Sunday Salon – An Ordinary Couple?

Sunday Salon

After  ploughing my way through White Noise and feeling a bit jaded I turned to an old favourite – Agatha Christie and this week I read By the Pricking of My Thumbs. After such a rambling, verbose book as White Noise it was so refreshing to read this book, posing a mystery to be solved – what had happened in the house by the canal, whose child had died and how, and where was Mrs Lancaster?


This is the first Tommy and Tuppence story I’ve read, but it’s not the first Agatha Christie wrote – there were earlier ones featuring Tommy and Tuppence, which I’m now going to look out for. Outwardly they are an ordinary couple, pleasant and past the prime of life, just like any other old couple. But appearances are deceptive and in By the Pricking of My Thumbs Tuppence in particular has no hesitation about getting mixed up in dangerous situations. Her daughter wishes that ‘her age she’d learn to sit quiet and not do things.’ There’s no chance of that after Tuppence met Mrs Lancaster in the nursing home where Tommy’s Aunt Ada had died. Seemingly incoherent and rambling Mrs Lancaster referred to ‘something behind the fireplace’ and a ‘poor child’ and when she disappeared after leaving behind a painting of a house by a canal Tuppence sets out to investigate.

As you would imagine from the title of the book (taken from Shakespeare’s Macbeth), ‘something wicked’ is afoot, there is evil about and Tuppence’s life is in danger. A dark and sinister tale.

I was still feeling like reading another mystery and picked up Kate Atkinson’s When Will There Be Good News? Jackson Brodie featured in the other book by Kate Atkinson that I’ve read – Case Histories – and I was pleased to find he’s in this one too. I read this in a couple of days, finishing it this morning as I just had to find out what happened. My faith in books has been fully restored as this is a very good book, and very satisfying – a complex and complicated plot with lots of action, good characterisation and drama.  More about that in a separate post.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Salon – An Ordinary Couple?

  1. I went to my local library book sale yesterday and picked up a handful of Agatha Christie paperbacks. I’ve not read any and I’m looking forward to them. I also got one from Stuart Woods and a couple from Patricia Cornwell. Enjoy your Sunday!


  2. Isn’t it just so true that a book you aren’t enjoying can change your mood. This is how I felt lately with Priestley’s English Journal. I did everything to avoid reading. I’d sit down and think, I’ll read a chapter before doing anything else, and I’d read a couple pages and hop up. I haven’t read any Tommy and Tuppence but saw a couple shows on tv. They were young and she was a ‘flapper.’ I like the idea that they have aged as the books have gone on. You’ve made me want to read them, and I thank you, Margaret.


  3. I share your enthusiasm for the Atkinson book – very intelligent and funny. And I also enjoyed the Christie, though I don’t think it’s one of her best (And then there were none is my all-time favourite of hers).


  4. There’s nothing like old favourites to cure a reading slump.

    I’ ve enjoyed all the Tommy and Tuppence books and enjoyed them. The Secret Agent is my favourite of them (and the first she published).In it, they’re young, at a loose end and not yet married. Great fun!

    I also thought When will there be good news? was a very satisfying read, and hope Atkinson writes more Brodie books in the future.


  5. I’m the opposite of y’all 🙂 I guess in that I didn’t particularly like the first Tommy and Tuppence book, The Secret Adversary. However, maybe the other ones get better or they don’t come off as annoying as they were in the first one. Annoying may not quite be the right word, but something about them just puts me off in contrast to Poirot and Miss Marple, whom I always enjoy.

    My review of The Secret Adversary.

    All this said, though, maybe this one, being darker, will be better when I get there. 🙂


  6. I had to stop and see what you thought of this Agatha Christie. Good review of it. I am in the ACRC also and am looking forward to the Pricking Thumb book.


Comments are closed.