The Secret of Chimneys
By Agatha Christie
Read by Hugh Fraser
Audio Editions Mystery Masters
A Complete & Unabridged Recording on 6 Cassettes (Also available on CD) The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - August 25, 2004
First published in 1925, The Secret of Chimneys is one of Agatha Christie's earlier works and it involves a little bit of everything including murder, blackmail, thievery, espionage, and a shooting or two. In The Secret of Chimneys, Christie introduces one of her lesser known detectives, Inspector Battle, as well as the exuberant Lady Eileen 'Bundle'. This Audio Editions' recording of The Secret of Chimneys is complete and unabridged, and it is expertly read by Hugh Fraser. Perhaps best known as Captain Hastings, Fraser played against David Suchet's Hercule Poirot in PBS-TV Mystery! Poirot series. He also played Wellington in the Sharpe's Company series. Fraser's reading of this intriguing Christie tale is energetic and enthralling!
This complex, and witty tale starts out innocently enough. Anthony Cade comes to England after agreeing to perform two rather mundane tasks for an old friend. First, he is to deliver a manuscript, written by Count Stylptich, to a London publisher. Secondly, he is to return a packet of letters written by Virginia Revel, to the authoress herself. Two easy tasks that turn out to be harder to accomplish that Cade ever imagined. Shortly after arriving in the country, he finds himself embroiled in a murder that eventually leads Cade to a palatial country estate know as the Chimneys. There he becomes involved with a group of jewel thieves, a handful of spies, several people who are incognito, another murder, and of course with untold dangers!
At Chimneys, Cade discovers that he has taken center stage in a dangerous game that will determine whether or not the Herzoslovakia monarchy is restored. When Detective Battle of Scotland Yard arrives on the scene to sort out the most recent murder, he tries to help Cade to extricate himself from the quagmire of intrigue that he had been caught in. Cade knows that all the events he has witnessed are tied up, somehow, to Count Stylptich's manuscript, but it takes the help of Battle, and Revel to discover the truth.
The Secret of Chimneys is a classic Christie mystery, complete with a cast of memorable, and eccentric characters, devious plot twists, and a mystery on an international scale. This story also incorporates what, today, would be some politically incorrect stereotypes. While this may annoy some, on the whole these stereotypes add to the ambiance of the story and they help to transport the reader back to the age in which the story takes place - a time when such stereotypes where part of the everyday parlance. The Secret of Chimneys will keep you guessing, on several levels, about just what is going on, and who the bad-guys, or the good-guys for that matter, really are. The Secret of Chimneys is a perfect book to listen to on a lazy afternoon when you want to add a little, but not too much, excitement to your life!
Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie.
Ten guests are invited to Indian Island by a mysterious figure who accuses each guest of murder, a crime which each is, in their own way, guilty of. With unrelenting regularity, the guests are murdered, one by one, all by methods outlined in old children's rhyme. This is one of Christie's best mysteries!
Spider's Web, by Agatha Christie
Clarissa has a problem. There is a corpse in her livingroom and her husband will be home any minute with a cadre of politicians to hold a secret meeting. What is she to do? Well, hide the body, of course...