Tag: Completionist

Agatha Christie – The Secret of Chimneys | Review

Title: The Secret of Chimneys

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 310

Rating: 3/5

This one’s a bit of a strange one because there aren’t any of Christie’s iconic characters for us to enjoy and it’s arguably more of an espionage thriller than a classic cosy mystery. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing here to like, but it does mean that if you’re expecting some classic cosy crime then you’re probably going to be disappointed.

I think my favourite thing about this book was probably the old lady who’d lived a blameless life and who ended up being blackmailed by someone. She realised that the blackmailer had got the wrong person, but she decided to play along anyway, even giving him some money, which she would otherwise have spent on a dress. She just wanted a little bit of excitement in her life, and fair play to her.

From there, someone gets murdered, and then we kind of slowly move on from there. The pacing is pretty good and the overall plot itself works out, it’s just that it’s nowhere near as gripping as some of Christie’s other work and so it feels relatively disappointing as a consequence. It’s definitely something that you’re only going to want to read if you’re a completionist like I am, or if you’re lucky enough to get a copy of the facsimile edition without paying, like I did.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for you here. I guess the only other thing that I’d mention is that one of the characters speaks like Poirot does, using English but sprinkling in random bits of French here and there. I feel as though Christie was just keeping herself in practice there and it didn’t really work so well. You see, not everything she touched turned to gold.

Learn more about The Secret of Chimneys.

 


Peter James – Faith | Review

Title: Faith

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 470

Rating: 3/5

This is another one of James’ lesser hits, which is kind of unsurprising because I’ve never found his standalones to be particularly strong. I guess I’m a Roy Grace fan more than a Peter James fan, although I am still slowly but surely working my way through everything he’s written. It’s just that this definitely isn’t at his best in this one.

Part of that is probably because of the characters. We’re mostly focusing on a manipulative plastic surgeon and his doormat wife, who he basically uses as a walking portfolio. Bad things start to happen to them, but really who cares? If anything, the fun in this story comes from watching their lives slowly fall apart.

Other than that, there’s not a great deal to say about this one. It’s a pretty competent thriller I guess, but I don’t really have much time for competent thrillers because there are so many of them out there and they’re all basically the same. In fact, by the time I was a third of the way through this, I was asking myself why I was still reading. But I’m a completionist and I’m trying to work my way through everything that Peter James ever wrote, and so I had to keep on keeping on anyway or my brain would have hated me.

And that brings us on to something of a problem for me, which is that I need to write another 200 words to finish off this review. But there’s just not much to say, to the point at which my favourite characters were some of the minor ones who didn’t really get as much air time as I think they deserved.

What more can I say? It was competent but not for me, and I feel as though even if you are going to read Peter James, you shouldn’t start with this one. Read some of the Roy Grace books instead, or if you’re not into crime then perhaps it’s worth checking out The House on Cold Hill. I think that one’s even been turned into a stage play, which could be worth checking out.

So would I recommend this one? Not really, I’m afraid. It was just a bit of a filler read for me, and I’m hoping that the next one that I pick up will be more memorable. I can’t say that this was awful or anything like that, but I do think that if you ask me about it in six months, I won’t remember a thing. That’s actually surprisingly common and it’s hardly the first time I’ll have read a book and immediately forgotten it. Shame it happened with an author that I actually quite like though, but eh.

Learn more about Faith.