I guessed who did it before the end!
First time ever.
I didn’t get everything right (I missed the whole accomplice angle in this plot) but I knew who the murderer was. Woo-hoo.
I might have read The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie before (at least thirty years ago) but I can’t remember for sure. (If I’m not sure, it doesn’t count).
What I had definitely forgotten was how good Agatha Christie is a creating believable, likeable characters. And how good she is at writing dialogue which makes the reader feel as if they are also part of the gang. And how good she is at confusing the reader about who the murderer might be.
This story starts at a weekend party at a house called Chimneys, where a group of friends have gathered for a good time. The house guests are bright and cheerful and full of high spirits, when they decide to play a joke on one of the members, who is renowned for sleeping in later than the rest of them. (Even on working days, the men of the party don’t need to turn up to work at the Foreign Office until 11am). The house guest creep into the sleepy-head’s room and set a number of alarm clocks, planning to wake him up through the night, but in the morning, they find him dead in his bed, apparently having overdosed on a sleeping draught.
A bright young thing nicknamed ‘Bundle’ becomes involved in the mystery when a second fellow from the party turns up dead, and from there, things rollick along. The Seven Dials turns out to be a place in London, as well as a mysterious group who appear to be interested in a secret formula for manufacturing wire which is as strong as steel (ah, industrial espionage, a timeless reason to commit a crime…)
The slang used by the characters, their nicknames (Socks, Codders and Pongo, not to mention our heroine, Bundle) and the funny, at cross-purposes conversations reminded me of PG Wodehouse’s joyful style.
The Seven Dials Mystery has everything except a ‘why’ that makes sense. Adventure, romance, mystery, great characters, funny slang, a plot, mad-keen golfers, women who are interested in Politics (yes, with a capital ‘P’), butlers, difficult gardeners, beautiful countesses and wicked villians. I loved that when the murderer was caught, no one expressed any regret that he or she was going to swing for his or her crimes. However, I didn’t really get the reason why the villain committed their crimes as it all seemed a bit too far fetched. I don’t think I can explain why without saying who did it, but my lack of understanding didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the rest of the story.
The Seven Dials Mystery is loads of fun. Read it and enjoy it for yourself.