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There Is a Tide by Agatha Christie

There Is a Tide (original 1948; edition 1987)

by Agatha Christie

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1,678234,262 (3.42)66
Title:There Is a Tide
Authors:Agatha Christie (Author)
Info:Bantam Books (1987) Hardcover
Collections:Your library, Mystery, Favorites
Tags:classic British, detective, Hercule Poirot, mystery, England, 12

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Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie (1948)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Family murder a la Styles and Hercule Poirot's Christmas with usual gaggle of sponging relatives as suspects, but the setting (battered, economically depressed postwar Britain--air raids, ration cards, and hard-up veterans all play a role) adds to the old ingredients an unexpected (for Christie) flavor of worldweary cynicism suggestive of noir. The solution to the mystery, if overly complex, is vintage Christie in its neat reversal of the reader's assumptions. But all is rather spoiled by the improbably "happy" ending Poirot (and Christie) laboriously contrive for a particularly repulsive character. But definitely recommended--this is vintage Christie that the casual fan is likely to have overlooked.

Other thoughts:

-The narrative downright cheats by referring to an impostor by "their" assumed name--definitely not sporting, Dame Agatha! The same thing happens in After the Funeral. There are ways around this--look at how ingeniously Christie contrives to be scrupulously fair and still fool us about a certain character's true identity in A Murder is Announced.

-Poirot, after an early appearance, is absent for half the book; this was becoming increasingly Christie's habit in the 40s (Sad Cypress, The Hollow, etc.).

-I don't recall Poirot's Catholic beliefs (or the subject of Catholicism generally) figuring so prominently in any other Christie. ( )
  middlemarchhare | Nov 25, 2015 |
A typical Agatha Christie. Twists galore, but clues enough if you can spot them. ( )
  cazfrancis | Sep 16, 2015 |
During a London air raid, Poirot listens to a man ramble on about a young bride who, with her brother, survived an air raid while her husband and the servants died. The newlyweds had only just arrived in London after their wedding, and the widow became the heir to his fortune to the dismay of the husband's relatives who were financially dependent upon him. Poirot has a reason to recall this story a couple of years later when the widow and her in-laws are connected to a murder in their rural village. Instead of narrowing down the suspects, each new clue seems to add more confusion. It's a mystery only Poirot could solve.

This is more of a page-turner than is usual for a Christie novel. The foundation for the murder is laid in the prologue with the story that Poirot hears during the air raid. It seems more and more certain that something dreadful is looming, but it's not quite clear how events will play out. I did spot an obvious clue and I worked out part of the puzzle, but the ending still held a surprise or two for me. I found one aspect of the ending very disturbing and it lowered my overall rating for the book. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 15, 2015 |
Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie ***

What is it about?

Written in 1948 (first published under the name 'There is a Tide'), the title is taken from a line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The majority of the book takes place just after the second world war, although we are privy to a few flashbacks to events previously taken place during the war years. The novel is typical Agatha Christie, we encounter the wealthy deceased and the family squabbles that result from the reading of the will, a beautiful girl, jealousy and of course the various alibis and motives. Although this is a Poirot novel, we meet him in the opening pages and then he is absent for the first half of the book.

We follow the Cloade family, a mismatch of individuals that although relatively successful in their own fields have always relied upon their elder brother Gordon Cloade's income. Having been promised all their lives that upon his death each member will be bequeathed enough money to live out their days comfortably, they are shocked to discover that he has taken a young bride and unfortunately been killed during an air raid before having chance to adjust his will resulting in their being cut from the inheritance. However, Gordon is his bride's second husband, and there is a rumour that her first husband may still be alive. If he can be found then the marriage would be illegal and the Cloade fortune would once again be in the hands of the family. When a stranger turns up in the village from South Africa, a glimmer of hope rises and Poirot is employed to try and iron out the creases. What follows is a story rich with murder, blackmail and secret identities. Which side will win the battle of wits between the family and the recently widowed Rosaleen, who governed by her roguish brother David make a very formidable team.

What did I enjoy/not enjoy?

The first half of the book was spent fleshing out the Cloade characters, allowing the reader to dig into their individual personalities and histories. Christie is a master of creating fully rounded characters that the reader can easily empathise with or dislike. This created a very clever build up of tension before the introduction of Poirot, allowing us to try and second guess what he will make of the situation or what plan of attack he will adopt. Some readers may have been a little dismayed that their hero did not arrive until the second half, but for me this was a welcome change to the normal books.

There were a few aspects of 'Taken at the Flood' that stopped me giving my usual high mark for Christies books. Firstly I found the way the plot unravelled a little disappointing, although there were a few twists and turns, many of these I had second guessed. The ending didn't have the same sense of realism that many of the other titles in the series has, and I found myself wondering if it would ever have really worked out like that, or was it just too obvious. Unusually for me I had worked out correctly the killers identity a number of chapters before it became confirmed (which I became a little peeved at as this is one of the few Poirot books that I had not seen the tv adaptation for). The other detail I found issue with was the way that Christie kept referencing the thoughts of the characters, I have noticed this in other novels but not to the same frequency as here. At one point is was almost after nearly every other speech. I just felt it was often unnecessary and distracted me away from the storyline.

Well worth a look if you are a fan of either Christie or the Poirot series, but not a novel I would advise a reader unfamiliar with Christie to start with. ( )
  Bridgey | Mar 31, 2015 |
I normally love Agatha Christie, but this was shit shit shit. Its Hercule Poirot, but he really only enters the story midway through. The first half of the book is about these hate-able characters (all of them) having problems with love and money. Then some people are murdered, and its very obvious who's done what, except for the major twist which you couldn't see coming because the evidence was something Poirot noticed, but it wasn't mentioned in words and twists like that are shitty. And then in the end Poirot gets the people together and baffles them all with his incredible perception and solves the case and the people meant to live happily ever after do, and the bad guy dies. Very disappointing. ( )
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
First words
In every club there is a club bore.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
aka There Is a Tide
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042506803X, Mass Market Paperback)

When a widow tries to collect on her inheritance, her late husband's family is unpleasantly surprised. They're even more horrified by the news that this lovely stranger may be a bigamist. Now murder shakes the family tree, and it's time for Hercule Poirot to investigate.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A few weeks after marrying an attractive young widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs. Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune. Shortly afterwards, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man's sister-in-law, who claims she has been warned by 'spirits' that Mrs. Underhay's first husband is still alive. Yet, what mystifies Poirot most is the woman's true motive for approaching him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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