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Murder-Go-Round: The A.B.C. Murders,…

Murder-Go-Round: The A.B.C. Murders, Funerals are Fatal, Thirteen at… (1972)

by Agatha Christie

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Well, okay, this is my first group review of the new year. It's not really necessary to review anything by Agatha Christie at this late date, is it? So I'm not going to *review* review the three books I've just finished. I'm going to give a general impression of them.

In reading Christie's Poirot novels, one is transported to a time and a place where saying "one" wasn't looked upon as affected or uppish, it was simply using correct grammar. One is also reminded that Dame Ags was a beastly, beastly snob, an anti-Semite, a chauvinist, a racist, and one helluva good storyteller. Even though she really only told one story. Well, two, but the second one only once (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd wouldn't have worked twice from the same author). So happens that I like that story enough to read it multiple times.

I found a volume in our wine cellar called Murder-Go-Round, a three-in-one omnibus edition of Thirteen at Dinner, The A.B.C. Murders, and Funerals are Fatal. The first two were written when Dame A. wasn't yet sick unto death of Herc, so we still had Capt. Hastings narrating the books. He'd disappeared by the 1950s, when the fatal funeral was penned. (And may I say, go Aggie! Good call!) So while auntie's away and I've been pretending to be a walrus, lolling and grunting and scratching and napping, I've taken a few moments to pass these marvies before my eyes. Somehow, I've managed never to read a single one of them! Now having rectified my oversight, let me pass the remark: Oy.

This is NOT literature, this is NOT groundbreaking technical tour-de-force writing, this is plain ol' TV for the pre-television era. Same sort of thing as TV gives us now: Familiar faces with different names, doing the same things again and again, while we smile and nod (off) and pay very little real attention while being entertained. But it's Channel 4 TV, not BBC or Canal-Plus. Pseudo-high-brow, or middle-brow with pretensions...kind of the stuff one imagines Hyacinth Bucket reads between candlelight suppers. As such it's really a lot of fun, and David Suchet, the actor condemned forever and always to be the Face and the Moustaches of Poirot, would sound perfectly at home delivering any of the lines in the books.

Oh my oh my, have the plots dated! Someone discovers a painting, a Vermeer if you please, and it will fetch the princely sum of two thousand pounds! Someone commits a murder to resolve a minor social issue, by today's standards. Period pieces, one and all. Are they to be considered historical mysteries then? They're about as much related to today's world...but nay, they were written at the time when these problems were real and vital issues. So how to categorize them?

Fun. That is about the size of it. They're fun. And don't miss out just because you think the fun is fusty and needs a bit of tarting up! Just go along with Dame Agatha, there's a good little soldier, and see what fun you can have following little old ladies, short Belgian fops, and glamourous film staaahs about.

G'wan. ( )
1 vote richardderus | Feb 9, 2011 |
collection of three full-length novels in one volume.
  AlexTheHunn | Jul 11, 2009 |
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Thirteen at Dinner
The memory of the public is short.
The A.B.C. Murders
It was in June of 1935 that I came home from my ranch in South America for a stay of about six months.
Funerals Are Fatal
Old Lanscombe moved totteringly from room to room, pulling up the blinds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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