Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The story begins with Anthony Cade, a dashing tour guide, who bumps into an old friend in Bulawayo. This friend charges him with two tasks; firstly to deliver a politically sensitive memoir to publishers in London, and secondly to return a packet of incriminating letters to a woman named Virginia Revel.

Once in London Cade has to have his wits about him. There are people who want the manuscript and will go to great lengths to get it. He meets Virginia Revel and together they travel to Chimneys, the stately home of Lord Caterham. Chimneys has a history of being used as a meeting place by the great and the good when subjects of national importance have to be discussed privately. They arrive to find that a murder has taken place, and there is a connection with the memoirs.

This summing up in no way does justice to the complexity of the story. There are almost two stories - the political story surrounding the memoirs, and also an old-fashioned jewel heist. There are some wonderful characters. I particularly loved Virginia Revel, a young widow who's nobody's fool and has an eye for adventure. Together she and Cade reminded me a bit of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford with their devil-may-care attitude. I also loved Inspector Battle, the Scotland Yard policeman who comes to investigate the murder. Understated and a bit taciturn, he sees more than he lets on and there's not much that gets by him.

I didn't guess who the villain was of course, I never do. Though I have to say I don't know how anyone could've worked this one out. Altogether I thought it was a good read and I enjoyed it. I read it as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge

We went to our local RSPB reserve the other day. There is always plenty for kids to do there, and Billy did the Berry'd Treasure Trail which involved finding the special information boards about berries and answering the questions on his clipboard. It was a very sunny day, and I snapped our shadows on the path. We live in a very industrial area, and this reserve is right in the middle of it, but nature thrives here.


  1. I still have the tv version of ths to watch, but they added Miss Marple in it, and my mum was not impressed. Perhaps I should start with the book.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, I am now a new follower of yours :)

    I've never read any Agatha Christie, I'm not sure if detective novels are for me. I own Death on the Nile, perhaps I'll get to it one day...

  3. I am so glad you wrote about Agatha Christie. It reminds me that I want to read her, there are so many choices! I have already read a few, but this one sounds especially good. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. I haven't read this Agatha Christie, and it sounds great - I love any mystery which involves bundles of papers! I haven't read an AC for ages, so perhaps this will be my next... my housemate has most of them, so fingers crossed on this one!