Friday, August 11, 2017

At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie: A review by Warren Bull

At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie: A review by Warren Bull

Published first in 1965, At Bertram’s Hotel is one of a number of books by Agatha Christie in which her usual protagonist, in this case Miss Marple, is not a major character. I am reminded of leading British actors and actresses who are willing to take a small part in a film when the part is interesting enough. I know American performers sometimes appear in cameo roles, but it seems to me Brits are willing to do so much more often.

It is a measure of the author’s skill and comfort with her characters that she is willing to present them in small doses while putting a different character or characters in major roles. In this novel a young woman and a police detective are the focus of much of the book. They differ in age, outlook and personality. Each is believable.  The concept of the crime is one I have not seen anywhere else. While some authors essentially write the same book in every work, Christie always had something unique in each novel.

To state the obvious, Agatha Christie has a wonderful way of writing. She is my favorite mystery writer. At Bertram’s Hotel is an example of how well a mystery can be written. Even though the pacing moves along briskly, try to read slowly enough to savor the experience.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

one of my favorites.

Grace Topping said...

I have seen this book produced for TV with I believe three different actresses playing Miss Marple. All very well done.

Shari Randall said...

Christie is the queen. She always surprises.

KM Rockwood said...

Ah, yes. A classic by a classic author. It may be time for me to reread some Agatha Christie.

Gloria Alden said...

I'll have to go through my large collection of Agatha Christie books to see if I have that one. If I do, I'll have to reread it.

Abbey said...

This is one of my favorite Marple stories, an elegy to Youth and Romance, written by an elderly woman about an elderly woman trying to re-live a bit of a happy past. I remember reading somewhere, quite a while ago, that there actually WAS a nice little old-fashioned very exclusive hotel in London with that same sort of reputation as "Bertram's" has in the novel, of a harkening back to old-fashioned service and charms, of a nearly Edwardian sensibility and manners even in the mid-1960s.

Christie fudges the Marple time-line there, though, and in my more pedantic youth -grin- it bothered me - she never aged Poirot or Marple when writing about them, they remained approximately the same ages as when they began, lo those many years ago (Poirot 1920, Marple ~1930); Poirot began his career when retired from being a police detective at ~55, Marple was in her 70s when that was equivalent to 80s now! And almost forty to fifty years later, Christie makes them the same, with Marple thus becoming a young girl in 1910. She, Christie, has come up to meet their ages, and so she is able to use some of her own Edwardian experiences as a young woman circa 1905-1910 or so.

It gives the very good story a bit of a nice warmth that some of her later novels didn't have, at least IMO. Although, a caveat: Christie never DID get "The Swingin' Sixties" thang, now, did she? -grin-