The New Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie by Dick Riley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is an odd book. Let me begin by comparing it to another. Growing up, one of my favorite reference books was The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree. Once I discovered the Twilight Zone, I couldn't get enough and this book was a great guide in learning about the series, but also letting me know which season each episode aired. I loved the short descriptions which included Serling's opening and closing narration. It gave you everything you needed to know.
Now this book makes it a great point in saying that they won't give away any of the murderers. So you have hundreds of pages (the vast majority of the book is summary of the novels and stories) that ultimately lead nowhere. If the description is supposed to entice you into reading the novel, well, it gives nearly everything away. Everything but the murderer. As a reference book, I feel it therefore fails. (Granted, the reveal would probably be best if it were on a different page or revealed in a section in the back, but it could have been done.)
I've owned this book for many years and the reason I picked it up was after reading a Christie book a few months ago, it reignited my desire to refresh my memory on those books I read in my youth. Alas, these descriptions really didn't do it for me. Nevertheless, I did kind of enjoy going through the book. Hence, my two stars. However, it is for hardcore purists only as the other articles aren't really that interesting. Ultimately, in the age of Wikipedia, there's really no need for this book.
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