Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

For those looking for a prolific writer whose works are always in season, Agatha Christie should be on the top of your list. You won’t run out of books to read quickly — they are fun to revisit even if you have read them some time ago, and she even has a holiday tale. . . .

Known by several titles since its original publication in 1938, Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder (aka Hercule Poirot’s Christmas or Murder for Christmas) has been delighting fans of classic murder mysteries for decades.

Simeon Lee is an unpleasant old man. He is also a very rich old man, which might explain why his timid son Alfred and Alfred’s long-suffering wife Lydia tolerate his meanness. They’ve lived with Simeon for years, despite his cruelty and the savage way he treated his late wife.

The rest of the family long ago figured out their own escape, whether it was fleeing to London for a political career like stingy George, becoming an artist and renouncing all family ties like the sensitive David, running away to Spain to get married like free-spirited Jennifer, or just absconding to parts unknown like the family’s wild child Harry.

But for Christmas, Simeon has summoned all of his sons (and their wives) back home, as well as the late Jennifer’s daughter Pilar. Also popping in is the son of his former business partner back in South Africa. It almost looks like the old man wants to make amends for the holidays, but anyone who assumes that just doesn’t know Simeon very well. . . .

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book at the Bottom of Your To-Read List

I’m going to veer away from my usual routine here, so please humor me.

When I had to pick a book from the bottom of my to-read list, I wasn’t quite sure where to even start. I mean, my to-read list on Goodreads currently has 128 books on it, and that’s not even counting the books I want to read but haven’t added.

I ended up deciding to read Agatha Christie’s 1920 debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I love Agatha Christie mysteries–the twisting and, at times, convoluted plots; the witty characters; the atmosphere. I’ve read roughly 40 of her books over the years, but I realized that I’d never read much of her early work, including her very first book. So, I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles and also 4 of her 5 next books–The Murder on the Links, The Man in the Brown Suit, Poirot Investigates, and The Secret at Chimneys–within a couple of weeks.

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2016 Library Challenge: Book with a Number in the Title

Happy Pi Day!

Since the 1980s, people have been celebrating the concept of π–the mathematical ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which is always a constant 3.14 –on March 14th. Sorry to subject you to math lessons early in the morning.

I’m not entirely sure what people gifted in mathematical ability do to celebrate Pi Day because I was an English/history major for a reason. But someone in my classes always brought a pie to class on Pi Day, so I was always a fan of this holiday. I’m not going to argue with any train of thought that results in free pie.

Since I can’t deliver a pie to you through the internet, I thought I might instead offer a list of suggestions for this year’s challenge to “Read a book with a number in the title.”

A quick answer to this question would be to just read one of the many books in either James Patterson’s Woman’s Murder Club series or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, both of which always feature numbers in the title.

However, there are a lot of other books in our system that also work for this category, so let’s explore a few of them. As always, if you’re interested in learning more about them, follow this link to our online catalog.

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