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By the Pricking of My Thumbs: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery (Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries) Paperback – April 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062074334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062074331
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Agatha Christie taught me many important lessons about the inner workings of the mystery novel before it ever occurred to me that I might one day be writing mysteries myself.” (Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author)

“The most memorable and eerie Christie I have read for a long time.” (Sunday Express (London))

From the Publisher

Narrator Information: Alex Jennings enjoyed a highly-successful run at the Old Vic in Too Clever By Half for which he won an Olivier Award, the Drama Magazine Award, and the Plays and Players Award for Actor of the Year. He has also won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Peer Gynt. Among his numerous television credits are Inspector Alleyn, Hard Times and the lead role in Bad Blood. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

Customer Reviews

I thought it was really good and the ending surprised me.
Bridget
This story is a lovely whodunnit without all the violence, terror, or graphic detail of many contemporary mysteries a refreshing well-written story.
Kathy Johnson
I love Poirot and Miss Marple, but I do believe that Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are now my favorites of her characters.
Sparkling Angel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
BY THE PRICKINGS OF MY THUMBS certainly offers the sense of adventure, wit, and charm we have come to expect from Christie's Tommy and Tuppence Beresford--but unlike their other outings, which might best be described light-hearted romps, this novel possesses a quietly chilling tone that intensifies as the story progresses.
The story finds Tuppence interested in a painting recently inherited from Tommy's aunt, a painting of a country house by a bridge. Convinced that she has seen the original subject, she decides to track it down--and when she does, she stumbles into stories of a series of unsolved child murders that occurred in the district many years before... and some one is displeased enough about her curiosity to become lethal.
This is the best of Christie's Tommy and Tuppence novels, a neat mixture of the characters' bright and witty personalities, an interesting story that takes several unexpected turns, and a surprisingly charged atmosphere that haunts the memory. While most serious critics dismiss the Tommy and Tuppence books, BY THE PRICKINGS OF MY THUMBS is the equal of any of Christie's best work, and long-time fans and newcomers alike should find it a thoroughly enjoyable--and unexpectedly disquieting--read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Hunter on October 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
By the Pricking of My Thumbs marked a wonderful return of Tommy and Tuppence (truly her novel, though) Beresford that captures them as older people but still with all of the charm of the characters they were during the era of the flappers. The big advantage of this chapter in their fictional lives over previous ones is that Agatha Christie does not have them embroiled in a rather weak political/spy drama, naive politics always being a flaw in her writing. This is actually one of better of Christie's mysteries with many wonderfully dark ideas throughout that provide more fun than the usual stock amount of red herrings. This book effectively combines the dark deeds of the author's later books with the sense of fun of the earlier ones which can sometimes be lacking in the later Christies.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Recio, SJ on January 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
By the Pricking of My Thumbs (1968) marks the penultimate appearance of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. It is one of the novels which I return to periodically because I find that the novel continues to provide a certain amount of entertainment.

In By the Pricking of My Thumbs, we have less the espionage element that might have characterized their earlier adventures, The Secret Adversary, N or M?, or even possibly Partners in Crime. Instead, this novel represents a novel later in Christie's career in which she began to explore alternative reasons for murder. I am reminded of the sort of ingenuity that Christie utilizes in a late Miss Marple Mystery, Nemesis, written around this same period.

The reader should be aware that this even-paced thriller belongs to the brand of mystery in which the reader will have to sit back and enjoy Tuppence's wanderings with only a mysterious painting as an initial clue. The couple is older and their concerns focus little on employment but on the reasons why a woman has disappeared from a nursing home.

I recommend By the Pricking of Thumbs to people who are looking for something a little different from the genre which ordinarily belongs to Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. While By the Pricking of My Thumbs is not as odd as Endless Night, I would place this work among her works which emphasize subtle yet insistent menace, drawing on the ordinary as a means of hiding past crimes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on July 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
stumble upon yet another sinister criminal network.
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, first introduced as young adventures in post WWI England (THE SECRET ADVERSARY) have appeared from time to time as since: as young marrieds (PARTNERS IN CRIME), then as middle aged parents of grown children (M OR N?) and now somewhat older but still active.
The story opens as the Beresfords decide to pay a duty call on Tommy's rather difficult Aunt Ada. Tuppence is banished by the old lady and retreats to the nursing home's sitting room where she meets another old woman, Mrs. Lancaster. The two chat quite happily for a while until the old lady asks Tuppence "Was it your poor child?". Even allowing for the older woman's age and possible senility Tuppence finds the whole thing rather unsettling.
Still weeks pass and the whole matter begins to be forgotten until, while settling Aunt Ada's affairs after her death, Tuppence finds herself again dealing with Mrs. Lancaster. This time though, it is the woman's absence rather than her presence that is disturbing.
Soon Tuppence, in her typical manner, is hot on the trail with Tommy in pursuit, in his typical manner. As always, Albert is there to keep an eye on the pair.
Christie made the decision to age this pair of sleuths more or less in 'real-time', they were in their early to mid twenties in the opening books (written in the mid to late 1920's), mid to late forties during WWII and seem to be about 60 in this 1968 novel. This marks a departure from her treatment of Poirot and Miss Marple who age very little from their first appearance to their last.
It is always good to see this delightful pair and find out what they have been up to.
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