Agatha Christie: 13 At Dinner

This book was originally published in 1934 as Lord Edgware Dies. Later that year it was published in the United States by Dodd Mead & Company as 13 At Dinner.

Jane Wilkinson is a famous and an extremely beautiful American actress who is also married to Lord Edgware. According to Jane/Lady Edgware, her husband is a horrid man and she wants out. She comes to Hercule Poirot, a master at solving problems, to see if he could help her “get rid of the man.” There is someone else she wishes to marry.

Poirot, of course, will not be a party to murder but he agrees to talk to Lord Edgware about a divorce. Lord Edgware says he has no objection to a divorce and, in fact, had already sent a letter to his wife telling her that.

But then, the very next morning, Lord Edgware was found murdered in his study. Both the butler and a housekeeper saw Lady Edgware come to visit him the night before. She is presumed to be the last person to see him alive. Inspector Japp believes he has the case wrapped up only to discover that Lady Edgware was somewhere else the night before. Lady Edgware was at a dinner party, one in which there were thirteen people around the table. Uh-oh – that’s bad luck.

Solving this mystery means looking at many different options. For one thing, how could Lady Edgware be in two places at one time? Could it have something to do with Carlotta Adams, the fabulous American impersonator? Before our detectives can pursue that line of questioning, Carlotta is also found dead.

What about the motives for killing Lord Edgware? Lady Edgware already knew she could have her divorce. Lord Edgware’s nephew, who had severe financial problems, would be the one to inherit Lord Edgware’s fortune. And, Lord Edgware’s daughter really hated her father. Both of these two characters were at the theatre that evening. How could they have done it. Is there someone else?

We have suspects and motives but dead-ends everywhere we turn. Thank goodness we have Hercule Poirot’s clever little gray cells. He, of course, solves the case. We hear all about this case from Poirot’s friend, Captain Hastings. It’s hard for the reader (me) to rely on what Captain Hastings tells us. I want to solve the case before Poirot does but Hastings gets in the way. He is often mis-led by beautiful women and he doesn’t see the clues right in front of him. Agatha Christie, in this novel, does give the reader all the clues and, for a change, I had this one all figured out.

To make it even more fun, I was able to watch the television movie version of the book. It wasn’t exactly the same as the book but close enough. The version I saw was the A & E production with David Sachet as Hercule Poirot. It’s so much fun to watch him walk and do all the other little Poirot actions. What I loved most about the movie was all the glamour, the costumes and the sets based on life in the 1930’s. See it if you can.

This is my 14th novel read as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. I’m reading them in order of publication date. If you are interested in the challenge, please visit Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise.

I own a copy of this book. 13 At Dinner (Lord Edgware Dies is available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

This entry was posted in 100+ Book Challenge, Agatha Christie Challenge, B Books, Book Challenges, Books. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Agatha Christie: 13 At Dinner

  1. Beth F says:

    I love the cover of your edition. I don’t think I read this one, but I did see the movie and I’m glad to hear that it is fairly close to the book. I’ve said this before, but I am enjoying your visits with Christie

  2. I love the cover also! I didn’t realize there were televised versions of these books; that sounds good to me!

  3. cerrin says:

    I love watching the Hercule Poirot movies. They are always so much fun.

  4. I feel so under-read when I read your Agatha Christie posts. My mom was in shock when I told her I’ve never read any of her books. Hopefully, I’ll find the time to remedy that one day soon.

  5. kaye says:

    I enjoy a good Agatha Christie from time to time. Nice Review.

  6. Out the door in about five minutes to the Library; glad I read you first! Because it reminded me of a goal I forgot to write down — I AM going to read Agatha again. thanks

  7. Darla says:

    I stumbled here following a Google search about the book “Annie’s Ghosts”. I put in on hold at the library BTW. I see you are in the CA wine country. We split our time between the SF Bay Area and a place about 25 miles from Calistoga (at the top of the Napa Valley). Great photo’s of the rain soaked fields, we got quite bit more last night and this morning.


  8. FleurFisher says:

    This is one of those books I’ve seen or watched enough times to remember just how it works. maybe not her strongest book, but it still works well.

  9. I have a ton of AG’s books upstairs on my shelves…I bought all of them at the library sale for 25cents each!!! Now I just need to find time to read them…would love to follow up a book with the movie!

  10. I just finished an audio dramatization of this book. Really liked the story. I’ve never seen the movie version – I’ll have to be on the lookout for it.

  11. Stacy says:

    13 At Dinner is a much better title! Sounds like another Agatha Christie winner.

  12. Fran Price says:

    I discovered your blog while researching a copy of Agatha Christie’ 13 at Dinner that I purchased for 25 cents at a yardsale. It’s copywrite date is 1933 so I think I have a treasure. My husband (also retired) will enjoy some of the suggestions on your western list. I have read quite a few but it has been years. Do you everlisten to books on tape? Sometimes being read to is really lovely.

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