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Book Reviews: Murder In The Mews + 24 Short Stories + The War Of The Wives

Murder In The Mews by Agatha Christie
This is a collection of 4 novellas.

Murder In The Mews
On November 5th, a woman dies. But was it murder or suicide? Poirot investigates. This has the unexpected tedium of dated snobbery and dated explanations. This was slightly unsatisfying.

Best Lines:
“Might have got one or two of the characters to come and burst in the door.”

“One of the God-forsaken spots you send ne’er-do-wells to-”

“He wasn’t the sort of man I should have encouraged to come to the house after we were married.”

The Incredible Theft
Men try to catch a spy as an ethical obligation. Only to lose the top secret plans they were using as bait. This has sexism and intellectual inertia. Poirot is valued consul, but this is not a necessarily bleak, wrenching portrayal.

Best Lines:
The purification of England’s morals.”

“Women are the devil.”

Dead Man’s Mirror
An eccentric rich man dies. Poirot investigates in his signature narrative mode. Hoary old arguments are trotted out. What lurks beneath the affable surface? This disappointed and had more sexism and values dissonance. This was forgettable like ‘Endless Night’, ‘Peril At End House’, ‘Sparkling Cyanide’, ‘Three-Act Tragedy’, ‘Death In The clouds’, ‘Third Girl’, ‘Hallowe’en Party’, ‘Elephants Can Remember’, ‘They Do It With Mirrors’ and ‘Nemesis’. This had snobbery and demented conviction but was senseless and had no creative instinct.

Best Lines:
“A definitely inferior social class.”

“This door must be broken open immediately!”

“People were beginning to talk as it was.”

Triangle At Rhodes
In Rhodes, an ‘Evil Under The Sun’ like plot takes place. General judgements are made and there is a twist ending that is not a glorious finding. Okay.

Best Lines:
“Scowling after the retreating husband and wife in a singularly unpleasant fashion.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised if he ill-treats her!”
“She probably likes that too.”

24 Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield
This 1972 book contains short stories by a late author. The only decent stories were ‘The Daughters Of The Late Colonel’ which is a tale of grief and ‘The Doll’s House’ in which a girl asks poor scorned children to play with her doll’s house. There are caustic remarks and emotional ills. This was not good or full of emotions worth savouring.

Best Line:
“How did one meet men?”

The War Of The Wives by Tamar Cohen
Selina is shocked when her husband dies suddenly. But at the funeral she learns he had another family and the snotty Lottie and her brat daughter are unwelcome intruders in her family. This is a tale of learning your husband was a disreputable letch and the despair and disappointment of several years of shattered dreams. This was good. It is a tale of tentative desire, an undeserving man who was backed unreservedly, ignorance and loneliness, lustless companionship and how sureness can be undone in an instant.

Best Lines:
“It’s a trapping point.”

“White bread is the work of the devil.”

“Even the man I shared my life with turned out to be someone else entirely and died wearing a stranger’s wedding ring.”

“The daughter who grew up in the shadow of a sister she didn’t even know existed.”
Tags: book review, poirot

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