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Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

Appointment with Death (1938)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot Mystery (19)

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2,750533,180 (3.63)98



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English (48)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Synopsis: 'Holidaying in Jerusalem, Poirot overhears Raymond Boynton telling his sister, "You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Their stepmother, Mrs Boynton, is a sadistic tyrant who dominates her family. When she is found dead on a trip to Petra, Poirot proposes to solve the case in twenty-four hours, even though he has no way of knowing whether it was murder.Mrs. Boynton is sadistic and domineering, behaviours which she may have carried over from her original profession of prison warden. Sarah is attracted to Raymond Boynton, while Jefferson Cope admits to wanting to take Nadine Boynton away from her husband, Lennox Boynton, and the influence of her mother-in-law. Having been thwarted in her desire to free the young Boyntons, Sarah confronts Mrs. Boynton whose apparent reply is a strange threat: "I’ve never forgotten anything – not an action, not a name, not a face." When the party reaches Petra, Mrs. Boynton uncharacteristically sends her family away from her for a period. Later, she is found dead with a needle puncture in her wrist.'
Review: This story was a bit odd; there were several things that didn't hang together. ( )
  DrLed | Nov 20, 2018 |
In which a tyrannical stepmother dies in Petra.

Dame Agatha’s love for the Middle East makes "Appointment with Death" come alive. As with "Murder in Mesopotamia", Christie’s portrait of a tour through Jerusalem and Jordan, full of bitter characters and eager explorers, makes for a lively read. The sadistic Mrs. Boynton hovers over the proceedings from beginning to end, energising the psychological study of all the book’s characters. There’s a stylistic letdown, in that the denouement feels like a clever author revealing how each piece was pushed around, rather than a natural discussion arising from the story. (I know this seems like arguing that just one episode of "Two and a Half Men" is inane, lazy comedy, but many of the better Poirot denouements – "Murder on the Orient Express", for instance – at least simmer with tension and surprise. This one feels boastful.) But it doesn’t hamper the novel, nor do the relatively contrived circumstances surrounding the murder.

"Appointment with Death" was the last of the Peter Ustinov adaptations (although, I confess, I didn’t know he’d filmed it until today!) coming just a year before David Suchet took over the role. Suchet himself recently starred in a lavish adaptation of this, which was far from perfect, but featured beautiful design and some wonderful performances.

Three-and-a-half stars.

Poirot ranking: 19th out of 38. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Poirot overhears a line of conversation out of his hotel windown in Jerusulam: "You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?". He doesn't know who is speaking, or who they are with, but he has a feeling that he will recognise the voice if he hears it again.

The story centres around an American family, the Boyntons, who are holidaying in the Near East. Also in the same hotel in Jerusalem is the inquisitive British medical student Miss King, and the renowned psychologist Dr Gerrard. These two become acquainted over their interest in discussing the psychological abnormalities of the Boynton family. Head of the family is the wickedly memorable Mrs Boynton whose sadistic control of her family gives no small motive in their wanting her dead. We are left in suspense as to if they will manage to kill her, when it will happen, where, and who will steel themselves to do it. Each member of the family is different psychologically speaking, with a couple of them being of particular interest.

It is not at all obvious even to the dénouement who does the crime, which keeps up a decent level of suspense throughout. The psychological themes are integral to the plot and suspense, and very well done. Overall this is a very readable novel with some keen observations of human behaviour and a good rendering of the local atmosphere. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | Aug 9, 2018 |
A psychological thriller as much as a mystery. The deeply controlling Mrs Boynton is one of the most unpleasant and chilling characters I can remember. Set amongst a group of holiday-makers travelling in the Middle East, this has an interesting mixture of people, and some clever plotting.

Hercule Poirot asks questions after the crime is committed, about half-way through the book, and ties together his evidence in a way that I don't think I would ever have guessed. I had, of course, spotted several instances in the trail of false clues, and also some of the lies told in the evidence.

Recommended if you like this genre of mid-20th century light crime fiction. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jul 5, 2018 |
Another good Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie. I was surprised at the end when Poirot explained all; all of my best guesses were entirely wrong. I love when a mystery keeps me guessing until the last moment. ( )
  ktlavender | Jul 17, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Mrs. Boynton es una mujer entrada en años que más que gobernar, esclaviza a sus hijastros ya mayores. Pero ella es la dueña del dinero y, hasta su muerte, todos deberán girar a su alrededor. En el transcurso de un viaje a las ruinas de Petra, los Boynton coinciden con otros viajeros entre los que está Poirot. Cuando el grupo vuelve de la excursión, a la que la anciana no ha acudido, la encuentran muerta a la puerta de su tienda. Todos tienen motivos para desear su muerte, todos son sospechosos.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ahto, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallorquí Figuerola, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Richard and Myra Mallock to remind them of their journey to Petra
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"You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?"
Gerard continued: "We see it all round us to-day - in political creeds, in the conduct of nations. A reaction from humanitarianism - from pity - from brotherly good-will. The creeds sound well sometimes - a wise régime - a beneficent government - but imposed by FORCE - resting on a basis of cruelty and fear. They are opening the door, these apostles of violence, they are letting up the old savagery, the old delight in cruelty FOR ITS OWN SAKE! Oh, it is difficult - Man is an animal very delicately balanced. He has one prime necessity - to survive. To advance too quickly is as fatal as to lag behind. He must survive! He must, perhaps, retain some of the old savagery, but he must not - no definitely he must not - DEIFY it!" There was a pause. Then Sarah said: "You think old Mrs. Boynton is a kind of Sadist?" (The Albatross edition 1939, chapter VI, p. 47)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425108589, Mass Market Paperback)

When a loathsome tourist is murdered in full view of her fellow sightseers, Poirot doesn't question who did it, but rather, who wouldn't have?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs. Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her. With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercules Poirot recalled a chance remark he'd overheard back in Jerusalem: 'You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?' Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he'd ever met.… (more)

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