By the Pricking of My Thumbs
A Tommy & Tuppence Mystery
By Agatha Christie
Read by Alex Jennings The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (2001)
A Complete and Unabridged Audio Recording on 5 Cassettes
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - October 31, 2002
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are two of Agatha Christie's most overlooked detectives. When most people think about Christie's mysteries, their mind automatically jumps to Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot. While Miss Marple and Poirot are outstanding detectives in their own right, both lack the exuberance and vivaciousness of the Beresford duo. While Miss Marple and Poirot both have age and experience on their side, when it comes to detective work, Tommy and Tuppence have a willingness to meet danger straight on, and they have each other to lean upon when the going gets difficult. What all four detectives do share in common is a sense of unceasing curiosity, a knack for knowing when something doesn't seem 'quite right', and an innate ability to ferret out the truth.
In most of the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries, the couple are young and their exuberance for life compensates for any lack of detective ability. However, in By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Christie has allowed the couple to age and they are now contemporaries with the likes of Miss Marple and Poirot. Other than being older than 'normal', By the Pricking of My Thumbs is a 'traditional' Tommy & Tuppence mystery. And, if you are not already familiar with their detectives' skills - you will be in for a treat as you meet these two effervescent sleuths. They might move a little slower than they used to, but their minds are still as sharp as always. Of the five novels that Christie wrote featuring Tommy and Tuppence, this is perhaps the best of the best. One thing is certain, it is definitely the darkest of the five mysteries!
In this case, Tommy's aunt has died and left him with a mysterious picture as an inheritance. This event is quickly followed by the disappearance of her aunt's best friend. With due diligence, Tuppence quickly comes to the conclusion that something odd is going on. A fact which becomes all too apparent when Tuppence herself disappears, leaving Tommy with the task of finding her - and the solution to the mystery!
Not one to let a simple mystery be a simple mystery, Christie mixes in elements of the black arts, long dead children, and unspoken dangers that will raise the hairs on your arm as you follow Tommy and Tuppence on their perilous adventures. And don't expect to guess the ending before the end - it's a real shocker that is seemingly out of character when compared to normal Christie fare.
This unabridged Audio Editions' adaptation of By the Pricking of My Thumbs is read by Alex Jennings. A Shakespearean actor, Jennings expertly mimics the upper-crust posh vocal stylings of the numerous characters that people this story. He also brings a sense of perfect timing, giving the reading just the right tweak needed to make you laugh at Christie's sedate humor, or to cringe just before the odd flower pot comes down on some poor sod's head. By the Pricking of My Thumbs is a "must" for all mystery fans.
Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.
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