This book was late in coming to my attention since it isn’t part of either the Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple series. When I first started reading, I thought it’d be a mystery solved by the police – my husband jokes that I prefer books and movies where the mystery is solved by someone who is not the police. However, I love the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, so that is not entirely true, but I digress…
As the back of the book explains, a group of people are gathered together for a small party and decide to have a go at “table turning” (aka a seance). During this, it is declared that someone has been murdered and the name of the victim is revealed to be “Captain Trevelyan”. His stalwart friend, Major Burnaby, decides to trek across the six mile path to the next town, during a snowstorm, to confirm that his friend is okay. When he arrives, he finds his friend has been murdered in what initially appears to be a burglary.
Through the police investigation the next day, it is discovered that the victim’s nephew, Jim Pearson, had visited the town the prior day and left on the first train out. Through bad luck and circumstantial evidence, he is arrested. However, his fiance, Emily Trefusis, a determined and relentless woman, believes he is innocent and commits herself to proving it and finding the real killer. I won’t ruin the story and tell you how it ended.
As I was reading, I thought the name of the victim sounded familiar (“Captain Trevelyan”). Turns out that this book was re-written to include Miss Marple for an episode in the PBS/BBC series. Fortunately, I could not recall the details of that episode, so the solution to the mystery was a surprise to me.
I enjoyed the book, as I enjoy most books by Agatha Christie. I cannot say that I was entirely pleased with the ending, but I accept that it ends as the author determined for it to end. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, and it is entirely secondary to the mystery, what was first rate. And I’m always pleased when I don’t figure out the solution before I reach the end.