3+ out of 5 stars to The Agatha Christie Book Club, the first in a mystery series published in 2017 and written by C.A. Larmer. In this series debut novel, you’ll find some of the charm in the traditional English cozy mystery novel mixed with modern day tools and techniques; a fine balance of the two with the potential to grow into a stronger series.
Why This Book
That’s an easy question: I love cozy mysteries. I adore Agatha Christie. I won it on a Goodreads Giveaway. As I packed for vacation last month, this book arrived in the mail the day before the flight. I took it as a sign to read it on the trip, but devoured it before the plane even landed.
Plot, Characters & Setting
Alicia, bored with her book club, assembles an interesting cast of characters to fit the theme of a new book club in her small Australian hometown. She follows familiar Christie methods to locate the members and holds a traditional English tea party to kick it off. By the second meeting, one of the members fails to show. Alicia decides to investigate more about the missing member, quickly learning nothing is at it appears to be. Add in her attractive and single chef sister and six other quirky book club members, you’ve got various caricatures of Christie characters, all who seem to have a few hidden secrets. The missing woman’s family doesn’t seem concerned at her disappearance, but there are many conflicting stories about whether the woman truly was a kind housewife or a mean-spirited diva. One by one, Alicia eliminates her suspects until she determines who was behind it all from the very beginning, of course, in traditional Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple manner…
Approach & Style
I read the paperback version, a 270 page edition, in 3 hours at an airport and on a plane trip from NYC to North Carolina. There are about 30 chapters with each one relatively short at around 8 to 9 pages. It is written in third person point of view in modern times, focused almost entirely on the perspective of the main character, Alicia Finlay. There are a few small sections from the culprit’s perspective, but only to help stir up some drama and remind us of a Christie story.
The cast of characters is diverse, clear and consistent. I kept changing which one I thought was behind the disappearance, ultimately settling on the proper solution. The author has built in lots of Christie authenticity and connections, which helps you become immersed in the story. I like the setting, and it seems like a good starting point for a book series. Writing was simple and easy to follow — no issues with voice, dialogue, description or narratives.
The plot was a tad too simple for my tastes, but I know it was meant to incorporate a lot of Christie’s characters and books as themes and reminders. It could have used a bit more substance and/or individuality to help it stand apart from other cozy mystery books and Christie-formula novels. I also felt it lacked enough typical setting descriptions to help readers feel as if we were there in Australia.
Author & Final Thoughts
This is the first book I’ve read from this author, but she has at least one another series about Ghostwriting mysteries. I will take a look at the descriptions to see if it is of interest. I’d read more from her as it was a good book to curl up with by a fire or on a plane for a few hours. Not a thriller or suspense mystery. More a cozy read covering interesting facts and plots about characters, authors and books that readers love to digest in quick sessions.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So… a murder is listed in a newspaper… foretelling it will happen at a certain date and time. Is it possible? Yes. Does it happen? You’ll just have to read it.
Christie at her best… love her stories. love the concept. well-written. I’m on a kick to go back and read all the Poirot’s and Marple’s this year!
Barbara Venkataraman‘s “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person” is an adorable piece of work that provides a humorous approach to learning all the key grammar rules in about thirty pages of sheer brilliance. It may sound funny to call it a “piece of work” but it truly fits in this case. It’s a work of fiction because there are characters with certain actions who are not real; however, it’s also a figurative “piece of work” because the approach the author took is quite amusing and unique.
Mrs. Grammar Person (Mrs. G. P.) introduces readers to all the rules and guidelines for how and why words change tense, plural / singular, possession, contractions, repetition, similar / different spellings, et al. She has a few friends that handle other areas of the English lexicon (syntax, other language translations) but is consistent in her need for tea and biscuits each morning. What a hoot!
Think of her as a cross between Miss Marple and Mary Poppins. But I guarantee you’ll save it as a quick look-up when in a pinch and you just can’t remember the formal rule before you submit that text to your professor, editor or blog.
Yikes! Even though I should be critical in the words, punctuation and grammar I select in this review, I’m hoping Mrs. G. P. will forgive me if I am not 100% on point with all the rules. It’s not her fault if I still get one or two wrong; it’s my conscious decision to blatantly break the rule. Yeah, that works. 🙂
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It had been a while since I read an Agatha Christie novel. I combed through the list of her work and thought to myself… I’m not actually sure if I ever read this one. And it turned out, I hadn’t! Now I want to watch a TV version to see how they interpret it!
Great story. So much has been re-done from this early on work. It’s a must read for Christie fans and truly any mystery buff!
Just sorry I waited so long!