From impossibly missing antiques to an uncertain poisoning to a faux murder that goes horribly wrong, these eight stories - featuring Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, both beloved of Christie fans - are undeniably intriguing. The intricate plots and secretive characters may even have you glancing nervously over your shoulder as they blur the lines between mystery and thriller.
Most of the stories have clear-cut moral standards: murder is wrong, thieving is wrong, be sure your sin will find you out. But certain of the stories carry no real conclusion, no explanation to set everything right. The actions of the characters are left for the reader to judge.
"The Last Seance" involves a medium channeling a child's spirit. Nothing implies a hoax or prank; it seems to be real spiritual activity.
Two murders occur: one character is shot with a revolver and another with an arrow. Nothing is graphically described.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Wine is drunk and hard sauce (with brandy) is eaten; there are no instances of drunkenness. One character is kept drugged for an indeterminate amount of time.
One character's illegitimate son is mentioned. A dancer is said to wear "bits of rhinestone and not much else".
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Several instances of "Good God" and "damn".
Most of these stories I enjoyed very much. They run a wide spectrum: generally they are neat and tidy mysteries with a charming twist at the end, but two of them in particular left me feeling sick. If you don't wish to be disturbed beyond hope of sleep, skip over "The Dressmaker's Doll" and "The Last Seance".
This book would be a good transition for someone who has read either Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple exclusively, as they both make appearances in more than one story each.