Murder in Three Acts

Murder in Three ActsExcellent, Poirot at his imperious best More thoughts tomorrow.Through Christmas and the New Year 2018 19 my family and I watched a lot of Agatha Christie, from David Suchet s Poirot, through Peter Ustinov to John Malkovich, plus also a documentary drama about Christie s disappearance for 11 days in 1926 Included in this Christmas Christie extravaganza was Three act tragedy.So to the book itself although Poirot does not appear as much as he does in the TV version, he is still instrumental in the solving of the crime, despite Sir Charles Cartwright playing the great detective Without giving the game away, there are a number of twists and turns that had me confused and bamboozled in both the tv version and the book, needless to say Hercule was not.Also without giving the game away, it has the best final sentence of any detective book I have ever read, maybe even of any book. Keeps you guessing till the last page. The Three Act Tragedy is yet another interesting murder mystery of the Poirot series The story is written in three acts as if on a play, and true to its kind, there is a lively drama that unfolds through the chapters view spoiler The local curate dies at a house party given by the famous actor, Sir Charles Cartwright The instant conclusion is that he is poisoned But no trace of poison is found and the death is attributed to his old age But a second death follows in the same manner and it is affirmed that he was poisoned with nicotine This revelation cast a shadow of suspicion on the verdict of the first death and an investigation is launched to unravel the identity of the true culprit hide spoiler I freely admit to my own bias the reason I recently gave Peril at End House only 3 stars is the same reason I am giving Three Act Tragedy five I solved End House with embarrassing speed for reasons outlined in my review , whereas Three Act Tragedy blindsided me I was absolutely convinced that the murderer was Miss Milray, and that she had dressed in drag as the butler I think Christie predicted that the careful reader would think so, hence her playing with us in the scene at the end when Miss M tries to destroy evidence I loved having a further twist catch me off guard I felt that all was back to normal in Christie land when The Queen of Crime outfoxed me as I expect her to do After all, that is why I love and respect her above all others if I want to solve a mystery halfway through I ll read Sayers or Tey or any of her other contemporaries.However, Three Act Tragedy deserves all five stars quite apart from whether I solved it before Poirot or not It s not a well known novel at all in fact I d never read it before and was amazed to find such a strong Golden Age Christie novel had slipped under my radar Dame Agatha thinks of everything she answers every question I had save one on that later For example, I wondered at first why Poirot was even in this novel since Mr Satterthwaite seemed to be doing well at sleuthing, but she explains it perfectly his psychology is wrong for this case He is always, in every book in which he appears, the perfect audience , and here that means he can t see past the acting A nice touch, consistent with his characterization elsewhere the quality that is usually his strength as a detective is his downfall here, so the even greater detective takes over I have never been stumped on so many different fronts before I couldn t figure out who had done it, nor why, nor even how, like the world s most frustrating game of Clue I actually had the thought that the one poisoned glass among many would work if you just wanted to kill someone, anyonebut I didn t seriously think that would be the solution Again, though, it works the dress rehearsal and the red herring fit in with Charles egomania one of the most unusual motives in all of Christie dom It reminds me of the solution to The ABC Murders but with a completely different motive.Why didn t I suspect Charles I think it s because I knew Mr Satterthwaite was innocent as he is a recurring amateur detective character, usually with his supernatural partner Mr Quin to guide him Charles seemed to be his Watson here, even though I know perfectly well and I say it ALL THE TIME that with Christie the murderer can be absolutely anyone Should have listened to myself Christie, again unlike her contemporaries, has no pity for the love interest Poor Egg Psychology is the theme of the novel and I was deeply impressed by some of the subtle ways Christie employs it For instance, in the doctor s journal, M is for MuggI got chills when I read that, because the casual use of a childhood friend s former name rang completely true I could imagine my husband s best friend referring to him in a journal as O , short for an old childhood nickname they still use between them rather than the initial of his real name Tiny details like that make the solution all the better My only complaint we never did find out where the secret passage was, did we It was somewhere in the library but Poirot never found it and it was apparently irrelevent to the case A shame, as I love a good secret passage I guess it s a testament in and of itself that when it comes to Agatha Christie, I devour a book in one sitting, remain thoroughly lost to the outside world in the interim, and never even read the synopsis I wholeheartedly trust that whichever book I pick will be worthwhile.But then, Agatha Christie was my childhood Say what you will, but even when it comes to evil and muuuuuuuurder, we tend to trust our childhood Nostalgia Memories Rose tinted glasses.And, in Agatha Christie s case a repeated justification of all of the above The titular Queen of Crime is just that good for me Beware the inherent bias It is strong in this one Three Act Tragedy, as the title might imply, features idiosyncratic actors, astute playwrights, eccentric roles, reminiscences of stage productions, and most of all a murder in three acts Which, really, is code for three interconnected murders of varying degrees of significance And which give a whole new meaning tochoose your poisonUnlike his usual solitary sleuthing ways or ones where Hastings tags along and remains continually baffled, puzzled and in awe of Poirot s detecting and deductive skills , in Three Act Tragedy Poirot has teamed up with a team of individuals all too invested in the resolution of the murders Moreover, Poirot is willing to give the limelight up entirely in favor of one who seems to need the acclaim After all, tout le monde conna t the great Hercule Poirot He may share the spotlight, that is but he has by no means dispensed with the egoism And that s just the way we like him.And so, as one amateur detective interrogates one suspect, and the other equal amateur interrogates another, Poirot puts the little grey cells to work once and acts as a sort of information center He is the point to which all his unlikely assistants come, and the one from which they go out on further assignments.Unlike the novels that revisit past crimes, Three Act Tragedy is faster paced The stakes are higher Even amid the conversations and the debate, murder hangs over all like a sword of Daemocles it s a question of when it will strike than if it will So you re engaged, you re on edge, time flies, and sooner than you wish, the conclusion is here.And the conclusion, suffice it to say, doesn t disappoint in that it s all but impossible to predict, especially in its entirety It is the motive, than anything, that seems sorely lacking until the very end And that is precisely what makes Three Act Tragedy so difficult to decipher Like all of the rest of his team, we trot behind Poirot, in desperate hope of catching up.And we seldom ever do Which is all one can hope for in a classic mystery. Simply delicious, but Poirot would have been appreciated Plus, now I can t get my mind off of the idea of Mr Quinn magically popping up to pair up with Poirot and his old friend Satterthwaite who is in this book and to whom I owe this bookish dream of mine. This book was a bit frustrating for awhile Hardly any Hercule Poirot was in it Even so, I grew a bit bored and not just because of the absence of the detective At first the story was all over the place before the middle act, which was distracting The characters and scenes were interesting enough for a bit, but mehI kept wanting to skim ahead after awhile Much of it was thoughtful dialogue among secondary characters without any continuing ties to go on After page 128, seriously, Hercule Poirot started appearing for real There was a minor scene with him at the beginning but nothing fancy Once he came on stage the story started to come together even so, even if it wasn t from his usual detective type meddling At first I was afraid this would be another disappointing mystery type where a solution is found without any clever clues to help the readerhowever, it turned not to be so when the case was explained.The clues instead were so very minor and subtle it was almost impossible to pick up on them Interesting and much better after the second act, the ending was a dramatic one that surprised me on who the culprit was Leave it to Christie to stun the reader Despite the redemption, still left this one as three stars and a least favorite of the series Too slow, disjointed, not enough of the infamous Belgian detective, and while the ending was great, it did not hold enough power to excel the rest of the book. The Name Was Changed To Three Act Tragedy For Later Printings At An Apparently Respectable Dinner Party, A Vicar Is The First To DieThirteen Guests Arrived At Dinner At The Actor S House It Was To Be A Particularly Unlucky Evening For The Mild Mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, Who Choked On His Cocktail, Went Into Convulsions And Died But When His Martini Glass Was Sent For Chemical Analysis, There Was No Trace Of Poison Just As Poirot Had Predicted Even Troubling For The Great Detective, There Was Absolutely No Motive

Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name

➺ Murder in Three Acts Free ➰ Author Agatha Christie –
  • Murder in Three Acts
  • Agatha Christie
  • 12 September 2019

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