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By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha…

By the Pricking of My Thumbs (original 1968; edition 1970)

by Agatha Christie

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2,298334,133 (3.61)76
Title:By the Pricking of My Thumbs
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:New York: Pocket Books, 1970 (1970), Edition: Second Printing, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Bono
Tags:Exercise Room, Duplicate

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By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (1968)



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English (29)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (33)
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The ramblings of an old lady lead Tommy and Tuppence Beresford on the hunt for a killer.

In the later years of Christie’s career, she focussed many of her stories on crimes from the past. This sub-genre would yield a couple of her greatest works, as we shall see, but it was by no means a surefire recipe for success.

20 years after their last appearance (and 40 years after their first), Christie again resurrected her married couple Tommy and Tuppence for their fourth adventure. Each of these novels is worse than the last, and this is no exception. There are some genuinely creepy moments in this tale, and Tuppence remains an interesting character (Christie always liked writing strong people, as evidenced by her novels written under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott). Tommy is less so, but he’s not as vital to the plot, really.

Christie can’t quite seem to decide where she’s going with this novel, and it shows in a haze of underdeveloped characters spewing out tracts of unintelligible dialogue. There’s a mildly interesting idea in here somewhere, but it’s well-buried. If you’re a seasoned Christie fan, and enjoyed the first three books in this series, then I would recommend this (although you can skip their last adventure, the dire "Postern of Fate"). Otherwise, stay away

Tommy & Tuppence Ranking: 4th out of 5 ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
My second pick for the 1968 club was Agatha Christie’s By the Pricking of my Thumbs – the third of the four full length novels featuring Tommy and Tuppence. The couple also appear in a collection of short stories. Rather adorably Agatha Christie dedicated this late novel as follows;

“This book is dedicated to the many readers in this and in other countries who write to me asking: ‘What has happened to Tommy and Tuppence? What are they doing now?’ My best wishes to you all, and I hope you will enjoy meeting Tommy and Tuppence again, years older, but with spirit unquenched!”

I completely love Tommy and Tuppence though I have largely neglected these novels, I am pretty sure I had read this one before, although I had forgotten almost all of it. I read The Secret Adversary – the first Tommy and Tuppence novel four years ago, (which is when I decided I loved T&T) and I have the final Tommy and Tuppence novel – and indeed the final ever Agatha Christie novel Postern of Fate tbr – I have had a first edition of it for years! and recently bought a copy of N or M? In The Secret Adversary Tommy and Tuppence are Bright Young things – the First World War had taken its toll on both of them. I can’t think why I have never got around to reading the other Tommy and Tuppence books so far – but I will and soon, and I so wish there were more of them. By the time of the events in By the Pricking of My Thumbs Tommy and Tuppence have been married for a long time, they are the parents of two adult children, and grandparents, and of course have lived through another war. The world has changed around them, their hair is showing signs of grey, yet Tommy and Tuppence are still recognisable as the enthusiastic young detectives Agatha Christie first wrote about in 1922. As a couple the Beresfords are still every bit as adoring of one another as they ever were – one really can’t imagine one without the other.

“I don’t particularly want to think of your funeral because I’d much prefer to die before you do. But I mean, if I were going to your funeral, at any rate it would be an orgy of grief. I should take a lot of handkerchiefs.”

Tommy’s Aunt Ada has been residing in the Sunny Ridge care home for elderly ladies for some time, and every now and then her nephew and his wife pay the dutiful visit that is required of them. Aunt Ada is not the easiest of old ladies, she has never much liked Tuppence. When Tommy decides it’s time for them to visit his aunt again, he manages to persuade Tuppence to accompany him. When the couple arrive at Sunny Ridge, Aunt Ada quickly dispenses with Tuppence who wanders off while Tommy talks to his aunt. There are old ladies shouting they are dying, others who have forgotten whether they have had their hot chocolate or not, but Miss Packard who is in charge, takes it all in her stride, laughing off all the little eccentricities of her clients. Tommy doesn’t think too much of his aunt’s mistrust of the staff, taking her whispered assertion that ‘they’ could be about to rob and murder her in her bed with a pinch of salt. While Tommy talks to Aunt Ada, Tuppence is shown into a pleasant little sitting room, where another elderly lady is already sitting close to an imposing fireplace nursing a glass of milk. Tuppence engages Mrs Lancaster in conversation, the two of them getting on quite famously. However, when Mrs Lancaster suddenly asks Tuppence –

‘Was it your poor child’

– It can’t help, but send a slight shiver down our spines. The question certainly un-nerves Tuppence – the words resonating in her memory days after having left Sunny Ridge behind. Three weeks later Aunt Ada has died, and Tommy and Tuppence are back at Sunny Ridge to clear out her things. Tuppence is eager to visit Mrs Lancaster who she met before – even more so when she learns that the very attractive painting that is hanging in Aunt Ada’s room was a recent gift from Mrs Lancaster. Tuppence is concerned that Mrs Lancaster might want the painting back, rather than it going to strangers – but Mrs Lancaster is no longer at Sunny Ridge, having been taken away by relatives to a London hotel, on the way north. Tuppence – as poor old Tommy well knows is not one to let things drop, and she is determined to track Mrs Lancaster down and ask her about the picture. The picture shows an attractive house by a canal which Tuppence is convinced she has seen before. The hotel where Mrs Lancaster and her relatives are supposed to have gone have never heard of Mrs Lancaster. Where is the old lady that Tuppence met at Sunny Ridge? Tuppence is determined to find out, so while Tommy is off at a secret conference with government/secret service types – Tuppence decides to set out on a railway journey to find the house in the painting, and find out what (if anything) has happened to Mrs Lancaster. At the back of her mind too – those strange words spoken by the old lady in the sitting room at Sunny Ridge.

As the cover to my lovely old book club edition of the novel suggests – By the Pricking of my thumbs is quite a creepy story. Tuppence gets herself into all kinds of trouble and when Tommy returns from his secret pow-wow he wonders where she has got to, and is soon on her tail. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Nov 11, 2017 |
Synopsis: Tuppence and Tommy are 'older' and are out of the mystery/spy business. However, Tommy still meets with former colleagues to talk about the spy game. He has an elderly aunt in an old folks home who he looks after and while they are there, Tuppence makes the acquaintance an elderly lady who may be endanger because of what she knows about a long-ago murder. When the aunt dies and the lady disappears, Tuppence goes in search. But just who is in danger and what does a painting of a house on a canal have to do with the disappearance?
Review: Vintage Agatha Christi with all of the twists and turns of her writings. ( )
  DrLed | Mar 9, 2017 |
Tommy & Tuppence Beresford are my all-time favorites of Mrs. Christie's characters. I love her books and the TV series made about the couple. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adams, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Margalef Llambrich, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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By the pricking of my thumbs

Something wicked this way comes.

This book is dedicated to the many readers in this and other countries who write to me asking: "What has happened to Tommy and Tuppence? What are they doing now?" My best wishes to you all, and I hope you will enjoy meeting Tommy and Tuppence again, years older, but with spirit unquenched!

First words
Mr. and Mrs. Beresford were sitting at the breakfast table.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Tommy & Tuppence Beresford decide to pay a duty visit to Tommy's elderly and unpleasant aunt in her nursing home. That visit results in a strange inheritance, black magic - and danger for the redoubtable Tuppence.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451200527, Mass Market Paperback)

When dotty Mrs. Lancaster disappears without a trace, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford discover that something wicked has come to the Sunny Ridge Rest Home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:04 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit the Sunny Ridge Rest Home, where an old rambling woman insists that something is buried in the fireplace in the sitting room, and that a painting of a secluded house is strangely familiar. When the woman disappears without a trace, the sleuths discover something wicked at Sunny Ridge.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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