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Double Sin

Posted on by arlen

Double Sin, published in 1961, is a collection of stories written by Dame Agatha Christie. The publication date puts it toward the end of her “dry period” where her books were more automatic writing than inventiveness, but don’t let the timing put you off. Many of the stories come from the very fertile earlier periods of her career, and there are some real classics in here.

Of the eight stories presented, half are Poirot, and few of them of the automatic variety. Two more are Miss Marple’s, but those are among the more pedestrian of her adventures, and could be missed without regret. And finally, there are two examples of Christie’s gothic touch (non-series). Dame Agatha wrote a number of gothic stries as well, and they are interesting outings as well.

The longest story in the batch, The Theft Of The Royal Ruby, gets reprinted in nearly every Christmas Mystery collection; there are elements of the heart-warming in it as much as mystery. “Wasps’ Nest” plays the least fair with the reader, but that’s OK, in its way, because it’s not really a mystery story. It’s more of a brief step by the Belgian over the line from dectective story to gothic. The question to be solved isn’t so much “who did the crime?” as it is “What’s going on here?” As such, the lack of fairplay is forgivable.

This is one of the better books in this stretch of Christie, probably due in no small part to being comprised of earlier stories. Recommended.

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May 2005
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