Sparkling Cyanide

I have been reading Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide with a lovely group of people on Instagram and have been thoroughly enjoying it.

20200624_185752.jpg

I haven’t read any Christie for a while and it has been years since I read this one.  So much so that I genuinely had no idea whodunnit – which makes a nice change for me when I’m re-reading a book.  This was a good one too – a long list of suspects who all seemed pretty plausible.  Early on I did single out the love interests and write them off as suspects but then I remembered that Christie is not Ngaio Marsh or Georgette Heyer.  Anyone could have done it – including either or even both of the love interests – so they went back on the list.

In the end, I only guessed a few pages before the reveal which is always satisfying.  I like to be able to work out the solution before the detective but it’s not so great when you work out the murderer right at the beginning of the book!

It was a lot of fun reading this with the others.  There are always so many things which come up in the chats that I just don’t notice for myself when I’m reading and it is lovely to share my ideas with other people.  We might not be able to have in person book clubs at the moment but this is just as good (especially as my book club would never read a lot of the books I would like to choose!).

Visiting Agatha Christie

I am just back from a week’s holiday in Dartmouth. I had a lovely, restful time and got to do a lot of reading.

No trip to Dartmouth would be complete without a visit to Agatha Christie’s house Greenway.  She described it as, ‘The loveliest place in the world,’ and it really is beautiful.  You can see that the views when she lived there must have been amazing, although the trees have grown up a  bit now and obscure the view somewhat.

DSCN6241

Some of the nicest things about the house are the bookshelves.  A great many National Trust houses have libraries which are filled with books bought by the yard – all matching and never read.  The books here were completely mismatched and looked very well read which made me so happy.  There were naturally many different editions of Agatha Christie’s own books and I fell in love with this little bookcase on the landing.  I want one!

DSCN6240

Perhaps my favourite thing though was the drawer of imaginatively addressed envelopes which found their way to the house.

DSCN6243

Of these, I was especially fond of this one which is just wonderful.

DSCN6244

Of course, we had to walk down to the boathouse which features so prominently in Dead Man’s Folly.  We had been listening to the audio book on the way down to Dartmouth and I finished it after our visit.  I have read it before but it was fascinating to read it again and be able to picture the scene exactly.

Once in the boathouse we spent a long time watching the river from the balcony.  It is such a peaceful spot and it is a lovely place to sit.  There is a fireplace inside so I should think it would be wonderfully cosy in winter too.  Whilst there I also got to sit in Agatha Christie’s own chair – it was made especially for her and she used to sit in it to look over her manuscripts.  One couldn’t read anything but Dead Man’s Folly there and there was a handy copy lying on the chair with a useful label pointing me to the relevant pages.

DSCN6258

We left by ferry and so walked down to the quay through the woods – the shortcut which so infuriated Sir George Stubbs.  It was a lovely day and I’m sure I will be back again in the future.

DSCN6262

Summer Reading

“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”

Jeannette Walls – The Glass Castle

I absolutely agree with the sentiment in this quote. Even though we have artificial light there is nothing quite like a summer evening spent outside with a book.

DSCF8919

I generally read a lot of classics but I do like to intersperse them with lighter reads, especially in the summer. One August a few years ago I exclusively read Enid Blyton and it was wonderful.

Recently I have had a bit of a run of cosy crime books. I started with Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit which I first read on an archaeology field trip when I was at college. There was a copy lying around the youth hostel which I naturally picked up and I loved it. I have always remembered it as one of my favourite of Christie’s books.

I was not disappointed on re-reading it either – I still loved it and just wish there were more books featuring Anne Beddingfeld.

What are you reading at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for good summer reads? I would love to hear them!