Tag: Dress

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.

 


Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca | Review

Title: Rebecca

Author: Daphne du Maurier

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 432

Rating: 4*/5

 

Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca

 

First off, whatever you do, don’t read the Virago Modern Classics edition. The front cover is a spoiler for the last page and the introductory essay is a spoiler for the other 431 of them. I already knew a little bit about the story line of Rebecca because of its parodies in popular culture, and particularly Mitchell and Webb which ruined the scene with the dress from the portrait, and what I didn’t know was spoiled by Sally Beauman’s introductory essay. And from what I understand, that was only there in the first place to try to get you to buy her “award-winning Rebecca’s Tale, authorised by the du Maurier estate.” Yeah, I won’t be reading that.

Because of all that, this entire read felt more like a re-read, even though it’s the first time I’ve ever picked it up. And that’s a shame, because it took a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me. Sure, it was good to read it to see how du Maurier told the story, but none of it took me by surprise, as I imagine it would have if I’d read it in 1938. I’ve also never read Jane Eyre, which apparently it’s based on, so maybe I would have got more from it if I’d read that.

The unnamed narrator is bland and boring, at least for the majority of the book, but that’s a deliberate ploy on du Maurier’s part. Still, it was kind of irritating to have to read her whittering on about stuff, especially when you already know what’s going to happen and that it’ll make most of what she’s even going on about completely redundant. Maxim de Winter and Mrs Danvers were much more interesting.

 

Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier

 

I also found it entertaining because I didn’t trust Rebecca and then it turned out that I’d sussed her character out when everyone else in the book was taken in by her. But that wasn’t outright spelled out or spoiled for me and so even though I called it, at least I called it myself. I was also taken by surprise by a twist towards the end when they called upon Rebecca’s former doctor, but I also thought it was a little too convenient.

Overall, based on my reading experience, Rebecca just scrapes a 4/5, and only because I’m generous and based on the strength of du Maurier’s writing. Without being spoiled, it would have been an easy 5* and a contender for my book of the year. Oh well.

 

Daphne du Maurier - The Breakthrough

Daphne du Maurier – The Breakthrough

 

Click here to buy Rebecca.