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Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie
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Postern of Fate (1973)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tommy and Tuppence (5)

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English (22)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I'd never read any Christie before, so I figured I should check her out, since she's such a classic author. This was her last published book; it's a mystery, of course. A couple of retired detectives buy a house in a quaint English town - but find a cryptic message in an old children's book that leads them to start investigating a sixty-year-old possibility of death by foul play.... However, their questions may stir up things safer left forgotten. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Tommy and Tuppence, now retired and in their seventies, have just moved into a new house. When Tuppence starts looking through some old children’s books that have been left behind by the previous owners, she discovers a mystery that is older than she is and dates back to World War I. Their curiosity gradually unearths a series of seemingly unconnected clues that ultimately lead to the solution to the mystery, with a few adventures along the way.

This isn’t one of Christie’s better mysteries. The characters often rambled on without explaining what they were talking about, so the narrative was hard to follow at times. Various characters also kept referring back to previous novels in the Tommy and Tuppence series, and since I’ve only read the first two, it got a bit annoying to repeatedly hear about books I haven’t read. The idea of a mystery that is so old that people barely remember it and certainly aren’t trying to solve it was an interesting premise, but it didn’t really give me much motive to care about the solution. I did enjoy the fun banter between Tommy and Tuppence, and I also enjoyed their dog Hannibal and the way Christie translated his thoughts. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is the last novel that Agatha Christie ever wrote. In previous titles, NEMESIS and ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER she had brought the careers of her other sleuths to a close, although the final novels published relating to Hercule Poirot (CURTAIN) and Miss Marple (SLEEPING MURDER) were both written in about 1940).

Tommy and Tuppence appear together in four full-length novels and one collection of short stories. The collection of short stories is Partners in Crime, (1929), the four novels are THE SECRET ADVERSARY (1922), N or M? (1941), BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS (1968); and POSTERN OF FATE (1973).

Unlike Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple the Beresfords actually age in real time, beginning in their early 20s in 1922 and in POSTERN OF FATE they are in their 70s.

Rather appropriately the mystery in this story begins with a code which Tuppence breaks with ease. While Tommy was the one who worked in Intelligence and then as a private detective, and Tuppence was the one who raised the children and kept the home fires burning, it always seemed to be it was Tuppence whom Christie favored.

This novel is also about memory. The house that the Beresfords have bought has changed hands many times since Mary Jordan died and, as in ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER, most of the knowledge about the "Frowline" is mixture of hearsay and innuendo. But the discovery of a gravestone in the local churchyard sets both Beresfords off on a hunt for the truth. Tuppence explores what elderly villagers remember while Tommy goes through more official channels. This is rather evocative of the strategy adopted by Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver in ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER. I think it is also Christie exploring how her own memory works.
It turns out that the house that the Beresfords have bought has been "of interest" to British intelligence for decades as a possible hiding place for documents that the government would rather not see made publicly available.

In ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER there were references to cases that Poirot had solved, and there are similar passing references here to the previous novels in which the Beresfords featured.

Those who are looking in this novel for signs that Agatha Christie was "past it" or had Alzheimer's won't find it here. The novel is carefully plotted by a writer who still has something to say. However I think some of the episodes of dialogue between the Beresfords is a bit limp, nothing that I could imagine a husband and wife, even after about fifty years of married life, saying to each other.
In addition some of the plot strands get confusing with informants not clearly explaining the information they are passing on.

I think the novel is also a little outdated in its writing style although it may not have been at time of publication. It reflects a belief Christie held for all her life: that there are some persistent forces of evil that regenerate from one generation to the next. Sometimes they are not at first seen for the malignancies that they are. ( )
  smik | Oct 28, 2014 |
I was hoping for the palate cleanser of Tommy and Tuppence and it was okay for a while and then the quartet of Passanger to Frankfurt reappeared and it all went horribly wrong and stopped making any sense.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
As a person who generally loves Agatha Christie's works, this was not my favourite book to read. The idea of the mystery was excellent, but it felt like a build up went a bit too long and generally went all over the place. The ending (I won't spoil it) was not worthy of how great the idea was and felt out of place. It's a decent bedtime read, but probably not a book I would read over and over again to enjoy in my spare time. The only great part of this book were the dialogue of Tommy and Tuppence. I enjoyed watching them banter back and forth, so if you love them as two people, not as two detectives, you'll at least enjoy that part of the book. ( )
  plainteapot | Feb 11, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crepax, LucianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacono, CarloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Four great gates has the city of Damascus...
Postern of Fate, the Desert Gate, Disaster's Cavern, Fort of Fear...
Pass not beneath, O Caravan, or pass not singing. Have you heard
That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth like a bird?...
James Elroy Flecker
From "Gates of Damascus"
Dedication
For Hannibal and his master
First words
"Books!" said Tuppence.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451200535, Mass Market Paperback)

In this ingenious puzzler-the last novel Agatha Christie ever wrote-Tommy and Tuppence Beresford discover a clue to a killer's identity within the pages of a children's storybook.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:04 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Tommy and Tuppence buy a home and find they have acquired a mystery which includes an unsolved murder.

» see all 9 descriptions

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