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The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
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The Sittaford Mystery (1931)

by Agatha Christie

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English (38)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (43)
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Sittaford House, located on the edge of Dartmoor, has been let to a widow from South Africa and her daughter; nobody can fathom why they, worldly types as they seem to be, would want to stay in such an isolated spot in the dead of winter, nor why Captain Trevelyan, the home’s owner, would choose to rent it out at all. When Captain Trevelyan is found murdered, Inspector Narracott is summoned from Exeter to investigate; although he soon finds a suspect, that person’s fiance is certain that he could not have done such a thing and she teams up with a reporter to try to unravel the truth. But there are so many perspectives to consider….This novel, published in 1931, is a lesser-known tale from the Queen of Crime, but it’s still a fun read, as long as one overlooks the biases of the time. Even though there are a few poor people scattered in the story, most everyone is extremely wealthy and evidently untouched by the Depression (although quite possibly the story is set pre-1929, there’s no definite date given), the class biases are clearly delineated with respect to master-servant relationships, and gender stereotypes, while being gently skewered to some degree, are also quite embedded. Leaving those aside, however, one is left with a cleverly written, fairly clued story told by some entertaining characters living in a world very far from our own. Agatha Christie is always worthy of recommending, even with a minor work such as this. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Nov 25, 2018 |
I love "The Sittaford Mystery". It’s a strong non-series outing from Christie at the start of a decade when she was at the height of her powers. This is Christie’s "Hound of the Baskervilles", with lonely moors, escaped convicts and the suggestion of something otherworldly. Like most, the mystery relies on timing and contrivance, but it’s never unbelievable. In fact, looking back, the reader discovers how many questionable elements they have accepted as “fact”. A lovely book. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Not overly satisfying mystery from a relatively early (1931) period of Christie's career. We have a Retired Military Man murdered, and two of the other figures in the story are Retired Military Men, too, one a foul-tempered one with an Indian manservant. Useless Nephew, Brash Journalist and Plucky Heroine all figure in the story, not to mention Stolid Police Detective with Even More Stolid Sergeant. Once you read things through, you can spot the clews, but Christie does do a bit of the Least Expected Suspect here, and does hide the ball a little bit by not having the key clues turn up until very late in the book. Some atmosphere with the Dartmoor setting -- there's a call out to Conan Doyle at one point -- but the sheer plethora of red herrings strewn across the path annoys more than anything else. Not one of Dame Agatha's works that I would personally recommend. (And the designer of the cover of my Dell edition needs to be spanked.) ( )
  EricCostello | Jul 25, 2018 |
The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie is a 1931 whodunit that starts with a seance being held in a country home during a heavy winter storm. A message comes through from “the other side” to say that the owner of the home, Captain Trevelyan is dead. His body is indeed found later that evening. The seance was being held by Mrs. Willett, the Captain’s winter tenant, who along with her daughter have taken residence for the winter months.

Agatha Christie has done it again, I was so sure that I had worked out the answer to this murder puzzle, but when all is revealed in the closing chapter, I wasn’t even close. The story is full of red herrings and false clues. The police charge one of the Captain’s nephews with the murder, but his clever fiancee, Emily makes it her mission to clear him.

I really enjoyed The Sittaford Mystery. The characters are well drawn, and the plot is well engineered. This book is considered her homage to The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and there are certain elements that both stories have in common, such as the setting of Dartmoor and an escaped prisoner wandering the moor. But this is Agatha Christie and her style shines through with the country house setting and the big reveal at the end of the book. A fun and imaginative read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Sep 20, 2017 |
Another solid entry in the Christie canon, but not a top one. I figured out most of the secondary plot's mysteries, but I was unable to nail down the culprit (from among those who "couldn't" have done it) before the intelligent and lovely Emily Trefusis did so for me. Of course, as was usually the case, Christie cheated the reader on at least two occasions. In one, we get something of an unreliable narrator chapter and in the other, we are not told about a critical piece of evidence that Ms Trefusis uncovers. If I have one overarching complaint about Christie, it is this penchant for stacking the deck like that. If you're not clever enough to outfox your readers without cheating, etc. I also liked what I saw of Inspector Narracott, who for some reason was later eclipsed by outing after outing after outing by a certain Poirot chap with lots of affectations. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
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To M.E.M
with whom I discussed the plot of this book,
to the alarm of those around us.
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Major Burnaby drew on his gum boots, buttoned his overcoat collar round his neck, took from a shelf near the door a hurricane lantern, and cautiously opened the front door of his little bungalow and peered out.
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It's so wonderful to have someone you can really rely on.
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aka Murder at Hazelmoor
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312979819, Mass Market Paperback)

M-U-R-D-E-R. It began as an innocent parlor game intended to while away the hours on a bitter winter night. But the message that appeared before the amateur occultists snowbound at the Sittaford House was spelled out as loud and clear as a scream. Of course, the notion that they had foretold doom was pure bunk. Wasn't it? And the discovery of a corpse was pure coincidence. Wasn't it? If they're to discover the answer to this baffling murder, perhaps they should play again. But a journey into the spirit world could prove terribly dangerous--especially when the killer is lurking in this one.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six shadowy figures huddle around a table for a seance. Tension rises as the spirits spell out a chilling message: "Captain Trevelyan...dead...murder." Is this black magic or simply a macabre joke? The only way to be certain is to locate Captain Trevelyan. Unfortunately, his home is six miles away and, with snowdrifts blocking the roads, someone will have to make the journey on foot..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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