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Discover the real life mystery centered on the ueen of crime herself Agatha Christie In this tantalizing new novel Christie’s mysterious ten day disappearance serves as the starting point for a gripping novel in which Christie herself is pulled into a case of blackmail and murder “I wouldn’t scream if I were you Unless you want the whole world to learn about your husband and his mistress”Agatha Christie in London to visit her literary agent is boarding a train preoccupied with the devastating knowledge that her husband is having an affair She feels a light touch on her back causing her to lose her balance then a sense of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of the incoming train So begins a terrifying seuence of events—for her rescuer is no guardian angel rather he is a blackmailer of the most insidious manipulative kind “You Mrs Christie are going to commit a murder But before then you are going to disappear”Writing about murder is a far cry from committing a crime and Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her expertise and knowledge about the act of murder to kill on his behalfIn A Talent for Murder Andrew Wilson ingeniously explores Agatha Christie’s odd ten day disappearance in 1926 and weaves an utterly compelling and convincing story around this still unsolved mystery involving the world’s bestselling novelist

10 thoughts on “A Talent for Murder

  1. says:

    Agatha Christie wrote some tantalising crime thrillers back in her day and here Andrew Wilson makes her a victim to a plot not unlike one of her own It's all about the mystery and it really drives the story forward Agatha is ambushed by a strange man at the train station; she is given a proposition that confuses her and secretly intrigues her Indeed for this man wants her to commit a murderWriting about murder is one thing actually committing it yourself is another thing altogether She becomes torn between her morals and her family For this man has a powerful hold on her; he knows exactly who she is where she lives and how to hurt those she loves He is an imposing figure an authoritative man who is commanding and uncompromising He will use violence against her too and uickly reveals himself to be a trusted doctor He's a worthy foe and he wants her to disappear so she has a lot to deal withDespite giving the appearance of being utterly unprepared to deal with such an assault Agatha is not without her own guile She's extraordinarily clever; she knows how the criminal mind works and can easily see where she is being lead She also has experience with poison She learnt the basics of it to make her writing informed She seems conservative and ordinary which in part becomes her greatest weapon because she has just been drastically underestimated She's written about men like this herself; she knows what to expect from them and has some ideas of her own for dealing with them So a deadly game begins one I found tense and intriguingA police body hunt also commences as Agatha is considered dead by the officer in charge of her disappearance The story becomes a speculative narrative a possible and entertaining explanation of what could have happened when she did actually go missing in real life in December 1926 She was gone for ten whole days and nobody really knows what happened She would never speak of it herself so all we have is speculation Wilson also digs into the unexplainable death of a young reporter assigned with researching the case providing a tense and detailed plot about what connected all these people together Historically speaking there are many lingering uestions about what happened to Agatha during these ten days This novel provides a conspiracy theory a massive what if that seems eerily possible We will never have our answers but what Wilson provides are some clever fictional onesI've not read any of Agatha Christie's actual novels but after reading this I want to Wilson drew upon many of the themes and characters As our cunning doctor here recognises he's a caricature of one of her most famous villains Doctor Sheppard He became obsessed with Agatha Christie's writing and tried to relive parts of it that much so he tried to take control of her life So this is highly recommended for fans of Christie or for those who just enjoy a good crime novel It's out in July I received an arc of this book from The Bookbag in exchange for an honest review

  2. says:

    25I had high hopes for this book Andrew Wilson wrote an excellent biography of Patricia Highsmith and I looked forward to seeing his research and writing skills applied to this ambitious projects which sought to feature Dame Agatha Christie as the protagonist in her very own mystery the mystery of her disappearance for 11 days in December 1926 A Talent for Murder starts out with Agatha standing on the platform in a London Underground station contemplating the impending breakdown of her marriage and her husband's affair with a younger woman Wherever I turned my head I thought I saw her a woman people described as striking beautiful even That would never have been my choice of wordsOf course when I looked again across the glove counter or perfume display it was never her just another dark haired woman trying to make the best of herself But each of these imagined glimpses left a piece of scar tissue across my heart I told myself to stop thinking of her I would simply pretend the situation did not exist but then I caught sight of another pale faced brunette and the dull ache in my chest would flare up again and leave me feeling nauseous Suddenly she feels disorientated and anxious and cannot shake the feeling that someone is trying to push her onto the rails It is a great start to the book Not only does Wilson create the very atmosphere of a crowded tube platform but he also starts the story by recreating a scene from Christie's own story The Man in the Brown Suit And while I read this part with the knowledge of how the scene develops in Christie's book it added some anticipation to see how Wilson would handle the scene As it turn out he chose to make alterations and introduce a character that would have been at home in Strangers on a Train by Highsmith I thought the idea of introducing a sociopath from Highsmith's world into the world of Agatha Christie was fun exciting and somewhat of a geeky dream as it would allow to play around with a bit of a face off between the seriously messed up minds of Highsmith's imagination and the mostly proper and twee characters of Christie's creation Seriously I loved that idea And I really liked the way that Wilson made the effort to emulate Christie's dialogues and give the book a real 1920s feel to it This is no mean feat So many authors fail at this And yet A Talent for Murder did not manage to impress me The plot that followed the initial scenes in London were contrivances that somewhat ignored Christie's own character and thus were just too unbelievable The idea that Christie even in her unravelling state of mind could be blackmailed into committing a crime of the sort proposed in this book was just too unrealistic And I mean really too unrealistic Agatha may have plumbed the depths of human villainy in her novels but it is a fundamental mistake to presume that an author who can dream up a plot is also capable of living it Anyway from this point on the plot developed in ways which made very little sense with characters acting ways that were inconsistent and showed that maybe the author had either rushed through some of the decisions or tried just a little too hard to shoe horn real life events in Dame Agatha's biography into the life of the fictional characters and let me say that I believe some of them were anachronisticNow if a reader is able to disconnect the real Agatha from this book or does not know or care much about the real Agatha this book would probably work a treat I mean there really are some great ideas in this that is if the reader can also ignore some of the silly plot decisions However I was not able to do this If the book proposes to be based on the real Agatha then I find it difficult not to compare the proposed character with the real one Maybe I'm just too much of a fan I take the same issue with pastiches and fan fiction based on other favourite characters real and fictional of mineAs an example of one of the silly plot decisions and one of various where I could not make sense of a scene was the idea that the fictional Agatha would seemingly lack basic knowledge about chemistry and pharmacy This also seemed to show some sloppiness on the part of the author As most of us readers will know and I suppose readers pick up A Talent for Murder because they already have some knowledge of Agatha Christie's life and work the real Agatha had a working knowledge of chemistry and poisons which she acuired when training with a pharmacists in her youth It therefore just makes no sense that she would conjure up a plot with another character that slipped up a detail such as where to get the ingredients to make saline solution There were just a few too many moments like this in the book and after a while this became jarring enough for me that it could no longer be compensated for with Wilson great writing style So what I have concluded from my venture into this new series is the following1 I now know who'd win in a fight between Highsmith's and Christie's fictional characters and 2 Fiction based on my favourite crime writers is something I really should not seek out Wilson's book the first in a series is not the first to try this and it is not the first of similar premises that I have tried to read A Talent for Murder follows in the steps of Jill Dawson's The Crime Writer which features Pat Highsmith and Nicola Upson's series which is loosely based on the life and character of Josephine Tey I have not tried Jill Patterson Walsh's books yet but chances are I should give them a miss

  3. says:

    A Talent for Murder is a fictional account of the disappearance of Agatha Christie for ten days in 1926 I thought this was a clever interpretation and a true honest to goodness mystery Andrew Wilson does justice to Agatha Christie and I look forward to reading books by him

  4. says:

    When Agatha Christie disappeared from circulation in 1926 her reasons were far different to what the police and her husband imagined For she was being blackmailed by a most unscrupulous and dishonourable person The eleven days Mrs Christie spent in hiding as another person were extremely difficult for her on many levelsEvil comes in many forms – with Mrs Christie’s concerns of her beloved husband’s affair the approach of this blackmailer hit her when she was at her lowest What did he have over her? And what was it he was determined she would do? The safety of her family was at stake; especially her daughter Rosalind She knew she couldn’t let evil touch her A Talent for Murder is the fictionalised story of the real life disappearance of the novelist Agatha Christie – a story she would never speak of Author Andrew Wilson has blended fact with fiction mixed with intrigue and old fashioned mystery A highly enjoyable novel which I have no trouble in recommendingWith thanks to Simon Schuster AU for my copy to read and review

  5. says:

    I liked the idea than I liked the story to be honest I found it a bit too far fetched and I struggled with the book uite badly took me several days to finish it since I didn't find the book that compelling to read which meant reading a couple of chapters now and then and letting other interesting books come before this one The whole blackmailing into committing a murder was to be honest a bit ridiculous especially since the mastermind wasn't especially scary and the conclusion? Bah2 stars since I actually did manage to finish it and the beginning of the book was promising

  6. says:

    Having recently read a non fiction book “Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days” about her disappearance in 1926 Although it was a fascinating read I actually commented in my review of that book that the author was unable to really create a great deal of suspense or mystery about the actual events of Agatha Christie’s disappearance In reality it was really a cry for help from a woman whose husband Archie Christie had fallen in love with another woman Nancy Neele and who was deeply hurt and unhappy It is fair to say that events got out of hand and so humiliated was Agatha Christie by the media furore which unfolded that she emitted the entire event from her autobiography and interviewers were never allowed to ask about itRecently there have been a number of books which attempt to either give fictional characters a new lease of life or to put real life people in fiction These have varied in terms of success Author Josephine Tey has been used as an amateur detective by Nicola Upson Poirot has been re imagined pretty unsuccessfully by Sophie Hannah and Jill Paton Walsh has sympathetically extended the Lord Peter Wimsey novels There have been other novels which have featured Agatha Christie as a character but I do think this is one of the best Andrew Wilson has taken the bare bones of the events surrounding Christie’s disappearance and created a crime novel featuring many real people which is sympathetic to Christie herself and an enjoyable readWe begin with an uncertain Agatha Christie who is returning from London when she is approached by Dr Patrick Kurs What unfolds is a fiendish plot in which Christie is blackmailed and threatened by a man who wants the crime writer to commit a murder on his behalf Having just read a book about the real events I was impressed at how much Andrew Wilson incorporated while writing an entirely different version of events As a fan of Christie who is my favourite author I also liked his sympathetic portrayal of her and thought he got her ‘voice’ really well I was delighted to see that there will be a further adventure starring Christie planned – “A Different Kind of Evil” – and I look forward to reading it This has lots of appeal to Christie fans and crime lovers alike

  7. says:

    Pretty Dreadful The the facts about this period are well documented which forces a framework for the story But her character doesn't fit if you have read any of the biographies or her autobiography The villain is just too twirling moustache cliché And the plot is dribble No twist no mystery no whodunit It is just a set up vehicle for what I assume will be a series bad mysteries starring Dame Agatha The two plot threads didn't appear to tie up; you could remove the Una Davison plot and it would make no difference it serves only to demonstrate a bit of research and provide a link to build further episodes on A complete waste of electrons A least no trees were killed to provide my copy It gets two stars because I finished it and goodreads won't allow 15If you want a good author turned detective series try the Josephine Tay books by Nicola Upson

  8. says:

    11 DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLDOn a dark winter´s night December 3rd 1926 Mrs Agatha Christie disappears from her homeOnly her beloved Morris was found at the bottom of a pit giving very few clues to what might have happened to the crime authorA few personal belongings and an outdated driver´s license were left in the car but otherwise there were no traces of Mrs ChristieDespite the massive womanhunt which was almost immediately initiated neither new clues or as many feared a body was foundThis book tells us what really happened brace yourself the truth is evilA light summer read but an entertaining one which do take all known facts into consideration and builds a nice plot upon these facts

  9. says:

    Taking Agatha Christie's famous 11 day disappearance as its starting point this is a fictional insertion that rewrites this episode in the vein of her own books sort of In the afterword Wilson discusses what is based on biographical fact Christie's sense of betrayal at her first husband's affair her grief at the death of a beloved parent and then comes up with a plot which is a slightly strange mix of Golden Age romp with accents which are far grave I felt slightly uncomfortable with the tone of this book it isn't suggesting for a moment that Christie disappeared for the reason given here but the combination of over the top evil villain who all but swirled his moustaches with real deaths and threats view spoiler especially the suggestion that Christie's young daughter might be raped by a violent paedophile hide spoiler

  10. says:

    Not the most compelling readi'm afraidAs much as I adore Christieand learning about her life with an added thrill would be such funthis was not itThe whole premise seemed really goodbut the implausible execution was a let down