Postern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence Series)

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In this ingenious puzzle - the last novel Agatha Christie ever wrote - Tommy and Tuppence Beresford discover a clue to a killer's identity within the pages of a children's storybook.
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Overview

In this ingenious puzzle - the last novel Agatha Christie ever wrote - Tommy and Tuppence Beresford discover a clue to a killer's identity within the pages of a children's storybook.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Engaging characters, bright dialogue, capital seashore scenery, and plenteous thrills. Good hunting.
Saturday Review of Literature
Engaging characters, bright dialogue, capital seashore scenery, and plenteous thrills. Good hunting.
Library Journal
Middle-aged Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, too old to fight and too young to knit, are dismayed to find out that the British government of World War II has little interest in their detecting and spy-catching abilities. Then, almost incidentally, they are asked to spot a traitor, believed to be living at a rural guesthouse. But the place is full of harmless eccentrics: elderly ladies, retired military men, a hypochondriac and his colorless wife, a young mother, and a German refugee. The Beresfords invent personalities and elaborate traps, identify the imposter, and prevent an invasion. The strengths of this Christie "cozy" are the exuberant charm, intelligence, and enthusiasms of the central characters. Middle-aged they may be, but inside Tommy and Tuppence are still the same young adventurers who chased criminals and spies in post-Great War London. James Warwick does a highly competent, nicely unobtrusive job of reading this title, which is likely to be popular with fans of golden age mysteries. Recommended for moderate to large public libraries. I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
S. J. Rozan
"What most impresses me about Agatha Christie (and what she doesn’t often get credit for), is her comprehension of the human heart."
New York Times
"The Beresfords are wonderfully revived. Smooth, beautifully paced, and effortlessly convincing."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451200532
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Tommy and Tuppence Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became the bestselling novelist in history. She wrote 79 crime mysteries and collections, and saw her work translated into more languages than Shakespeare.

Bill Wallis has performed in over 200 radio series and plays. He is also a prolific film and television actor, having numerous appearances to his credit that include Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Midsomer Murders, Bad Girls, Doctors, Poirot, and as Dr. Nick MacKenzie in Dangerfield.

Biography

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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Books!" said Tuppence.

She produced the word rather with the effect of a badtempered explosion.

"What did you say?" said Tommy.

Tuppence looked across the room at him.

"I said 'books,'" she said.

"I see what you mean," said Thomas Beresford.

In front of Tuppence were three large packing cases. From each of them various books had been extracted. The larger part of them were still filled with books.

"It's incredible," said Tuppence.

"You mean the room they take up?"

"Yes."

"Are you trying to put them all on the shelves?"

"I don't know what I'm trying to do," said Tuppence. "That's the awkward part of it. One doesn't know ever, exactly, what one wants to do. Oh dear," she sighed.

"Really," said her husband, "I should have thought that that was not at all characteristic of you. The trouble with you has always been that you knew much too well what you do want to do."

"What I mean is," said Tuppence, "that here we are getting older, getting a bit-well, let's face it -- definitely rheumatic, especially when one is stretching; you know, stretching putting in books or lifting down things from shelves or kneeling down to look at the bottom shelves for something, then finding it a bit difficult to get up again."

"Yes, yes," said Tommy, "that's an account of our general disabilities. Is that what you started to say?"

"No, it isn't what I started to say. What I started to say was, it was lovely to be able to buy a new home and find just the place we wanted to go and live in, and just the house there we'd always dreamt of having-with a little alteration, ofcourse."

"Knocking one or two rooms into each other," said Tommy, "and adding to it what you call a veranda and your builder calls a lodger, though I prefer to call it a loggia."

"And it's going to be very nice," said Tuppence firmly.

"When you've done with it, I shan't know it! Is that the answer?" said Tommy.

"Not at all. All I said was that when you see it finished, you're going to be delighted and say what an ingenious and clever and artistic wife you have."

"All right," said Tommy. "I'll remember the right thing to say.

"You won't need to remember," said Tuppence. "It will burst upon you."

"What's that got to do with books?" said Tommy.

"Well, we brought two or three cases of books with us. I mean, we sold off the books we didn't much care about. We brought the ones we really couldn't bear to part with, and then, of course, the what, you-call-ems-I can't remember their names now, but the people who were selling us this house-they didn't want to take a lot of their own things with them, and they said if we'd like to make an offer, they would leave things including books, and we came and looked at things-"

"And we made some offers," said Tommy.

"Yes. Not as many as they hoped we would make, I expect. Some of their furniture and ornaments were too horrible. Well, fortunately we didn't have to take those, but when I came and saw the various books-there were some nursery ones, you know, some down in the sitting room-and there were one or two old favorites. I mean, there still are. There are one or two of my own special favorites. And so I thought it'd be such fun to have them. You know, the story of Androcles and the Lion," she said. "I remember reading that when I was eight years old. Andrew Lang.

"Tell me, Tuppence, were you clever enough to read at eight years old?"

"Yes," said Tuppence, "I read at five years old. Everybody could, when I was young. I didn't know one even had to sort of learn. I mean, somebody would read stories aloud, and you liked them very much and you remembered where the book went back on the shelf and you were always allowed to take it out and have a look at it yourself, and so you found you were reading it, too, without bothering to team to spell or anything like that. It wasn't so good later," she said, "because I've never been able to spell very well. And if somebody had taught me to spell when I was about four years old, I can see it would have been very good indeed. My father did teach me to do addition and subtraction and multiplication, of course, because he said the multiplication table was the most useful thing you could learn in life, and I learnt long division, too."

"What a clever man he must have been!"

"I don't think he was specially clever," said Tuppence, "but he was just very, very nice."

"Aren't we getting away from the point?"

Yes we are, said Tuppence. "Well, as I said, when I thought of reading Androcles and the Lion' again -- it came in a book of stories about animals, I think, by Andrew Lang. Oh, I loved that. And there was a story about 'a day in my life at Eton' by an Eton schoolboy. I can't think why I wanted to read that, but I did. It was one of my favorite books. And there were some stories from the classics, and there was Mrs. Molesworth, The Cuckoo Clock, Four Winds Farm --

"well, that's all right," said Tommy. "No need to give me a whole account of your literary triumphs in early youth."

"What I mean is," said Tuppence, "that you can't get them nowadays. I mean, sometimes you get reprints of them, but they've usually been altered and have different pictures in them. Really, the other day I couldn't recognize Alice in Wonderland ...
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Tommy and Tuppence tale of Terror

    'Postern of Fate' is Agatha Christies last book ever. It is a story about an old, retired detective couple, who by mistake stumble upon a mystery dating back 60 years. They move into a new house to try and get some peace and quiet and instead find a secret code message that says, 'Mary Jordan did not die naturally' Over time, Tommy and Tuppence try to put together the clues and solve a mystery that goes back half a century ago. They both have to do a lot of sneaking around and asking questions to find the clues that they need, as well as do really crazy stuff like take apart rocking horses. The way the characters have been portrayed is really nice as it helps you to understand them and really get into them. Overall, this book is quite good with a very interesting and with a rare kind of plot but the story is a bit slow at first. It takes the characters a long time to collect all the hints and there is not very much action during this at all. The story does pick up eventually however, during the end when they have nearly solved the mystery and both their lives are put in sudden danger. But still, it is rather predictable as well as there are some really obvious clues that point straight to it. So, this book is quite good if you like mystery stories without any blood or other gruesomeness in it, but it can be a little boring at times, but on the whole a fun story to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

    An bizarre and complex mystery but with interesting points

    This was Christie's last novel she ever wrote so you have to make allowances with some parts of the book being not so thrilling. The begining of the novel has some colorful and average moments and afterwards the plot is dragged all the way through until the very end. It did have some exciting parts to the novel including a second murder, a murder attempt at Tuppence, and a small black dog who is able to detect a villian. The climax was interesting it had a very complex but interesting solution considering the fact that the motive is something that will never be vanquished for good until the very last. It was a good book, I liked certain parts of it and if you like Agatha Christie you won't mind this book at all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    not the average Agatha Christie book

    This really is more of a novel than a mystery. That is to say, from a "mystery" standpoint, my eight-year-old cousin solved it halfway through, so thinking of it as such is the wrong way to approach the book. As a novel, though, Christie actually does her usual best at setting and characters, and the plot is at least somewhat interesting on its own merit. Bottom line is, if you like Agatha Christie, you'll probably like this book, mystery or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2000

    An ironic title

    I read this one only for the respect I have and will always have for Agatha Christie. The title is damn attractive and it kind of makes you read the book. But the plot I am afraid is equally dull. The book moves at a languid pace and if it had not been her last book I would have given up reading half way. Murders in the past can be interesting only if they are accompanied with murders in the present I feel. The title is something Christie must have thought of years prior to her death and i guess it must have been her 'will' to give her fans present and future a mysterious gift. I have still not understood the significance of the title. But it will always remain on my top 10 list. saumen vidyarthi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2000

    A Disappointment

    Apparently, even the greatest of writers occasionally write one that falls short of their abilities. This was that one for Agatha Christie. It is the only one of her books I have ever read that didn't meet or exceed my expectations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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