Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales

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Title: Midwinter Murder

Writer: Agatha Christie

Publishing House: William Morrow Paperbacks

Date of Publication: October 20th 2020

Rating: 5 stars

‘’It was nearly dark. The house felt suddenly very quiet and empty. It was a lonely house, two miles from a village, two miles, as Molly put it, from anywhere. She had often been alone in the house before – but she had never before been so conscious of being alone in it.’’

Welcome to the wintry world of crime and mystery.

‘’The snow beat in a soft flurry against the window – panes. It made a whispery, uneasy sound.’’

Three Blind Mice: Utterly brilliant! The well-known Christie technique of using haunting childish rhymes that hide the essence of the mystery delivers an exciting story. A young couple decides to turn their estate into a guest house. The assembly of newcomers is very particular, not to the mention that they are in grave danger of being murdered. Two blind mice have already gone down. Who shall be the third?

‘’It was a wild night. Outside, the wind howled malevolently, and the rain beat against the windows in great gusts.’’

The Chocolate Box: Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings discuss one of the unsuccessful cases of our beloved Belgian detective over a chocolate box.

‘’There was what I can only describe as a curiously eerie feeling in the air. There seemed to be something weighing on us all. A feeling of misfortune.’’

A Christmas Tragedy: Miss Marple narrates the chronicle of a murder foretold by the evil disposition of the killer. A Christmas tragedy indeed…

‘’A good night for ghosts to walk’’, said Portal with a reckless laugh. ‘All the devils in Hell are abroad tonight.’

The Coming of Mr Quin: On New Year’s Eve, a group of upper-class people find themselves involved in a crime of sadness and strange visitors. This one was rather perplexing, requiring my utmost attention. Brilliant!

The Clergyman’s Daughter: Tommy and Tuppence, our quirky duo, are called to investigate a poltergeist case that threatens the happiness of a charming girl. This was a wonderfully spirited story but quite predictable.

‘’They are so busy knocking that they do not notice that the door is open.’’

The Plymouth Express: The little grey cells of Poirot are called in to solve the murder of a woman found in a first-class compartment of the Plymouth Express.

Problem at Pollensa Bay: Majorca in the winter. What could be more enticing? Add a questionable social circle, a mother who behaves like a dictator, an oppressed young man and the suspicious behaviour of a potential gold digger. In my opinion, this story was rather boring and had nothing to offer to the collection.

Sanctuary: A man mortally wounded is discovered in a church by Miss Marple’s brightest goddaughter. Is it a suicide or a well-planned murder? The two women form the perfect dup and London hides all the answers.

The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge: Captain Hastings replaces Poirot when a crime is committed in an isolated manor in the moors of Devonshire. But not even influenza can stand in the way of our Belgian genius. 

The World’s End: An isolated village in Corsica hides the secret of a strange theft and a man who was wrongly accused. A very atmospheric story.

The Manhood of Edward Robinson: Yes, this story is as weird and melodramatic as its title. A brilliant example of social satire.

Christmas Adventure: A bunch of teenagers believe they are a match for Hercule Poirot.

Yeah, right.

Twelve stories to be read in the heart of winter, in the company of a hot cup of cocoa.

‘’After all, said Poirot reflectively, ‘it was an experience! I, who have undoubtedly the finest brain in Europe at present, can afford to be magnanimous!’’

Many thanks to William Morrow and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

4 Comments

  1. How interesting – the UK anthology doesn’t include Three Blind Mice. We got a story called Christmas Adventure instead!

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  2. This sounds excellent! I have just finished Murder in Paradise, 13 short stories featuring Poirot. ❤📚

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  3. I got a laugh out of your last comment about “Christmas Adventure.” No way that teens are a match for Poirot, but you know teenagers, they have to learn things the hard way…

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