Book Review: The Seven Dials Mystery

SevenDialsMystery1929I just finished reading this tenth published novel of Agatha Christie. In it she brought back a familiar place and some familiar characters. The setting is the country estate, Chimneys, which was the setting for her sixth novel, The Secret at Chimneys (1925). Ms. Christie meant The Seven Dials Mystery to be a sequel to Chimneys, thus the return to familiar ground and characters. I was happy to see the character of Bundle Brent return in this novel as she seems to be the author’s push for independent young women.

The book cover, pictured above, is from Wikipedia. It is the original, first edition book jacket from 1929. Isn’t it gorgeous? Here also is the “dust jacket blurb”:

“When Gerald Wade died, apparently from an overdose of sleeping draught, seven clocks appeared on the mantelpiece. Who put them there and had they any connection with the Night Club in Seven Dials? That is the mystery that Bill Eversleigh and Bundle and two other young people set out to investigate. Their investigations lead them into some queer places and more than once into considerable danger. Not till the very end of the book is the identity of the mysterious Seven o’clock revealed.”

This novel was different from the previous nine. It was lighter in tone and, at times, cheerful. It was still a mystery but it had some romance and some playfulness on the part of the young people trying to solve the case. According to Ms. Christie’s autobiography, she made these changes on purpose.

“This was a sequel to my earlier book The Secret at Chimneys, and was one of what I called ‘the light-hearted thriller type.’ These were always easy to write, not requiring too much plotting and planning.”

In the official biography of Agatha Christie, author Janet Morgan describes this time in Ms. Christie’s life as one of loneliness. She was now divorced and had “a circle of married friends in London but, having been used to having a husband, it was not the same to go about alone or even with another woman. As she had always done in such troughs, Agatha worked.” Amazing, isn’t it?  She hunkered down and gave us this fun and high-spirited novel. Thank you, Ms. Christie.

agatha_christie_rcI read this novel as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. It’s a perpetual challenge in which I am attempting to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels in order of their publication date.

10 down / 70 to go

If you’d like to know more about the challenge, visit Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

[Source: the public library]

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