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At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie
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At Bertram's Hotel (original 1965; edition 1965)

by Agatha Christie

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2,020None3,303 (3.54)72
Member:yrizaria
Title:At Bertram's Hotel
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Pocket (1984), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read again
Rating:****
Tags:mystery, British

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At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie (1965)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I have seen the TV versions of the novel several times and in fact did wonder whether it was worth my while reading the book, it being next in my list for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.

I hadn't realised how much the story had been modified for television, with characters left out, and others inserted. There are a number of plot changes.

The main import of the novel is that nothing at Bertram's Hotel in 1955 is as its seems: all is a facade, from the appearance of the hotel, to the people who visit it, to the people who run it. Miss Marple realises that it is a mistake to try to step back to pre-war days. In fact the Bertram's Hotel she remembers is much older than that, a memory from her childhood.

The story also illustrates Agatha Christie's conviction of the prevalence of organised crime rings that underpinned facades of normality. The police inspector who carries out the investigation into Bertram's shady dealings and the disappearance of Canon Pennyfather is an avuncular old chap who has seen it all, but he is not the same as the bouncing lad of the television production. Nor is there the romantic element that TV gave us for public consumption.

I don't think Miss Marple comes out of thebook particularly well - Christie portrays her as an old busybody who eavesdrops on people's conversations when she can. On the other hand she does recognise evil when she sees it and she demonstrates an understanding of the foibles of the elderly. For example she knows that Canon Pennyfather had mistaken the day he should be flying to Lucerne, and when he returns to Bertram's Hotel, she instantly knows he is not the person she saw descending the stairs at 3 am.

So an interesting read. Perhaps not Christie's best. ( )
  smik | Dec 18, 2013 |
This is very different from anything I've read by Christie. It's out there in terms of scope of the plot and the investigation is a lot of police procedural with a tiny bit of detection thrown in. However, it's still a book I couldn't put down as usual with the author. You can feel the end is near though as many characters comment on how much society has changed, even down to the outing of the ritual of afternoon tea. I didn't love At Bertram's Hotel but it did manage to entertain me more than most books. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
I enjoyed this particular story very much. Not the most imaginative beginning to a review but that's the first thing I wanted to say! Gone here, are the orderly presentations of suspects. Mrs Agatha Christie here departs from her usual structure-although the style is as sterling as ever- and I can't for the life of me imagine who was she copying with such a fearless endeavor.

While reading the bits where Miss Marple appears, I was regretting that she doesn't exist-she is a relic as much as the Hotel Bertram itself was. Pardon the irrelevancy, but I'd be interested in reading even a fan fiction of her, regardless of genre or quality! Miss Marple is witness to 2 or 3 crucial occurrences that propel Inspector Davy (Father) to fulfill the completion of bringing a criminal gang to justice, to stop an entire organisation in its tracks. But Miss Marple herself never takes center stage, she is a glorified witness, who understands what she sees. Very different beast, this book is.

I like old fashioned detective stories most when the motive for the murder is money. Thankfully here this is the case. But the murderer needs the money for her lover. This was, I think, an unnecessary addition. It makes the dated(in a good way) scenery more theatrical, and that is not so good. Take Lady Sedgwick, one of the main suspects, she doesn't to me, come across as a believable person. The way she exits the story is laughable and not convincing, plus it's oh so melodramatic. I felt nothing for her. I couldn't view her as a believable adventuress, mother, or mastermind. But maybe that's just me. I kept my focus throughout this book. No part of it was tedious because you felt that bits of the puzzle would ultimately come together. And the revelations, interceded between blurbs of Lady Sedgewick, kept coming till the very end. ( )
  Jiraiya | Jun 14, 2013 |
This one was quite nice. I loved the description of the hotel -- it's really really vivid: I could imagine it perfectly. It was a bit slow to kick off, in terms of action, though, and Miss Marple wasn't terribly central. I wasn't sure what the real point was going to be; it didn't seem as neatly tied together as I would like. I did enjoy it, though, and the last few pages were really rather good. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Note: possibly very slight spoiler at the beginning of paragraph 2, although perhaps no more than you'd get from the book jacket

Bertram's Hotel, in one of the more fashionable districts of London, is a blast from the past, harkening back to the Edwardian era while still boasting the mod. cons. that present-day travellers expect. Miss Marple is staying at the hotel for a couple of weeks and is amazed at how impeccably everything is restored. But is this time warp perhaps too perfect?

The setting in this book is great. Bertram's sounds like a lovely place for a high tea. Pity about the whole "hotel being a front for a major crime syndicate" thing. Thank goodness for Miss Marple, who has spent a lifetime suspecting the worst of things and has usually been vindicated when she suspects something is wrong. In this story she plays just enough of a role to justify it being a Marple story, but not so much that it seems unrealistic for someone of her position to be solving the case. The pacing was good, too, keeping my attention throughout. Some of the language was a bit dated (one word used to refer to elderly ladies is most certainly not used to describe them today!), but that is a very minor quibble. Overall a highly satisfactory Christie novel. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 1, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brinchmann, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cole, StephanieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leach, RosemaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäenpää, SimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Harry Smith
because I appreciate the scientific way
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In the heart of the West End, there are many quiet pockets, unknown to almost all but taxi drivers who traverse them with expert knowledge, and arrive triumphantly thereby at Park Lane, Berkeley Square or South Audley Street.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451199936, Mass Market Paperback)

Miss Jane Marple is enjoying her stay at London's elegant Bertram's Hotel. But its impeccable, old-world reputation is tarnished by new blood when someone disreputable checks in.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When Miss Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she's looking for at Bertram's Hotel: traditional decor, impeccable service and an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer. Yet not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong day.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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