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The Seven Dials Mystery: 10/04/06

Seven Dials

When I was in my teens I discovered Agatha Christie's mysteries. The first one I ever read was Postern of Fate, a mystery published the year I was born. It struck me as the most frightening mystery I had ever read and I was hooked. The second Christie book I read, And Then There Were None (aka Ten Little Indians) also gave me chills.

After having such success with Christie's books, I started collecting them to read as many as I could. When I started I hadn't appreciated just how many she had written! Joining BookCrossing made the process easier (too easy!) and I was soon awash in Chrstie mysteries, including some duplicates (in part to the U.S. editions often times having a different title).

In the last few years I've been making an effort to read and release my collection of Christie books and The Seven Dials Mystery. As with many of her books that I've recently read I found the plot rather obvious and the characters annoying.hile there are gems among her many books, I haven't enjoyed most of the ones I've read.

Here is my BookCrossing review:

The Seven Dials Mystery is a sequel (more or less) to The Secret of Chimneys in that it takes place again at Chimneys and has Bundle and her friends getting into trouble (again), uncovering international espionage plots (again) and helping the local authorities solve the mystery behind the crime (again). A few times through the book I had to double check that I wasn't rereading the first book under a different title (since many of Christie's novels have different titles in the United States than in Britain).

From reading the introduction by Val McDermid, I was expecting a lighthearted parody of the detective thriller genre that was just gaining popularity at the time. Keep in mind that Seven Dials is contemporary with The Maltese Falcon. Both books suffer from the same flaw: obvious and oblivious criminals. Two characters in both act so odd compared to the other characters and are so keen on sticking close to the protagonists to "help" them that they stick out as obvious candidates for being the criminals. While by page 146 I still wasn't quite sure what the ultimate crime was in Seven Dials beyond the ubiquitous Christie murder by poison, I knew who was behind the plot. So when Battles sums it all up in the penultimate chapter, the whole thing was rather anticlimactic for me. Where are the twists and turns that McDermid praises in the book?

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