July's Book of the Month: A Caribbean Mystery

TuppenceTuppence City of London, United Kingdom admin
As Miss Marple sat basking in the Caribbean sunshine she felt mildly discontented with life. True, the warmth eased her rheumatism, but here in paradise nothing ever happened. Eventually, her interest was aroused by an old soldier’s yarn about a murderer he had known. Infuriatingly, just as he was about to show her a snapshot of this acquaintance, the Major was suddenly interrupted. A diversion that was to prove fatal.

A Caribbean Mystery has been described as one of Christie's most solvable mysteries. Would you agree?
Any questions? Please email generalenquiries@agathachristie.com
«134

Comments

  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    Hi Tuppence, who has said that the mystery is solvable, and where, please?
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ✭✭✭✭
    I'm very fond of this book. I've read more than one time and still  a very pleasant
     reading.
    I don't know who has said that, but I disagree.  The murderer can be be anyone. Of course, the reader can solve the puzzle (as almost all of her stories), but this is quite different from saying that is one of the most solvable.

  • To say that A Caribbean Mystery is "one of Christie's most solvable mysteries" would be saying that finding the solution to the mystery is easy--that it's a piece of cake. And that isn't so because her mysteries are not easily solvable. If that were the case I don't think she would be considered the Queen of Mystery/Crime She is given that title because her puzzles are far from easily being solvable. It takes effort, work and thought from Agatha Christie herself as a writer to neatly tuck away the clues, throw the red herrings in there and misdirect us and from the reader he/she must see what these clues are, if the red herrings are indeed what they are and see where Christie is misdirecting our noses to a particular scent or whether they should be on some some other scent. 

    I'm may be getting a little off topic here, but Alfred Hitchcock is the Master of Suspense and he's given that for a reason. He keeps us glued to our seats and our eyes peeled to the film. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Madame_DoyleMadame_Doyle USA ✭✭✭
    Griselda said:
    Hi Tuppence, who has said that the mystery is solvable, and where, please?
    I would also like to know where this is coming from.  I have never heard that Caribbean Mystery is easily solvable, let alone "one of the most solvable."

    @Tuppence - please cite your sources so that we may look at this claim in more depth.
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    I totally agree with both of you, Tudes and ChristieFanForLife. There is no shortage of suspects, or a motive, and the motive for the murder in question is so generic, that there are few special clues as to who might have committed it. Money is usually the motive when somebody has committed a very similar crime before, and is going to do the same thing again, (after all, you don't tend to get insanely jealous over somebody twice in a row) and hot spots in the Caribbean are awash with people who have loads of money. The modus operendi could make it anybody, also. It isn't a weird crime with an ABC train guide next to the body, or anything.

    I think that the idea which might have suggested this story to Dame Agatha, might have been the thought that what is important is that the murderer must silence he who has evidence of his past because, crucially, he is about to do the same sort of crime again. I didn't get what that meant, and its significance, initially, and I was thinking, 'Well, surely you'd want to silence someone who knew you had killed, whether or not you were about to do the same thing again.' But actually, you would think that the person who recognized you would not be sure enough - unless it all happened again.

    I think that being a later work, the narrative of this novel does ramble on, a fact which actually obscures some of the main points. But when I am the age of Dame Agatha when she wrote A Caribbean Mystery, I shall be less succinct also, and it is a fantastic story, even if it lacks some crispness in the telling.

    I've just had a thought which has never occurred to me before...if we are asked to discuss a novel then presumably we don't have to do 'SPOILER ALERT' because we couldn't, anyway, discuss it, and whether it is solvable, without mentioning the solution.


  • edited July 2016
    Griselda said:
    I think that being a later work, the narrative of this novel does ramble on, a fact which actually obscures some of the main points. But when I am the age of Dame Agatha when she wrote A Caribbean Mystery, I shall be less succinct also, and it is a fantastic story, even if it lacks some crispness in the telling.

    I've just had a thought which has never occurred to me before...if we are asked to discuss a novel then presumably we don't have to do 'SPOILER ALERT' because we couldn't, anyway, discuss it, and whether it is solvable, without mentioning the solution.


    A lot of A.C.'s later work does intend to ramble on a bit and is not as tightly written as it was in years before but her cleverness and skill as a mystery writer were still there. Though the books were a bit weak her ability and talent were fortunately still there, especially when she wrote Endless Night. In her later books there are some little inconsistencies such as one spot of the book mentions something and the other book seems to contradict it but if there were better editing by her editors then these little mistakes could have easily been fixed. I have heard--even though I haven't read it so please don't spoil it :) --that her last Tommy & Tuppence book Postern Of Fate was Christie's worst book. I don't know because I haven't read it but I'm sure there are many who like the book. One of my later favorites would be Nemesis, it's so unique and original. Sure, it rambles here and there at some points but my goodness the plot alone would make you forget that! Her powers at creating such a fresh and glued to your seat mystery was still there.


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭
    I can understand why people would think it easily solvable SPOILER ALERT!!! because of the glass eyes but as we are misdirected to look the other way we might miss it, I must admit tht sadly I saw all but 1 of the Joan Hickson's before reading the books so I can't say if I would have guessed correctly although I don't think I thought about guessing when watching but some of the books are solvable SPOILER ALERTS!!! who is likely to be able to menouvre themselves to kill other than the Householder, who is more able to kill a gossipy woman but a lady who she is talking to who is equipped to put on a performance, and if you have the seating schedule you could solve 'Death In The Clouds' although I didn't and if you think about it the Murderer(s) in Death On The Nile are obvious, you just have to sit and marshall your thoughts like Miss Marple does sometimes but if you do solve it or not it doesn't matter because most of the stories are excellent.
  • Madame_DoyleMadame_Doyle USA ✭✭✭
    @Tommy_A_Jones - what makes you say that the solution to Death on the Nile is obvious?  Other than the murderers being the least suspicious suspects (ruled out), which is the pattern in Christie's books and well as usually the spouse, what specifically makes it obvious?
  • edited July 2016
    @Tommy_A_Jones, @Madame_Doyle -- the obvious isn't always the obvious. Even though the murderer might be the obvious looking back in hind-sight, and though she looked so obvious because she declared her hate for the deceased before Linnet was killed, as we read the book we're thinking that it can't be that obvious and this is where Agatha Christie plays her role of misdirecting us with other suspects in the book that have strong motives of their own. Maybe as we read we can guess one of the murderers but to guess that it involved another participant and one who didn't appeared to have such a motive for killing Linnet and to easily guess the whole plan between the two and the way it was carried out.....it's not that obvious. If the solution was that easy and we were to easily guess the whole entire plan and the way it was carried out, I don't think we would make it through the whole book. We would get pretty bored with it. We might guess one particular aspect of the solution but the whole entire thing--no, that's pretty rare. And if Death On The Nile is similar to another solution in another book, if we are reading Nile for the first time we really don't know if the author is going to pull the same ploy. We really don't know. We can guess but we truly really know. That's why we read through the whole book and not get through half of it and quit. It's not that obvious, it's not that easy. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Madame_DoyleMadame_Doyle USA ✭✭✭
    What I'm saying is that the murderer is easy to guess in her books because of her pattern of using some device to make us think that one or more suspects are cleared of suspicion.  The murderer is usually the spouse if there is one.  Those two reasons give it away that Simon Doyle is the murderer in Death on the Nile.  Other than that, I'm not aware of anything else that tells the reader that the two people cleared of suspicion are guilty.  If you can point out a book that doesn't apply to these two rules of thumb, it would fall into a minor category, such as And Then There Were None.  I can't think of any others.  The book you were hinting at is obvious because of the spouse, and so that wasn't a challenge, either.

    Hindsight is not a factor, because she doesn't deviate from this pattern.  As I read all of her mysteries over the course of two years, I could easily identify who was guilty, but it was the whys and hows that I found intriguing.  

«134
Sign In or Register to comment.