Death Comes As the End

Death Comes As the End

4.2 24
by Agatha Christie
     
 

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In this startling historical mystery, unique in the author's canon, Agatha Christie investigates a deadly mystery at the heart of a dissonant family in ancient Egypt. Imhotep, wealthy landowner and priest of Thebes, has outraged his sons and daughters by bringing a beautiful concubine into their fold. And the manipulative Nofret has already set about a plan to

Overview

In this startling historical mystery, unique in the author's canon, Agatha Christie investigates a deadly mystery at the heart of a dissonant family in ancient Egypt. Imhotep, wealthy landowner and priest of Thebes, has outraged his sons and daughters by bringing a beautiful concubine into their fold. And the manipulative Nofret has already set about a plan to usurp her rivals' rightful legacies. When her lifeless body is discovered at the foot of a cliff, Imhotep's own flesh and blood become the apparent conspirators in her shocking murder. But vengeance and greed may not be the only motives...

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Succeeds admirable in picturing the people of ancient Egypt as living persons and not as resurrected mummies."—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312981617
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/28/2002
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.74(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.78(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

SECOND MONTH OF INUNDATION, 20TH DAY

Renisenb stood looking out over the Nile.

In the distance she could hear faintly the upraised voices of her brothers, Yahmose and Sobek, disputing as to whether or not the dikes in a certain place needed strengthening. Sobek's voice was high and confident as always. He had the habit of asserting his views with easy certainty. Yahmose's voice was low and grumbling in tone; it expressed doubt and anxiety. Yahmose was always in a state of anxiety over something or other. He was the eldest son and during his father's absence on the northern estates, the management of the farm lands was more or less in his hands. Yahmose was slow, prudent and prone to look for difficulties where none existed. He was a heavily built, slow-moving man with none of Sobek's gaiety and confidence.

From her early childhood Renisenb could remember hearing these elder brothers of hers arguing in just those selfsame accents. It gave her suddenly a feeling of security.... She was at home again. Yes, she had come home....

Yet as she looked once more across the pale, shining river, her rebellion and pain mounted again. Khay, her young husband, was dead.... Khay with his laughing face and his strong shoulders. Khay was with Osiris in the Kingdom of the Dead-and she, Renisenb, his dearly loved wife, was left desolate. Eight years they had had together-she had come to him as little more than a child-and now she had returned widowed, with Khay's child, Teti, to her father's house.

It seemed to her at this moment as though she had never been away....

She welcomed that thought....

She would forgetthose eight years -- so full of unthinking happiness, so torn and destroyed by loss and pain.

Yes, forget them, put them out of her mind. Become once more Renisenb, Imhotep the ka-priest's daughter, the unthinking, unfeeling girl. This love of a husband and brother had been a cruel thing, deceiving her by its sweetness. She remembered the strong bronze shoulders, the laughing mouth-now Khay was embalmed, swathed in bandages, protected with amulets in his journey through the other world. No more Khay in this world to sail on the Nile and catch fish and laugh up into the sun whilst she, stretched out in the boat with little Teti on her lap, laughed back at him....

Renisenb thought:

"I will not think of it. It is over! Here I am at home. Everything is the same as it was. 1, too, shall be the same presently. It will all be as before. Teti has forgotten already. She plays with the other children and laughs."

Renisenb turned abruptly and made her way back towards the house, passing on the way some loaded donkeys being driven towards the riverbank. She passed by the combins and the outhouses and through the gateway into the courtyard. It was very pleasant in the courtyard. There was the artificial lake, surrounded by flowering oleanders and jasmines and shaded by sycamore fig trees. Teti and the other children were playing there now, their voices rising shrill and clear. They were running in and out of the little pavilion that stood at one side of the lake. Renisenb noticed that Teti was playing with a wooden lion whose mouth opened and

shut by pulling a string, a toy which she herself had loved as a child. She thought again, gratefully, "I have come home. . . ." Nothing was changed here; all was as it had been. Here life was safe, constant, unchanging. Teti was now the child and she one of the many mothers enclosed by the home wallsbut the framework, the essence of things, was unchanged.

A ball with which one of the children was playing rolled to her feet and she picked it up and threw it back, laughing.

Renisenb went on to the porch with its gaily colored columns, and then through into the house, passing through the big central chamber, with its colored frieze of lotus and poppies, and so on to the back of the house and the women's quarters.

Upraised voices struck on her ear and she paused again, savoring with pleasure the old familiar echoes. Satipy and Kait -- arguing as always! Those well-remembered tones of Satipy's voice, high, domineering and bullying! Satipy was her brother Yahmose's wife, a tall, energetic, loud-tongued woman, handsome in a hard, commanding kind of way. She was eternally laying down the law, hectoring the servants, finding fault with everything, getting impossible things done by sheer force of vituperation and personality. Everyone dreaded her tongue and ran to obey her orders. Yahmose himself had the greatest admiration for his resolute, spirited wife, though he allowed himself to be bullied by her in a way that had often infuriated Renisenb.

At intervals, in the pauses in Satipy's high-pitched sentences, the quiet, obstinate voice of Kait was heard. Kait was a broad, plain-faced woman, the wife of the handsome, gay Sobek. She was devoted to her children and seldom thought or spoke about anything else. She sustained her side of the daily arguments with her sister-in-law by the simple expedient of repeating whatever statement she had originally made with quiet, immovable obstinacy. She displayed neither heat nor passion, and never considered for a moment any side of a question but her own. Sobek was extremely attached to his wife and talked freely to her of all his affairs, secure in the knowledge that she would appear to listen, make comforting sounds of assent or dissent, and would remember nothing inconvenient, since her mind was sure to have been dwelling on some problem connected with the children all the time.

"It's an outrage, that's what I say," shouted Satipy. "If Yahmose had the spirit of a mouse he would not stand it for a moment! Who is in charge here when Imhotep is absent? Yahmose! And as Yahmose's wife it is I who should have the first Choice of the woven mats and cushions. That hippopotamus of a black slave should be --"

Kait's heavy, deep voice cut in:

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie is the most popular mystery writer of all time. In a career that spans over half a century, her name is synonymous with brilliant deception, ingenious puzzles, and the surprise denouement. By virtually inventing the modern mystery novel, she earned her title as the Queen of Crime.

Jenny Funnell’s many television credits include Agatha Christie’s Peril at End House, As Time Goes By, Casualty, Drop the Dead Donkey, Boon, Bergerac, and Brookside. She has had leading roles in hundreds of radio plays and series.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1890
Date of Death:
January 12, 1976
Place of Birth:
Torquay, Devon, England
Education:
Home schooling
Website:
http://www.agathachristie.com

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Death Comes as the End 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and it has stuck with me. I love all the descriptions of the area and culture. The ending....didn't guess it! And I usually do! :) Worth reading again and again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
though only reading the excerpt, i have read agatha cristie in the past, and she is an outsatanding writer. Her words captivate the reader to turn the page, and her details of the story make you actually believe you are in the story.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A great Agatha Christie mystery. Set in ancient Egypt. Great character development and story line. It seemed a bit obvious to me who the murder was and had it figured out about half of the way through the book. Still a great mystery and the story moved along quickly. Kept your interest. Great for all Agatha Christie fans as well as anyone interested in Egyptian culture.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of Agatha Christie's best books. I have read most of them and have loved them all. This book was outstanding becasue Nefret showed, in her own way, that they were living lies and were cheating themselves. I was a bit sad though that most of the family died, but they probably deserved it for being horrible.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is SO GOOD!!!! You must read this to be an Agatha Christie fan!!! Perfect setting for a mystery ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
had to read book for school in 7th grade. Now in 8th. Pretty good. Ok. kinda boring. Agatha's Christie has had better books
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is probably one of the best books i have ever read. i've kept my face buried in this book for hours on end. i recommend it to and murder/mystery lover. i don't know how you can hate this book and say you enjoy reading. i, again, recommend this book to all who find it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved all of Agatha Chrisite's books. She is great at writing mysteries that always keep you guessing. The unique thing about Death Comes As The End is that is takes place in Ancient Egypt. This makes the book even better and adds in some romance!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The plot is good and exciting. it also explains human nature very well, with a twist. The sons and sweet daughter is very satisfiying to the reader. The lady that the father brings home just is an aww, and then you think to yourself as soon as you read it somethings gonna happen, so i enjoyed so i think you would too, if you've read the auther b4. I love historical-fictions my self. So read it- sorry for the spelling
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is boring its but do not read it it is a waste of time I didnt like it all!