by Agatha Christie
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