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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Mystery of the Spanish Chest


Ostensibly retired, Hercule Poirot investigates a sensational news story and an international secret in this pairing of mysteries.
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Ostensibly retired, Hercule Poirot investigates a sensational news story and an international secret in this pairing of mysteries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572702318
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/17/2001
  • Series: Mystery Masters Series
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged Edition
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie is nearly synonymous with upper-class British mysteries, for good reason. She set the standard for the genre in over 60 novels and dozens of short stories, also creating two classic detectives: the fastidious Belgian, Hercule Poirot, and English spinster Jane Marple. No one could match Christie's knack for weaving clues into her stories, then turning the whole thing inside out -- shocking her readers every time.


Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language, and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and a short story collection, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Agatha Christie died in 1976.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Westmacott (used for her romantic fiction)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 15, 1890
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 12, 1976

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2001

    Christie┬┐s Crisis is Fraser┬┐s Feast!

    It is rare to find an audio-book that beats the experience of sitting down with a cup of tea, or something stronger, opening a book, and reading at your own pace, the appropriate pace, drinking in and savouring every word. However, Hugh Fraser¿s reading of ¿The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding¿ and ¿The Mystery of the Spanish Chest¿ surpassed my expectations. The actor who plays the suave, if somewhat slow-witted, Captain Arthur Hastings to David Suchett¿s Hercule Poirot is the perfect companion, his voice as velvety smooth as only the finest Armagnac-- a Marquis de Puysegur perhaps. Do you enjoy Armagnac? Do you like really scrumptious food? Are you perhaps just a little greedy at times? I would not admit this to a dietician but I believe gluttony to be a relatively harmless vice. At least as far as food is concerned. It is when greed develops into an insatiable appetite for all manner of things beyond the dinner table that it becomes dangerous, even deadly. In Agatha Christie¿s preface to the original short story collection, she describes ¿The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding¿ as one of two `main courses¿. The author blends her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, into the social milieu of Kings Lacey, a fourteenth-century English manor house. The perfect White Christmas that so seldom visits England is alive with hearty, happy children, and all the Christmassy food they could wish for, while the stolen ruby of an Indian prince provides a dash of the exotic. It is the children¿s Christmas sport, teasing their unexpected Belgian guest with a game of `Murder¿ that prevents greed turning to tragedy. The same zest for dressing up and disguise per se enhances ¿The Mystery of the Spanish Chest¿ which is Mrs Christie¿s second `main course¿. The country house world of Kings Lacey gives way to the town houses of Cardigan Gardens and Sloane Street where the urbane Captain Hastings and Monsieur Poirot are mixed up in a rum concoction of Peers of the Realm, enigmatic women, Italian stilettos, and the heady fragrance of Turkish cigars. ¿The Mystery of the Spanish Chest¿ is a seemingly good choice with which to follow ¿The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding¿. It is not itself a festive tale but it strikes me as just the sort of detective story to keep the little grey cells in full working order as they contend with a surfeit of Christmassy food and my favourite Armagnac. Mrs Christie has worked to employ a technique used with great success in at least two other collections of short stories. Throughout ¿The Mysterious Mr Quin¿ and ¿The Labours of Hercules¿, the author exhibits a knack for remaking a mythic or artistic primary source into something innovative. In ¿The Mystery of the Spanish Chest¿, she infuses her narrative with the ancient Anglo-Norse myth-cluster of the mistletoe bough and the suffocating atmosphere of doubt, suspicion, and envy of Shakespeare¿s ¿Othello¿. What a cocktail! Had Mrs Christie taken the legends of the mistletoe bough as her chief ingredient, leaving out a quantity of miscellaneous spices, this story would have been more successful. As things are, the infusion of mistletoe is far too weak and easily overwhelmed, leaving the tale devoid of a definitive flavour. The fare Agatha Christie has cooked up for Hugh Fraser to serve is to all appearances sumptuous. The author has mixed the richest, most festive, ingredients into her narratives but there is a staleness about the end result. It is as though Mrs Christie has used up foodstuffs that have sat far too long in her larder. Dried up ingredients, passed over for everyday cooking, are stirred vigorously into the Christmas pudding bowl but, I have to say, the flavour is far from adventurous. ¿The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding¿ and ¿The Mystery of the Spanish Chest¿ are devoid of tension, the unexpected nerve-jangling crackle, and often disturbing twists and turns that characterize the author¿s full-length fiction and the best of her short stories

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