The Secret of Chimneys

The Secret of Chimneys

by Agatha Christie

A bit of adventure and quick cash is all that good-natured drifter Anthony Cade is looking for when he accepts a messenger job from an old friend. It sounds so simple: deliver the provocative memoirs of a recently deceased European count to a London

  • Series: Superintendent Battle
  • Language: English
  • Category: Mystery
  • Rating: 3.87
  • Pages: 400
  • Publish Date: 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
  • Isbn10: 0007122586
  • Isbn13: 9780007122585

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It was interesting to read a Christie book with a detective other than Poirot. The aforementioned dashing young drifter does most of the heavy lifting in that regard, and in this way the book reminded me of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey series, the first book of which came out two years before The Secret of Chimneys.

This was the first Superintendent Battle and he is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip- an impassive mask of a face in the most disastrous situations .

I'll continue reading Christie but will try to avoid these types of books in the future.

Young Anthony Cade is in Africa, following his chosen life style of random adventuring when an old friend asks him to do a favour: Can he return to England in his place to deliver the memories of a dead man, and blackmail letters to a lady? Modern readers who like reading the fun parts of recent history will enjoy the descriptions of clothes, daily life in an English country manor house and the customs in general.

Still, we had not approached the title of the book, nor the character for which the series is named: General Battle. The protagonist is not General Battle, police chief who finally graces us at a well-heeled retreat, called Chimneys: a-ha! Finally, mysteries commence, which Anthony and Mary Revel help General Battle solve!

But all the plotting and planning leads the various protagonists to a complex denouement at a country house called Chimneys where Superintendent Battle and a man from the French police as well as various other people are set on finding out the truth.

It was so much fun though, specially if you like dry humor, and the narration by Hugh Fraser was simply marvelous. Probably the best he's ever done and I've listened to 30+ Christie books narrated by him. I know when they call out 'Who killed Prince Michael?' I shall register a 122 or something perfectly frightful, and they'll haul me off to jail at once." The manservant "He looks a murderous sort of fellow.

Reference Notes Series: Superintendent Battle #1 (1925) Narrator: (3rd person) Recurring Character: Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent (Lord Caterham's daughter) Victims: Mr. Giuseppe Manelli (COD: gunshot) Prince Michael Obolovitch of Herzoslovakia (COD: gunshot) Suspects: Mr. James "Jimmy" McGrath (the man who sets everything in motion when he asks his friend Anthony to deliver Herzoslovakia's former Prime Minister Count Stylptitch's memoirs at the firm of publishers in London) Mr. Anthony Cade (Jimmy's friend who seems to have a remarkable knowledge about Herzoslovakia's history and politics) Clement Brent, Marquis of Caterham (owner of Chimneys, the stately home where Prince Michael is murdered) Hon. George Lomax (Lord Caterham's friend who's politically interested in Herzoslovakia) Mrs. Virgina Revel (widow of Mr. Tim Revel, a former English Ambassador to Herzoslovakia) Mr. Bill Eversleigh (Mr. Lomax's secretary who fancies himself in love with Mrs. Revel) Mr. Herman Isaacstein (representative of the all-British syndicate that's interested in prospecting oil in Herzoslovakia) Mr. Hiram Fish (the one guest at Chimneys who doesn't seem to have any connection with Herzoslovakia) Baron Lolopretjzyl (representative of the Loyalist party of Herzoslovakia, interested in restoring the monarchy in his country) Mr. Boris Anchoukoff (Prince Michael's valet) Cap. Andrassy (Prince Michael's equerry) Mlle. I am much attached to Mrs Battle, sir.

Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan. Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born.