A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollins, 2002 (first published in 1950)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
When an ad boldly announces an upcoming murder in the local newspaper, nosy neighbours flock to the appointed location expecting a silly parlour game or an elaborate prank. Rather, the lights cut out, a gun is fired, and someone drops down dead. In typical Christie fashion, we quickly begin to unravel a complex, tangled web of secrets and lies in pursuit of the killer amongst them.
This is a prime example of needing to know what you’re getting into before you pick it up. Lovers of sinister modern thrillers with subtle twists peppered throughout will likely roll their eyes at the numerous huge coincidences, the many flirtations with farce, and a conclusion that comes off suspiciously like an info-dump. In that respect, it’s not one of Christie’s best offerings, nor one I’d recommend starting with if you’re new to her work.
That said, the trademark charm of the golden era of crime lives on, making this a fun, easy read nonetheless. Consistently intrigued, the outcome alluded me throughout, as it so often does when I reach for Christie’s fiction. Despite thinking on several instances that I had it all figured out, she was always one step ahead; once again in great control over her many characters, plot threads, and red herrings. Even a lack of plausibility when it all came together wasn’t enough to dampen the enjoyment of watching Christie lead the reader down many a wrong path.
Though I felt this one failed to deliver the brilliantly punchy dialogue that elevates much of Christie’s work, I did very much enjoy the way it captured the social landscape of post-war Britain, with a particular focus on the sense of fear and mistrust levied at foreigners.
So, whilst there are better examples of what Christie and the genre can do out there, if you’re already a fan of either, this is well worth the read.
If you’d like to give A Murder Is Announced a go, you can pick up a copy with free shipping from Book Depository by clicking here.