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The Agatha Christie Book Club (2012)

by C.A. Larmer(Favorite Author)
3.49 of 5 Votes: 4
Larmer Media
review 1: I quite enjoyed this book but I found it a bit predictable, so for that reason only gave it two stars. Being an Agatha Christie fan the title of this book attracted me, so I downloaded it to my Kindle.I felt a little disappointed at the anti-climax of Alicia's meeting with the missing lady she had been looking for. I could see what was happening long before the amateur detectives of the Agatha Christie Book Club. For someone who is an avowed Agatha fan, and who should have known something of the background of the author, I am surprised that Alicia Finlay didn't cotton on before she did about Barbara's disappearance. It didn't need a Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot or even a Tuppence Beresford to work out where she had gone and why. The clues were staring her, and us, in the fa... morece. It was obvious that the hydro referred to in the story was a spa and not a hydro-electric station. I hope by this review I haven't given the plot away too much but frankly, there isn't much to give away. Real-life Agatha fans will nod knowingly early on in the plot and question the competence of Alicia's little grey cells. The subplots could have done with being beefed up, too. These criticisms aside, I really did enjoy the book but if there is a sequel, the author should make the clues harder, the characters more rounded and less like cardboard cutouts, and add some atmosphere. Just because it is set in modern day Australia rather than the England of the 1920s and 30s, it doesn't mean that it can't be atmospheric. The real Agatha Christie novels had all these ingredients in abundance, whether setting them in a country estate, a seaside boarding house, a nursing home, an archaeological dig or a London hotel.
review 2: The Agatha Christie Book Club By C.A. LarmerI was drawn to the book by the title. I first cut my mystery teeth on Agatha Christie’s fine cozies, although I haven’t read her in years. It did take me a little bit of time to sink into that cozy mystery mindset, but once I did this book read pretty smoothly, considering the differences in terminology and spelling between American English and Australian English. I’ve read this author before, so knew she was an Australian. The story takes place in Australia, so, of course, it is filled with idioms common in the spoken language. I expected that and didn’t find it a problem, for the most part. Usually, I could deduce the meaning of the idiom by the context in which it was used. In fact, I found it kind of enjoyable. For instance: punch up for fight. I particularly liked that one. A couple, however, stopped me. One was quiff (location 1779). That one I had to stop and look up, which means I was completely out of the story during that time. And, believe me, if you’re going to look it up, be prepared, as some of the definitions were a surprise to me (and didn’t fit the context at all). Yikes. Evidently it refers to a 1950s pompadour like hair style – that was the definition that seemed to fit the context. Another was arvo. The context made it obvious that it was short for afternoon, but trying to look it up and find out why it had a “v” in it was both time consuming and fruitless and, also, frustrating. I do note that evidently it is commonly used on the internet, too, although I’ve never seen it before. I still have no answer as to why afternoon would be abbreviated using a letter that doesn’t exist in the word itself, so any enlightenment would be welcome. Also, why abbreviate café as caf’? Not like it’s a long word anyway. Seemed unnecessary, even if it is a common Australian idiom, especially since the entire word is used earlier in the same paragraph. Also the term “Mud Sticks.” Even context left me lost on that one. Some spellings differences between what one would see in Australia and what one would see in the U.S. I expected – use of ou where we would use just the o, as in favour and favor. The ones that stopped me involved the use of a form of the word jewel. That word itself was spelled as I expected to see, but the terms jewellery and Jeweller , as opposed to jewelry and jeweler, did throw me. As both those terms are used often, it meant I was stopped often. There were a couple of editing problems, but just a couple. At 1161 (26%) on my Kindle, “She raised his eyebrows to indicate yes.” I reread the paragraph or so prior to this a couple of times, but it still didn’t make sense. Just a mistake. At 1580 (36%), the author left off an “ed” here: “She nodded and, feeling as though she need to justify her existence, ordered a muffin as well.There were some instances of no punctuation or odd punctuation, but they didn’t bother me enough to jot down the locations. I was very, very put off by the main character’s attitude on cats. I’ll admit to being a cat person, but I like dogs, horses, ferrets, rabbits, birds and yes, even snakes. Even if they aren’t my pet of choice, I don’t disdain others who do choose to dote on them. Alicia’s little rant about the cat magazine she is being paid to edit, at about 1071 (24%), pissed me off, and worse, it colored how I felt about the character throughout the book. Not a smart idea to piss off your readers when making the job tedious can be done without disdaining the subject matter itself.All that aside, It was a fun read. There was an interesting premise, with much of the action having a parallel in the writings of and the actual life of Agatha Christie. Reading about the book club choices reminded me that I need to reread some of my old books and maybe look at one or two I never got around to. There were a lot of characters and they were fleshed out enough to follow the plotline, although I didn’t get the feeling I really knew most of them at the story’s end. Actually, my two favorite characters weren’t the main character or the antagonist, but the main character’s sister and the antagonist’s brother. To me, they showed the most real emotion and reacted the most normally of all the characters. I can’t say the book wasn’t enjoyable – I enjoyed it. Just didn’t love it. I liked the premise, liked the use the novels as clues, liked reading about Agatha Christie in any form. I absolutely loved the uncovering of what happened to Barbara and the confrontation between the antagonist and protagonist. However, unlike a Christie novel, I had it figured out pretty early and that makes the reading of everything in between that moment of ‘aha’ and the ending seem pretty long. Maybe I knew too much about the Christie novel plots and about Christie herself. What seemed obvious to me might not seem so obvious to someone not as familiar with the author and her works.If you’re looking for a quick and easy read , and are a fan of cozy mysteries, this might be one for you to look into. less
Reviews (see all)
Delightful read...lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end.
I love mysteries. This one had several twists and turns. Nice.
A really fun read. I will look for more of Larmer's work.
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