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Pale Horse [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 21 2002 Agatha Christie Collection

A dark offering from the Queen of Crime. This Agatha Christie Signature Edition represents the author’s most successful foray into the dark world of murder and black magic.

To understand the strange goings on at The Pale Horse Inn, Mark Easterbrook knew he had to begin at the beginning. But where exactly was the beginning?


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Review

'Wholesale murder by black magic...highly ingenious, wholly enjoyable.' Evening Standard 'The acknowledged queen of detective fiction' Observer

From the Back Cover

When an elderly priest is murdered, the killer searches the victim so roughly that his already ragged cassock is torn in the process. What was the killer looking for? And what had a dying woman confided to the priest on her deathbed only hours earlier?

Mark Easterbrook and his sidekick Ginger Corrigan are determined to find out. Maybe the three women who run The Pale Horse public house, and who are rumored to practice the “Dark Arts,” can provide some answers?

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Father Gorman attends to one of his parishioners who, with her dying breath, asks for forgiveness and gives him a list of names with a wish that the evil be "Stopped ... it must be stopped ... You will see?" When Father Gorman was found murdered later that night, the police suspect that the murderer failed to find the crumpled list of names stuffed in Gorman's shoe and that the list was likely the reason he had been murdered. This list of names and a series of serendipitous events, happenstance conversations and fortuitous meetings put Mark Easterbrook, Dame Agatha Christie's ever-present amateur sleuth, onto the trail of a gang of ruthless murders for hire. But Easterbrook is terrified to discover that the murders seem to be committed by a coven of three odd witches dispatching their victims for a fee with a malevolent brew of witchcraft, psychic arts, black magic and the mere power of suggestion.

"The Pale Horse" retains many of the characteristics of Agatha Christie's earliest cozy mysteries - country fêtes and bazaars, afternoon tea, parish vicars and their long-suffering wives and the obligatory parlour room confrontation with the suspects. Agatha Christie even allows herself a cameo appearance in the novel in the person of twittering author Ariadne Oliver. But "The Pale Horse" also has a much more modern flavour as an aging Dame Christie brings her craft into London of the early sixties - Soho, Chelsea coffee bars, discussions of avant garde productions of Shakespearean plays in ways the bard would never have imagined, a more graphic approach to violence and brutality and a somewhat grudging if critical acceptance of the popular culture of London's younger people.

But the ending, whether you think of it as vintage mystery or new age police procedural, is classic Agatha Christie - a beautiful blind-side twist that no reader will see coming until it's right on top of you!

Highly recommended and thoroughly entertaining!

Paul Weiss
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5.0 out of 5 stars A departure from the usual for Dame Agatha May 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This 1961 novel is not a part of any of Christie's more famous series (Poirot, Miss Marple or Tommy and Tuppence) but does include some "old friends" from other books: the Dane Calthrops (THE MOVING FINGER), Rhoda and Major Despard (THE CARD ON THE TABLE) and Ariadne Oliver, the famous mystery writer who has appeared in several Poirot stories. The PALE HORSE is one of the novels that is as much romance and mystery.
The story is told by Mark Easterbrook, a writer who had taken up residence in the Chelsea district of London while working on his latest book on Mogul culture. He stopped into a coffee shop for a quick meal and witnessed an argument between two young women that ended with one pulling out a handful of hair from the other. The unfortunate woman's unusual name - Thomasina Tuckerton - stuck with Easterbrook. He was surprised when he saw it a week later, in the obituaries.
Easterbrook went on about his life, meeting with his friend, Ariadne Oliver, traveling to the country to visit his cousin, and going out with his long-time girlfriend Hermia Redcliffe. Meanwhile the police begin to investigate the murder of a priest who was killed on his way home from hearing a last confession. They found a list of names stuffed into the priest's shoe, including the name of the police inspector. The two threads of the story meet and continue to weave throughout London, out to the country, on to Birmingham and returning to London. On the way the path leads to witchcraft, deathrays, and murder for hire.
The mystery here appears to be more a how-it-was-done than a who- done-it although Christie has once again lead us down the garden path to a surprise finish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A nice diversion Jan. 14 2004
By Lisa
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have been a Christie fan for over two years, since I was twelve, and I found this to be a nice little diversion from Hercule Poirot's little gray cells and Miss Marple's village parallels. I must say that though I was able to guess the mastermind behind it all, I was not able to guess the method. This is easily one of Dame Agatha's most original plots (including THE MOVING FINGER, also featuring the Dane Calthrops), a story of two young people, who, in setting out to identify the murderer of a well-liked Catholic priest who learned something from a dying woman, find much more than they bargained for...and each other. I wonder why it's never been made into a movie??... ;-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on detective stories and on evil Sept. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nothing is more stupid, unanimous, superstitious, and pointless, than the universal habit of running down Agatha Christie as a writer. Even fellow crime writers who ought to acknowledge their debt to one of the absolute masters of the genre, are in the habit, when looking for any kind of literary respectability, to start by pooh-poohing her (thus Ruth Rendell, P.D.James, et caetera).
In point of fact, whatever a great writer is, Agatha Christie was one. Some of her stories are forgettable, many formulaic: but she has written at least a dozen, probably more, that count as classics of the language. The fact is that her kind of excellence runs absolutely counter to modern concerns. She can write stylish prose if she really wants to; she can create vivid and fascinating characters if she really wants to; but most of the time she is not too concerned with either of these things. Her characters are simple and reducible to a few primary types - like those of Homer. Her plots are what she really lavishes attention on (this book has a wonderful vignette of an author singularly like Dame Agatha herself, cudgelling her brains in despair to make some sense of a character's silly but necessary actions), and they are superlative. Properly read, they both express human values and generate great emotion; her denouements are never purely revelations of past events, but always insights into the minds of murderers, accomplices, and victims, into the logic of their situations, into the pressures that drive human beings. It has been said that her stories exist only for the sake of the denouement; if this is true at all, it is meaningless, since denouements do not exist by themselves but are a function of everything that has gone on before, and only work if the whole work has been carefully crafted.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling and puzzling
This is another stellar effort from ms Christie. A great puzzle. it is very different - certainly at first glane - to the basis of most of her novels, and is very original. Read more
Published on June 28 2002 by RachelWalker
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpectedly Creepy Murder Mystery
A priest is murdered immediately after hearing a dying woman's confession--and investigators soon discover a list of names concealed in his shoe. Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Christie Explores the Underworld
The Pale Horse is the name of an organization whose business is murder, akin to the Mafia or other nefarious gangster-style groups. Read more
Published on June 13 2001 by Antoinette Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars admirable!
i am a great agatha christie fan and have read quite a lot of her mysteries. and i daresay this is one of her finest, true Agatha-style pieces. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2001 by "merrysallahbar"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling mystery!
First of all, I have to say that this was not like Agatha Christie's usual writing style, but, never the less, it was fantastic!! Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Christie
I wish there were more Ariadne Oliver books. There are many plot twists and the murderer is difficult to figure out. A great book.
Published on Aug. 9 2000 by Moe811
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but missing something...
I have been a mystery lover for a long time, and knowing Christie's genius for a quality mystery, I hoped that THE PALE HORSE was a great book. But, it was rather mediocre. Read more
Published on July 15 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A sure winner
i being an avid fan of Agatha Christie really enjoyed this book the first time I read it.According to me it his her finest up-to-date With this book she has proved that she is... Read more
Published on June 9 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best
This was the 5th or 6th book by Agatha Christie I read but it has always been my favorit. I read this book about 6 years ago in 5th grade and for some reason I think it is one of... Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2000
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