The Hound of Death

The Hound of Death

Large Print - 1990
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Publisher: Anstey, Leicestershire : F.A. Thorpe, 1990, c1933
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9780708901878
Characteristics: 374 p. ; 23 cm


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Aug 03, 2017

Not up to snuff with her better stories.

Contents (and my rating from * to *****) --

Hound of Death (**) - Silly story of a Belgian nun who causes an explosion at her convent when it is overrun by the German army and the doctor in England after the war that attempts to exploit her gift. Plot-line unworthy of Christie.

The Red Signal (**) A discussion about premonitions at a small dinner party leads to one guest surmising another is at the dinner to assess one of them for possible inherited insanity. Maybe I've read too many Christie stories, but it was predictable and not that interesting.

The Fourth Man (***) During a train ride three men who know each other are discussing a case of supposed multiple personalities when a fourth man in the compartment tells them that he actually knew the person and recounts his story. OK but not remarkable short story.

The Gipsy (***) A young man tells a friend about his recurring nightmare and subsequent fear of gipsies, then meets a woman at a dinner party that reminds him of the gipsy in his dream -- and she warns him of something that comes to pass. OK story about second sight and coincidences.

The Lamp (****) fairly straightforward ghost story, well told, about a woman who rents a long-vacant house where former tenants heard the pitiful sobbing of a child.

Wireless (***) an elderly woman with heart problems takes in a nephew as a companion and he tries to lift her spirits by bringing in a new-fangled wireless set to help her pass the long evenings when he is away.

Witness for the Prosecution (****) unless you have been on Mars or are under 30 (in which case you probably aren't about to read Agatha Christie) you must know the plot twist in this story about a young man accused of murdering an elderly woman for her money. If you don't know the twist, see the fantastically effective movie before reading the story.

The Mystery of the Blue Jar (*****) a man obsessed with golf hears a cry of "murder!" at exactly the same time each morning on a golf course, but others in the vicinity don't. A professional man he meets agrees to help him unravel the mystery which may involve a nearby cottage reputed to be haunted. Nicely told and I didn't expect the twist at the end.

The Strange Case of Sir Arthur Carmichael (*) a dead cat seems to haunt the home of a widow and her step-son, who seems to be particularly influenced by the feline's presence. Not well thought-out or executed story that made little sense.

The Call of WIngs (**) - a millionaire is strangely affected by the music he hears played by a crippled street musician. Not very convincing story of mania.

The Last Seance (***) drained from years of acting as a medium, a woman plans one last sitting to help a mother communicate with her dead child, but things don't go as expected. Nice little story that's not scary, but has an unexpected ending.

SOS (**) - stranded out in the boonies when he car breaks down, a man seeks refuge in a cottage and discovers most of the family there acting strangely. He is determined to discover why after he finds the letters SOS in the dust on a desk in the room he is sleeping in. OK story that in the end doesn't make much sense.

(My thoughts are about the printed version. Not sure how the digital version would be rated.)

Apr 01, 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed several of these stories, particularly The Red Signal and Witness for the Prosecution. Both of them were more of the typical Christie murder mystery with a twist than many of the other stories in the collection.
I liked the paranormal twist to the stories though personally I preferred the ones where it was rationally explained at the conclusion. Mysteries that aren’t really solved but are left to the unexplained aren’t a favorite of mine.

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