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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

#ReadThis @AgathaChristie @HarperCollins @Morrow_PB #TakenAtTheFlood by #AgathaChristie #Twenty-Sixth #26 #HerculePoirot #Mystery #ReadChristie2022

If there is a better mystery writer, they have yet to exist.  Agatha and Poirot keep getting better and better and we are building momentum with book #26: a snappy, well-paced work in England in the post-WW2 era.  Of course the world has been changed, but in the world according to Poirot people do not really change and we quite concur.  Written in 1948, a very good year, Taken At The Flood was released at a time when the best actor around was Montgomery Clift and if you haven't watched his movies, what are you waiting for!  It doesn't get better than that.

Times are tough after the war: the country is rebuilding, taxes are up (taxes today in Europe continue to be so much worse than the USA be grateful!), and opportune times of crime have come to the forefront.  In the midst of this is the Cloade family, and its fortune created by the recently passed Gordon Cloade who historically assured all family members they'd be provided for.  Well, all that glitters is not gold and with signature Christie twists and turns, Taken At The Flood reinvents family drama in a new fashion that only Agatha can create.

Bankruptcy, Embezzlement, Murder oh my!
Even worse than Lions, Tigers and Bears, Dorothy.
Frances Cloade rightly points out that all people have some good and some bad in each of them (p. 24) and you, the reader must discern who has the most good and bad and motives take center stage along with the little grey cells of course.  Poirot makes his debut well over halfway into the book so the new characters will regale you in their vivid behavior as you guess what is what.  Even Peachy turned out to be surprised and you'll have to ask her what she thought was going to happen and why but she is not going to spoil the book for you here.

Christie becomes philosophical through Lynn: "Was that what, ultimately war did to you?  It was not the physical dangers- the mines at sea, the bombs from the air, the crisp ping of a rifle bullet as you drove over a desert track.  No, it was the spiritual danger of learning how much easier life was if you ceased to think." (p. 98)

And later through Poirot: "Character, mon cher, does not stand still.  It can gather strength.  It can also deteriorate.  What a person really is, is only apparent when the test comes- that is, the moment when you stand or fall on your own feet." (p.173)

Can they find safety and peace after the storm?  Are all the deaths within this work MURDER?!?  All gets curiouser and curiouser like Alice in Wonderland...stranger and stranger.  No one weaves layers of intrigue like Christie knits these chapters that become increasingly confounding in the most entertaining way.

Taken At The Flood is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

Previously on Whom You Know, we have raved about Agatha:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Murder on the Links

Poirot Investigates

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Big Four

The Mystery of the Blue Train

Peril at End House

Lord Edgware Dies

Murder on the Orient Express

Three Act Tragedy

and we took a break from only him and did him with others in Midwinter Murder

and returned to only him with Death in the Clouds

The ABC Murders

Murder in Mesopotamia

Cards on the Table

Murder in the Mews

Dumb Witness

Death on the Nile

Appointment with Death

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Sad Cypress

One Two Buckle My Shoe

Evil Under the Sun

Five Little Pigs

The Hollow

The Labors of Hercules

About the Author
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only in the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She is the author of eighty crime novels and short-story collections, around thirty plays, two memoirs, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott

She first tried her hand at detective fiction while working in a hospital dispensary during World War I, creating the now-legendary Hercule Prior with her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. In 1930, Miss Jane Marple made her first full-length novel appearance in The Murder at the Vicarage, quickly becoming another beloved and enduring character to rival Poirot's popularity. Additional series characters include the husband-and wife crime-fighting team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, private investigator Parker Pyne, and Scotland Yard detectives Superintendent Battle and Inspector Japp.

Many of Christie's novels and short stories were adapted into plays, films, and television series. The Mousetrap opened in 1952 and is the longest running play in history. Academy Award-nominated actor and director Kenneth Branagh helmed the acclaimed major motion picture Murder on the Orient Express in 2017 and its sequel, Death on the Nile, starring in both films as the Belgian detective. On the small screen Poirot has been most memorably portrayed by David Suchet, and Miss Marple by Joan Hickson and subsequently Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie.

Christie was first married to Archibald Christie and then to archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, whom she accompanied on expeditions to countries that would also serve as the settings for many of her novels. In 1971 she achieved one of Britain's highest honors when she was made a Dame of the British Empire. She died in 1976 at the age of eighty-five. The one-hundred-year anniversary of Agatha Christie stories and the debut of Hercule Poirot was celebrated around the world in 2020. Whom You Know will never stop celebrating it!

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