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The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse (original 1961; edition 1963)

by Agatha Christie

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Title:The Pale Horse
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Pocket Books (1963), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (1961)

  1. 20
    The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (Porua)
    Porua: The narrator of The Pale Horse, Mark Easterbrook, reminds me of the narrator of another Agatha Christie book. Jerry Barton from The Moving Finger. In both of these stories the urban hero goes to a small town and gets entangled in a spine chilling mystery. Another thing that these two books have in common is an unconventional old lady named Mrs. Dane Calthrop, one of the more unique creations of Christie.… (more)

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I was totally fooled by this one - very enjoyable read. ( )
  cazfrancis | Apr 23, 2015 |
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie, originally published in 1961, is a tale of murder by black magic. This is the authors’ take on the supernatural and she has included séances, witches and an old 15th century inn called The Pale Horse. The novel is a stand alone although one of her reoccurring characters, Ariadne Oliver is featured and other characters from previous books also make an appearance. I recognized the vicar and his wife from The Moving Finger and Colonel Despard from Cards on the Table.

The main character, Mark Easterbrook stumbles into a reference that The Pale Horse is a place of evil, and that, along with a list of names that turn out to belong to people who have recently died starts him and a friend, Ginger, on an investigation. Meanwhile, from a slightly different angle, the police are also taking an interest due to a recent murder of a priest.

I found this appropriately chilling and original and enjoyed it very much. The author starts her story slowly, but as the pages turn, she amps up the tension and moves her story along quickly. Typically there were a few red herrings along the way and an interesting twist at the end which made The Pale Horse a very satisfactory read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 7, 2014 |
This was it! The May to December Agatha Christie. So, I figured out who did it and also the recent adapation was truly awful.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
The Pale Horse, written by Agatha Christie, author of 82 novels, is a dark mystery story that deals with a great deal of death through the means of something quite different than Agatha Christie's usual way of going about murders. The main character, Mark Easterbrook, senses something slightly fishy about the coincidental mentions of "The Pale Horse" and decides to investigate the topic. In the process, he finds out things he is quite skeptical about at first, but later takes part in a risky plan to put his mind at ease about the truthfulness behind "The Pale Horse". Ginger, the brains of the plan, helps Mr. Easterbrook uncover a whole load of truth behind the "The Pale Horse" and is very keen on getting the truth out to the police and restoring justice. That was, however, before her life was at stake.

The Pale Horse is a truly well developed mystery written in third person point of view, mostly following Mark Easterbrook and occasionally following Detective-Inspector Lejeune's side of the story. The great thing about this particular mystery novel was that there was more than one villain (villain, not suspect), which made it all the more satisfying to read. The process of how the case gradually unravelled and how the character who found out who the felon was revealed it was absolutely perfect. It really finalized his personality which is great, especially since the reader does not get much about that specific person's characteristics as they are reading.

Even though most characters got his or her own personality, the novel did not contain much (or maybe even any) character development. This point however, does not have anything to do with the goal of the story; it is just something I usually look forward to when I am reading. As a reader, I find amusement in observing how a character changes whether it be gradually and with time or quickly and instinctively, for the worse or the better, from a minor character or a major character; it's just always fun to read. The Pale Horse however, simply did not have that.

The novel was also quite choppy at times; it was not given enough sentence variation at times. I found this was a a bother to me most in the dialogue parts of the story. There would be about three or four consecutive sentences that were about four words long, which definitely put me off. I do have to say though, it was compensated for with the great plot line and brilliant plot twists.

Near the end of The Pale Horse, one of the characters says something that I sincerely think should be widely quoted: "Evil is nothing superhuman, it's something less than human. Your criminal is someone who wants to be important, but who will never be important, because he'll always be less than man". I realize that this isn't exactly a deep saying and there's not much more to it than what is given, but that is exactly what attracted me to it. It is so frank and straight-forward and I find that absolutely wonderful.

I recommend this novel to all the mystery lovers out there who want a good read, but don't want to have a dictionary next to them to check what every other word means. It had a great plot twist that I thought was executed beautifully. The Pale Horse will definitely be worth your time if you're a fan of the classics. ( )
  RolaG. | Apr 25, 2014 |
This novel takes the form mainly of a narrative written by Mark Easterbrook whose curiosity is peaked by a list of names found in the dead Father Gorman's shoe. Mark recognises two of the names as belonging to people who are dead and begins to suspect that most of the people on the list are either dead or are in danger of being killed. See a full plot description on Wikipedia. - SPOILERS

As Mark investigates links between The Pale Horse, formerly a pub but now a private residence, and the names on the list, he puts his associate Ginger Corrigan in real danger.

There are rather a lot of references to Shakespearean plays in this novel, in particular to the three witches of Macbeth.There are some creepy passages as Christie explores what a seance might be like and how a person might cause death through the powers of suggestion. Mark Easterbrook can't make up his mind whether he is a "believer" in the occult or not. The rational, sensible part of him says it iall poppycock, but the atmosphere of the seance he attends at The Pale Horse strikes real fear into him.

The novel not only discusses the power of suggestion in causing people to die, but also plays with the idea of the reliable (or unreliable) witness - but I won't spoil things by telling you which character it is.

There are a number of characters who appear in more than one Christie book, including the novelist Mrs Ariadne Oliver, often thought to be Agatha Christie's view of herself, although I think Mrs Oliver is much scattier.

Hugh Fraser does an excellent job of the narration. ( )
  smik | Jul 21, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nuuttila, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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John and Helen Mildmay White
with many thanks for the opportunity
given me to see justice done
First words
There are two methods, it seems to me, of approaching this strange business of the Pale Horse.
Your criminal is someone who wants to be important, but who will never be important, because he’ll always be less than a man.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description

The dying woman turned to Father Gorman with agony in her eyes, "Stopped ... It must be stopped ... You will ... "
The priest spoke with reassuring authority. "I will do what is necessary. You can trust me."
Father Gorman tucked the list of names she had given him into his shoe. It was a meaningless list: the names were of people who had nothing in common.
On his way home, Father Gorman was murdered. But the police found the list, and when Mark Easterbrook came to inquire into the circumstances of the people listed, he began to discover a connection between them, and an ominous pattern:

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312981716, Mass Market Paperback)

Was it really the Thomasina Tuckerton--dropout heiress turned bohemian beat girl--seen in a cafe brawl with another woman? Her obituary confirms it. Thomasina's unfortunate demise would have passed unnoticed if it hadn't been for the priest who suffered a fatal blow at the hand of a stranger only days later. What's the connection? A list of names hidden in father Gorman's shoes--among them, Miss Tuckerton's. It leads to a former country inn, now a house called, The Pale Horse, and a sinister pattern woven by three unusual ladies--a psychic, a medium, and a witch--each with a secret of her own.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:13 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

After a priest is murdered, Mark Easterbrook investigates the peculiar list of names found on the body.

(summary from another edition)

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