Book review: A Pocketful of Rye, by Agatha Christie

J. A. Custodio By J. A. Custodio, 19th Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

This is a review of "A Pocketful of Rye", a mystery novel written by Agatha Christie.

A Pocketful of Rye

I've always thought that Agatha Christie's Marple mysteries are usually second-class to her Poirot mysteries and sadly, "A Pocketful of Rye" is not an exception.

The book opens with the untimely death of a business tycoon named Rex Fortescue. Autopsy reports showed that he ingested a highly fatal poison while drinking his tea, leaving investigators to believe that he was murdered. Ruthless and greedy, Rex Fortescue surrounded himself with a lot of enemies in the business world thus it was expected that he'll die sooner or later. Miss Marple's intuition tells her that not everything is as it seems. She believes that the murderer just might be among the members of the Fortescue household. After another murder occurs, Miss Marple must piece together vital clues, including verses from a popular nursery rhyme, before the murderer can strike again.

"A Pocketful of Rye" is actually similar in theme to her other novel "Hercule Poirot's Christmas". The characters, the setting, and even some parts of the plot felt like a rehash of sorts. Unfortunately, the similarities end there. This book aimed to be a lot of things but failed in almost all aspects. Being a big Christie fan, I'm not saying that this is a badly-written novel, it's just not up to par with most of her other books.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I felt that the exposition of the plot was a bit slower-paced than usual. Beginning with a murder should have been explosive but the chapters which followed almost bored me to death. Again, it's fairly well-written but you can only drag along a boring premise to a certain extent; further than that and you'll lose the interest of the reader. Luckily, my patience didn't wear thin so I managed to finish the plot exposition without giving up on the book.

Disappointed by the early parts, the next few chapters of the book got my hopes up. I thought for sure Christie was back on track. It did get a little interesting when she introduced the rest of the suspects, but this was all for naught. I kept on going back to the plot of "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" and I can't stop comparing the two novels. The Poirot-centric one was clearly superior, both in pacing and in character development. Lastly, the ending was just all-right. It's quite disappointing because we're talking about Agatha Christie here and an "all-right" ending just doesn't cut it.

I would not recommend this book to new Agatha Christie readers because it might leave you with a bad impression. Even if you're already a fan, I would still suggest that you just hold this off for future reading.


A Pocketful Of Rye, Agatha Christie, Book Review, Reviews

Meet the author

author avatar J. A. Custodio
I'm a pessimistic twentysomething with a passion for ranting, er, writing. I have a wide range of interests including, but not limited to, magic realism, things inspired by bacon, obscure Asian movies, and role-playing games. Mostly bacon though.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Dec 2010 (#)

Great review but I hate anything Agathat Christie. Brings back memories of my first wife who collected Dame Christie books. Too many bad memories there,

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author avatar Denise O
21st Dec 2010 (#)

Sorry Jerry.
I just love Poirot but, he is second to Sherlock Holmes, in my mind any ways.
I love a good mystery.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Retired
8th Oct 2011 (#)

Agatha Christie is my favorite mystery writer.

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