Bodley Head. She wanted out of her contract with them....and frankly, I think this book was a bit of a rush job to finish out that contract. It introduces Superintendent Battle and a handful of other characters that appear in later stories (especially The Seven Dials published in 1929) and the international thriller/mystery plot is interesting enough. But for me, this story just lacks the Christie pizazz that shines in most of her other works.

The basics: Anthony Cade is sent on a rather interesting adventure by a friend. James McGrath has in his possession a memoir that is rumored to contain some rather juicy tidbits about a small Balkan nation, Herzoslovakia, and its former royal family. The nation was recently ravaged by revolution. A faction that seeks to restore the monarchy desperately wants to prevent publication of the memoir. What starts out as a mission to take the manuscript to a publisher and collect £1,000 quickly becomes much more complicated. Add in some indiscreet letters that need to be returned to an English woman, foreign assassins, political intrigue and murder...and you get a pretty complex mess that Cade must navigate to succeed in his mission.

I love Agatha Christie. She has been my favorite writer since I was 9 and read my first Poirot novel. But.....this story......I had a hard time finishing it. The plot requires a complete suspension of reality...and in places, the pacing was just so slow that I lost interest. I found the ending lackluster....and some ending plot points just seemed ridiculous. Some I can overlook because the tale is almost 100 years old. What seems cliche to me in 2020 was new and exciting when Christie wrote this story. And, I can also admit that I prefer Christie's more famous detectives such as Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot to her other main characters like Superintendent Battle. Battle is an awesome detective....but he really isn't all that developed in this novel. Cade takes the forefront with Battle sleuthing around behind the scenes and popping in occasionally.

I get the distinct feeling that Christie published a trunk novel to finish out her publishing contract. The plot is ridiculous. The pacing is off. The characters are ho-hum. And the story is just.....ridiculous. It did not age well. But.....any author who writes as many books as Christie is definitely allowed to have a clunker or two. And -- this is just my opinion. Others may feel differently. But, I really get the impression that Christie dusted off a previously written manuscript she never intended to publish, shined it up a bit, and plunked it on her publisher's desk so she could put her experiences with The Bodley Head firmly behind her. Because....her next published novel was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, touted as one of the best murder mystery novels ever written.

So, even though I did not like this novel, I have to smile and salute Christie. I can just see her plonking down this manuscript, waving, and walking out the door. :) Well played, Agatha, well played.

I listened to the audio book version of this novel, narrated by Hugh Fraser. Fraser reads at a nice even pace and gives a great performance. ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Christie, Agathaautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Fraser, HughNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tromp, H.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.

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