Review - The Man in the Brown Suit

The Man in the Brown Suit
by Agatha Christie
200+ pages

Description via Goodreads
It was too dark to recognize anybody. All I could see was that he was tall, and a European, not a native. I took to my heels and ran. I heard him pounding behind. I ran quicker, keeping my eyes fixed on the white stones that showed me where to step, for there was no moon that night.
And suddenly my foot felt nothingness. I heard the man behind me laugh, an evil, sinister laugh. It rang in my ears, as I fell headlong--down--down--down to destruction far beneath. (156) 
So this was my first Agatha Christie mystery and overall I liked it. It's full of semi-interesting characters and witty, comical dialogue. Here's a simple plot breakdown: Girl witnesses suicide. Suicide related to past crime. Murder happens same day. Girl is nosy, wants to figure out connection. Identity of man in brown suit is priority. Girl travels from England to South Africa. Girl meets many suspicious people. Girl gets too involved, at risk, but carries on being nosy. Third-party interference. Girl makes weak connections, figures out very little. Identity of the 'Colonel' becomes priority. Third-party interference. Kidnapped once, attempted murder twice. Girl meets man who fills in blanks. Man also deeply involved in shenanigans. They fall in love. Girl discovers identity of the 'Colonel'. 'Colonel' is captured--then escapes. Girl and man live happily ever after in jungle of South Africa. The end. 
"This is South Africa," I kept saying to myself industriously, "South Africa, South Africa. You are seeing the world. This is the world. You are seeing it. Think of it, Anne Beddingfield, you pudding-head. You're seeing the world". (109)
The name of the nosy girl, the protagonist, is Anne Beddingfield. She's young, good-looking, posesses an interesting balance of smarts and naivete, and is seeking adventure...lots of it. What better adventure than to unfold the mystery of the man in the brown suit. I thought Anne was atypical in wanting to pursue such a dangerous case, but typical in how she went about it--using her looks to get what she wanted, using her father's status to get what she wanted, enchanted by lies, playing games, wanting the love of a 'bad boy'. That sort of thing. She was easily the most interesting and dynamic character.

I was surprised at how romantic this book was...I wasn't expecting that at all. I was also surprised at the transparency of the mystery. I think it was somewhat important to pay attention to the prologue. Read it thoroughly, and the answer is laid out on the table. But even if attention isn't given to the prologue, it's pretty easy to pick apart. When no one knows for sure how a rich man makes his money, raise the red flag. 

I'll definitely try more Agatha Christie...I want to read the less romantic side of her writing, if it exists. I didn't get the feeling this was the typical Christie novel, not the Agatha Christie everyone loves.

The Man in the Brown Suit
Three stars.



  1. I wasn't aware she wrote any romance either. My only Christie is Cat Among the Pigeons, and there wasn't any romance in that. You might like it.

    Great review, Amber!

  2. Thanks, Chris. I felt like I didn't have much to say on this one...it didn't 'wow' me, but it was okay.

    I picked up three more of her books (because they were super inexpensive), before I finished reading this one. I can't remember titles, but I don't think any of them are the one I actually looked up--something about Roy Akroyd? ...something like that. It's supposed to be really really good. I'll read the others anyway though.

    Thanks for checking out my review!

  3. I think if you wanted a more 'typical' Christie you'd want to look at one of her major series' either the Poirot or Miss Marple ones would be good, the first one I read was set in Ancient Egypt and I don't remember any romance in that, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, and the one you picked up would be her most famous one 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd', which I'll be reading soon :)

    1. Yeah, I'll have to look at the three I picked up, to see if they're part of the Poirot or Miss Marple series. I read this one for a challenge...Ah, yes. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd--that's it. I'm very curious about that one.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You should read Roger Ackroyd. It is the most famous and very typical of her books.

    The man in...is actually pretty romantic, more of an adventure and less of a mystery. I loved it because of Anne's and Harry's characters.