Book Review: The Man in the Brown Suit

the_man_in_the_brown_suit_first_edition_cover_1924The Man in the Brown Suit is the fourth novel by Agatha Christie. This one is different from the other Agatha Christie’s I’ve read: no Hercule Poirot, no Jane Marple, no Tommy and Tuppence. This book has a completely new cast of characters, and a fun cast it is. Plenty of great dialogue, mystery, adventure, romance and surprises.

The other twist is that this book is told in the first person narrative by two people. The story alternates between Anne Beddingfeld and Sir Eustace Pedler. Each character has their own style in telling the story. As I was reading, I imagined what each character looked like. I tried to find pictures to match what was in my head but could not. These two will have to do.*

annebAnne Beddingfeld is a young woman with a deep longing for romantic adventures. She gets her chance when she witnesses the mysterious death of a man only a few feet away from her in a London tube station. A man in a brown suit comes forward as a doctor and pronounces the man dead, but immediately leaves the station. On the way out he drops a piece of paper which Anne recovers. The words on the paper will lead Anne on an exciting escapade that will take her to a murder in an empty estate, a ship bound for Africa, a trip through the back country of Rhodesia, and a couple of attempts on her life.

Fortunately, Anne is both smart and clever. It’s a good thing she is because along the way Anne meets some very interesting people. She must rely on her wits to tell her whom to trust and who is not who they seem to be.

sireustaceSir Eustace Pedler’s diary is the alternate version of the story. Sir Eustace is a member of Parliament and rather rich, although no one actually knows how he made his money. I love Sir Eustace’s dry, sarcastic wit. In his diary he makes fun of others, but of himself as well. He first meets Anne aboard the ship bound for Africa and invites her on a train trip through the backcountry. Aboard ship is Sir Eustace’s secretary, Guy Pagett, a second secretary, Harry Rayburn, Reverend Chichester, Suzanne Blair, and Colonel Race (who shows up in three other Christie novels).

It’s a wonderful cast of characers. There’s one more: the “colonel” who we never actually meet until the end. He’s the mastermind behind the group of criminals responsible for a diamond heist. This is an excellent mystery, especially for those who love Agatha Christie’s novels.

*The pictures here are of Stephanie Zimbalist and Edward Woodward who stared as Anne Beddingfeld and Sir Eustace Pedler in the 1988 TV movie of The Man in the Brown Suit.

agatha_christie_rcDID YOU KNOW . . .

The Man in the Brown Suit was first serialized in 1924 for the Evening News prior to the publication of the book. The unexpected 500 pounds from the serialization was a nice bonus. Her husband insisted she spend it on a luxury – a car. It was enough money to buy her first car – a Morris Cowley. Her husband, Archie Christie, taught her to drive it.

If you are an Agatha Christie fan and would like to join in this perpetual challenge to read all of her novels, visit Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

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14 Responses to Book Review: The Man in the Brown Suit

  1. Kathy says:

    My first thought when I saw the title was UPS – isn’t that sad. I haven’t read any Agatha Christie and think I need to rectify that.

  2. Cerrin says:

    I have a hard time getting into the Agatha Christie books…BUT I adore watching the movies and TV series…I am working on getting them all on DVD and maybe Do a movie marathon of all mystery’s

  3. Mog says:

    I haven’t read this ‘Agatha’ but I do love her books.Will have to check some out at the library.

  4. Belle says:

    I definitely think it’s time to dig this one out for a re-read. Sometimes with Christie I get so comfortable with the “regulars” I forget that the stand-alones are great, too.

  5. Beth F says:

    I am enjoying your travels through Christie. I definitely haven’t read them all so I’m learning about new (to me) ones and revisiting old friends (like this one).

  6. Kerrie says:

    I loved the cover Margot. Have you submitted this to the carnival? 🙂

  7. Great review. I’m on # 3, but have to get it first. 🙂

  8. FleurFisher says:

    Great review. You’re doing well with your Agatha Christie project. I can’t place this one at all and I do generally like the stand-alones, so I’ll definitely be looking out for it now.

  9. Kerrie says:

    Hello Margot
    People can now join the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge! I finally bit the bullet and put in a post with a Mr.Linky.

  10. S. Mehrens says:

    I read this one last year. It’s a fun read, one of my favorite AC mysteries.

  11. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: May 23, 2009 at Semicolon

  12. Nishita says:

    I love most all Agatha Christie, and I particularly loved this one. Can’t somehow imagine Stephanie Zimbalist playing Anne though, she seems a little old for the part. Isn’t Anne only 20 or something like that?

  13. izzybella says:

    This is my favorite of all the Agatha Christie books-it’s the only one I actually own in print. I try not purchase books that are super easy to find at the library, but I never know what time time of day or night I’m going to get on a kick to read this one. Therefore I own! 🙂

  14. Eram Naaz says:

    i have read many stories of Agatha Christie………& among those i liked The Man In Brown Suit very much………its review is very nice………

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