miss marple

365 Challenge: Day 306 – Crime (Author Alert: Agatha Christie)

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Crime: (a) an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Agatha Christie

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. I usually feature a new author who is currently writing: I share an interview with him or her, as well as fresh content about their upcoming work and fun facts. This week, as I wasn’t able to secure a new author in time, I’ve gone retro to cover an ole favorite! Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. I am pleased to present a few tidbits about the very talented Agatha Christie. 

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First, I apologize for not bringing you a new author this week. I had a few possibilities falling into place, but given their schedule and my reading schedule, we opted for posting about them later this month or in early February. So… rather than rush to read someone else’s book at the last minute (to prepare me for a new author alert), I went with one of my go-to authors for when I want to have an amazing read!

I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know who Agatha Christie is… perhaps they’ve not read one of her books, or seen a TV/Film adaption, but the name must ring a bell. Just in case… huge fiction writer in the early/mid 20th century known as England’s Grand Dame of mysteries. She’s produced ~70 books in her lifetime, many focused on popular characters such as Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Tommy & Tuppence; however, there are also non-series books that are as equally compelling.

Miss Christie herself also had a bit of a mystery when she disappeared for months. To this day, many people still wonder whether it was staged or real. It’s an interesting story because she was considered quite famous at the time — no one would believe she’d stage such a thing, but then again… think about all her characters! I’ll leave it at that… let you have a bit of a puzzle to go in search of what really happened.

Mystery fiction is my favorite genre, and it’s because of Agatha Christie. The ingenuity built into the plots is often so clever, you will never be able to guess it; yet when you finally get to the reveal, it makes 100% perfect sense. In “And Then There Were None,” my all-time favorite of her books, ten people are invited to an island where one-by-one, they are murdered according to a poem they found in the remote house. It’s a bit of a controversial book in that the title was changed a few times; it had previously been called ‘Ten Little Indians,’ but far worse, it once held a name using the nasty ‘n’ word. Although it was ~100 years ago, and didn’t necessarily have as bad/awful/shameful a connotation as it’s grown to have, it was still a shock when I learned about it years ago. As it’s clearly WRONG, I won’t go into it anymore, but it did give me some concern when reading the books. Ignoring that for a moment (as the plot is purely about murder and revenge), the story is absolutely top notch.

When I need something brilliant and curious, I will always turn to a Christie. I love the inherent English tradition within them. When they visit the Middle East or India, it’s quite eye-opening to see how people (both the English and the native inhabitants) behaved in foreign lands at that time. Some of the dialogue and words are peculiar, which makes me want to look up more about the culture to get a better sense of reality. It’s engaging and analytical. I can usually push through one of her novels over 3 hours in one sitting, as you don’t want to put them down.

If you’ve never read a Christie, but want to… ask for a recommendation! If you want to buddy-read one with me this year, let me know. I’d love to share this author with others and have a great discussion about their beauty. And we can use our ‘little grey cells’ together.

 

Links To Learn More About Miss Christie

Goodreads

Amazon

Author Site

 

I’ve read about 20 of her books, but you’ll see below that I only have 7 listed with reviews, as I read them too long ago to be sure I could write a proper review. Instead, I challenge myself to read another 7 in 2018 as part of my Goodreads Challenge to read 104 books this year. I wonder which ones I will select…

Books I’ve Read

  1. And Then There Were None (1939) — My favorite Christie & in my top 5 of all books

Book Series – Hercule Poirot Mysteries

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  2. Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
  3. Death on the Nile (1937)
  4. Evil Under the Sun (1941)

Book Series – Miss Marple Mysteries

  1. The Body in the Library (1942)
  2. A Murder is Announced (1950)

Note: If there is an active link, I’ve completed a review.

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To see more about Agatha Christie on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and reviews will added as I read her books.

Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.

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Book Review: The Agatha Christie Book Club by C.A. Larmer

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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.

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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.

Strengths 
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.

Concerns 
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.

About Me 
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.

Review: A Murder is Announced

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A Murder is Announced
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie

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!

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Review: Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person

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Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person
Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person by Barbara Venkataraman

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. 🙂

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Review: The Body in the Library

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The Body in the Library
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

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!

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