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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding & The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
By Agatha Christie
Read by Hugh Fraser

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The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding and the Mystery of the Spanish Chest

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The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding and the Mystery of the Spanish Chest
By Agatha Christie
Read by Hugh Fraser
The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (2001)
A Complete and Unabridged Audio Recording on 2 Cassettes
ISBN: 1-57270-230-3
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - November 4, 2001

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Mystery of the Spanish Chest are two short stories by the prolific and popular mystery writer, Agatha Christie. Both stories feature one of her most famous sleuths, the indomitable Belgium detective, Hercule Poirot. The unabridged audio edition of these stores is read by Hugh Fraser, who plays Captain Hastings on the Poirot episodes on PBS-TV Mystery! series. Hastings is Poirot's sidekick, and often assists Poirot in solving his various cases. Fraser has a charming voice, and his reading of this audiobook is energetic. He gives each character a distinct resonance, and he does a delightful "Poirot," sounding remarkable like David Suchet. Suchet plays Poirot to Fraser's Hastings on the Poirot television series.

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

In this delightful tale, the son of an Eastern potentate comes to England to have a selection of family jewels reset into new settings. The jewels are to be a gift for the prince's fiancee. The work was undertaken at Cartier, and was so well done that the prince's mistress asked to wear one particularly enchanting piece that featured a huge ruby. In short order, the young lady disappears with the ruby. The loss of the gem mortifies the prince. Not only was the gem of historical significance in his country, but his fiancee, while she might overlook a mistress, would never overlook a scandal!

Poirot is asked to take on the case, as going to the police would run the risk of causing a scandal, which is exactly what the prince wants to avoid. To pursue his investigation, Poirot wrangles an invitation to the country home of the Lacy's, in order, ostensibly, to enjoy an old-fashioned country Christmas. With deft skill and the workings of his "little grey cells," Poirot brings this case to a satisfying end.

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest is one of those intriguing mystery's that will keep you guessing to the very end, "Just who did it?" In this tale, Poirot reads about a murder in the newspaper and is instantly riveted by the problems that it poses. He sets out to solve the murder simply to satisfy his own curiosity. His task is made much easier when Mrs. Clayton, the wife of the victim, seeks out his assistance in solving crime.

In this case, a dinner party was held that was attended by six people. Five enjoyed the buffet, the sixth, Mr. Arnold Clayton, spent the party stuffed in an old Spanish chest. Despite being in the same room that the party took place, Clayton was not able to enjoy the party. He had been stabbed in the neck - and was dead before the party began. His body was not found until the next day.

Who killed Clayton? Was it Major Rich, whom the police arrested for the crime? Was it one of the other party goers? Or could it be someone else? As well, was it a crime of jealousy or of avarice? As Poirot digs into the background of the characters, the mystery deepens. This story is pure Christie gold, and the ending is, as expected, deliciously wicked.

Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.

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