Postern of Fate: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery

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Overview

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford have just become the proud owners of an old house in an English village. Along with the property, they have inherited some worthless bric-a-brac, including a collection of antique books. While rustling through a copy of The Black Arrow, Tuppence comes upon a series of apparently random underlinings.

However, when she writes down the letters, they spell out a very disturbing message: "Mary Jordan did not die naturally." And sixty years after their ...

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Overview

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford have just become the proud owners of an old house in an English village. Along with the property, they have inherited some worthless bric-a-brac, including a collection of antique books. While rustling through a copy of The Black Arrow, Tuppence comes upon a series of apparently random underlinings.

However, when she writes down the letters, they spell out a very disturbing message: "Mary Jordan did not die naturally." And sixty years after their first murder, Mary Jordan's enemies are still ready to kill. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

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.”
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."
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062074348
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Series: Tommy and Tuppence Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 264,061
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.

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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