2008. 168. The Sittaford Mystery 

“Major Burnaby drew on his gum boots, buttoned his overcoat collar round his neck, took from a shelf near the door a hurricane lantern, and cautiously opened the front door of his little bungalow and peered out.”

The Sittaford Mystery,  Agatha Christie

I know, another Agatha Christie.  Well, be prepared for a lot more where that came from, because I have been on such a Christie tear that I have decided to complete the Agatha Christie Project before the end of the year (and I am damn close to doing so).  Next year, look for a similar endeavor (with a slightly more literary author).  

Anyway, The Sittaford Mystery is a stand alone murder mystery, but it is in the vein of some of her best stories.  A group of people are in a small town near Dartmoor, playing with a Ouija board on a dark and snowy night.  Suddenly it tells them an ominous message - Trevelyan is dead!*  They shake off the message, a first, but his dear friend Burnaby gets spooked, and starts off in the dark night to make sure that everything is ok - only to find that, in fact, Trevelyan has been killed!  Who has done such a dastardly thing, and was there, in fact, a message from beyond?

The actual solution to the mystery is quite good - no reason that it couldn’t have been solved by one of her detectives, of course, but it works as a standalone.**  And the atmosphere is very good, indeed, with the dark and stormy snowy night, and Dartmoor prison lurking on the moors.  Throw in your typical spunky heroine (here defending her weakly fiance, who as the dead man’s nephew, is accused of the crime), and it’s quite a good showing for Dame Agatha (especially as this is one of her first books!).

*(Mr. Trevelyan is a friend living in a nearby town)


** The BBC (or whomever is making the latest round of Marples) agrees - they made a terribly unfaithful version of this story with Miss Marple solving the crime.  I think only the names were the same!!

Date/Place Completed: 11/7/08; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Re-read; Agatha Christie Project


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017