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Secret Of Chimneys [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 13 2001 Agatha Christie Signature Edition

A new 'signature edition' of Agatha Christie's thriller, the first to feature Superintendent Battle and 'Bundle' Brent.

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.

The combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Surete can do no better than go in circles — until the final murder at Chimneys, the great country estate that yields up an amazing secret…


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Review

'One of the best of Agatha Christie's early thrillers.' Charles Osborne 'A thick fog of mystery, cross purposes, and romance, which leads up to a most unexpected and highly satisfactory ending.' Times Literary Supplement 'Here's another capital detective story by Miss Christie, which will keep the reader guessing until the very end, not only as to the identity of the arch villain - the murderer - but also that of the hero, Anthony Cade.' Literary Review

From the Back Cover

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that an errand for a friend would place him at the center of a deadly conspiracy. Drawn into a web of intrigue, he begins to realize that the simple favor has placed him in serious danger.

As events unfold, the combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Sûreté gradually converge on Chimneys, the great country estate that hides an amazing secret. . . .

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What FUN! March 12 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Let's be clear: this book is a NOVEL....The Ingram review isn't much better: yes, there's a beautiful woman and a stolen diamond in the story, but she has nothing to do with the theft.
In some ways, this is classic Christie, complete with nefarious goings-on in the grand country home, swarthy-looking foreigners, a beautiful heroine, a manly hero, the mysterious dead body, etc., etc. What raises it above the rest (and makes it one of my favorite Christie books) is that there is an unusual amount of HUMOR in the book, and more than a dollop of romance. And it's clever, altho' the "who-dun-it" is a bit obvious by the end. However, this is one book worth reading for what happens BETWEEN the crime and the revelation of the crook.
For budding Christie fans, you should know that "Chimneys" features some of the same characters found in "The Seven Dials Mystery," including the young Lady Eileen Brent (aka, "Bundle"), her long-suffering father Lord Caterham, the over-earnest George Lomax, and Bill Eversleigh - who marries Bundle at the end of "Seven Dials" but is infatuated elsewhere in this volume. Crime-solving is by the impassive Inspector Battle, another one of Christie's recurring characters.
A delicious read for a rainy week-end or a day at the beach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful old-fashioned fun April 24 2009
Format:Paperback
A murder at an English country manor - vintage Agatha Christie! British and foreign aristocrats, a famous stolen jewel, blackmail, a mysterious manuscript, dead bodies, and an inept but lethal criminal organization called "The Comrades of the Red Hand"! Great fun!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improbable Plot But A Fun Read Sept. 29 2002
By Antoinette Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Chimneys is the palatial home of the Marquis of Caterham and his charming daughter Eileen, better known as Bundle. His good friend, George Lomax, a high-ranking official in the Foreign Office, arranges a hunting party to be held at Chimneys. The party is actually a cover for diplomatic intrigue. Before the party is too far along, Christie serves up murder, blackmail, romance, mysterious strangers, and a case of mistaken identity. There is also a bit of political information about a fictitious country called Herzoslovakia. This book is often confusing, definitely improbable, but always fun.
I think that anyone who starts with this as their first Agatha Christie will not get a true picture of her work nor will they really see the depth of her genius. However, it is very enjoyable for confirmed Christie lovers.
This book is notable for the introduction of Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, a man who will appear in several other Christie books including one of her very best, "Towards Zero."
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A. Christie + P. G. Wodehouse=delightful mystery farce Jan. 26 2004
By Jeanne Tassotto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This 1925 novel begins in Africa with the chance meeting of two old friends, young men out to see the world. As they catch up with each other they discover that one is working at a job he hates and the other wants to be in two places at once. Since they resemble each other at least superficially one decides to impersonate the other.
When the imposter, Anthony Cade, arrives in England he has two errands to complete for his friend, Jimmy McGrath, the first to deliver a manuscript and the other to return a package of indiscrete letters to a lady. Cade is soon swept up in a tangle of intrigue that leads him to one of England most famous 'Stately Homes' - Chimneys.
At Chimneys all the various threads come together involving state secrets, murder, secret passages, secret societies and romance. All is well in the end setting the stage for the return of Chimneys and its delightful resident family in the SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY.
This is a comic mystery story with many of the characters and much of the plot sounding as much P. G. Wodehouse as Agatha Christie. For those looking for a serious mystery look else where. There is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple (although Superintendant Battle makes his first appearance) here but instead a delightful departure from Christie's usual style
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What FUN! March 12 2002
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Let's be clear: this book is a NOVEL....The Ingram review isn't much better: yes, there's a beautiful woman and a stolen diamond in the story, but she has nothing to do with the theft.
In some ways, this is classic Christie, complete with nefarious goings-on in the grand country home, swarthy-looking foreigners, a beautiful heroine, a manly hero, the mysterious dead body, etc., etc. What raises it above the rest (and makes it one of my favorite Christie books) is that there is an unusual amount of HUMOR in the book, and more than a dollop of romance. And it's clever, altho' the "who-dun-it" is a bit obvious by the end. However, this is one book worth reading for what happens BETWEEN the crime and the revelation of the crook.
For budding Christie fans, you should know that "Chimneys" features some of the same characters found in "The Seven Dials Mystery," including the young Lady Eileen Brent (aka, "Bundle"), her long-suffering father Lord Caterham, the over-earnest George Lomax, and Bill Eversleigh - who marries Bundle at the end of "Seven Dials" but is infatuated elsewhere in this volume. Crime-solving is by the impassive Inspector Battle, another one of Christie's recurring characters.
A delicious read for a rainy week-end or a day at the beach.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Concerning the AudioBook CD Edition Sept. 10 2005
By Odette Class - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This comment specifically concerns the AudioBook CD edition read by Hugh Fraser. As an avid audiobook listener, I would like to post a comment about this edition:

Fraser is not the most versatile voice-doer I've listened to, and that can be distracting at times. There is little change in pause length between sentence and paragraphs. Also, until you get used to the subtle difference in tones and voices, it is very hard to follow in dialogue who's saying what (especially when there are more than two characters conversing), and very easy for your mind to wander off, victim to the monotonous reading style. Overall, I give the reading effort 3 out of 5 stars.

Whether you should purchase this or not is up to you, but at least you've been cautioned. I recently heard The Body in the Library, read by Stephanie Cole, and the quality of the reading was excellent. Happy listening!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted thoroughly enjoyable classic Agatha Christie mystery Dec 31 2010
By Paul Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anthony Cade is a typical good-natured, rather shiftless upper crust British gentleman drifter. He always seems to have enough cash for smokes, a drink or two and a little travel and adventure but he never seems to actually DO anything. When Jimmy McGrath, a buddy in Africa, offers him the opportunity to earn some easy cash by delivering the memoirs of a recently deceased European count to his publisher in London, Cade simply can't resist the opportunity. But his discovery that the papers are far more sinister than a simple set of memoirs leads Cade and his friends into a twisted merry international romp that includes murder, blackmail, international intrigue, romance, mistaken identity and diplomatic shenanigans revolving around an improbable fictional nation called Herzoslovakia.

THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS is classic Agatha Christie on the light hearted side - a twisted mystery with convoluted humour and romance worthy of the best comedic mix-ups and farces ever concocted by Shakespeare in his lighter plays. The characters are magnificently developed British classic stereotypes - Anthony Cade, the manly, inimitable and absolutely unflappable male lead; Virginia Revel, the strong, quite beautiful and clever heroine; George Lomax, the well-meaning but entirely too procedure bound, earnest civil servant; Bill Eversleigh, the rather more hapless British gentleman hopelessly infatuated with a lady who wants only to be his friend; the Marquis of Caterham, the laughably pompous and long-suffering, utterly hidebound British aristocrat who sniffs his way through life wondering what the world is coming to; and, of course, an entire army of swarthy foreigners intent on furthering their nefarious political goals by whatever nasty means are presented.

Although not quite as well-known as Agatha Christie's more famous creations, Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, another of Christie's recurring characters makes his first investigative appearance here in THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS.

The cast is crowded and the twists and turns in a convoluted plot are plentiful but, like Shakespeare's A COMEDY OF ERRORS or ALLS WELL THAT ENDS WELL, everything turns out in the end and all of the loose ends are neatly tied. THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS is vintage Christie and a mystery that any fan of the genre will enjoy thoroughly. Highly recommended. (And if you enjoyed this one, much of the cast returns for an encore performance in THE SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY).

Paul Weiss
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