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Postern of Fate: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery (Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries) Paperback – April 17, 2012

2.8 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews
Book 5 of 5 in the Tommy and Tuppence Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“What most impresses me about Agatha Christie (and what she doesn’t often get credit for), is her comprehension of the human heart.” (S. J. Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author)

“The Beresfords are wonderfully revived. Smooth, beautifully paced, and effortlessly convincing.” (New York Times)

From the Back Cover

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford have just become the proud owners of an old house in an English village. Along with the property, they have inherited some worthless bric-a-brac, including a collection of antique books. While rustling through a copy of The Black Arrow, Tuppence comes upon a series of apparently random underlinings.

However, when she writes down the letters, they spell out a very disturbing message: "Mary Jordan did not die naturally." And sixty years after their first murder, Mary Jordan's enemies are still ready to kill. . . .

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Product Details

  • Series: Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062074342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062074348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on February 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since its publication, POSTERN OF FATE has received largely execrable reviews, with some labelling it "tedious" and others finding themselvs unable to follow its byzantinely boring plot. Look at the reviews on Amazon for samples. Now comes new evidence that the version of POSTERN OF FATE which we have was severely edited and that Christie's original may be a very different (and more cogent) work than the one we all know and abhor.

Sotheby's was offering the "complete Dictaphone recording of Agatha Christie dictating her last novel" including the original dictaphone belts she used (sixty of them). This was evidently put up for sale by her secretary, Mrs. Jolly. Did you know that "Postern of Fate" was Christie's sub=title for the novel and that the real title is "Doom's Caravan"? Sotheby's catalogue, from which I quote here, reveals that "the text incorporated here differs substantially in very many instances from the final, printed version . . . Among the most striking differences might be noted the following. [WARNING -- SPOILERS AHEAD.] The group responsible for Mary Jordan's murder is here more clearly identified as a Fascist cell amd many more details of, and clues about, them are given in a substantial section eventually cut. The motivation for the murder of old Isaac by a descendant of this group who is endeavouring to bring Fascism to England is, accordinly, more substantiated in the present version; moreover, in the way this material is here worked, clues are thrown out so as apparently to implicate a different murderer.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am an Agatha Christie fan, and although her books don't have the deep character development of some authors, she's generally ingenious in the construction of the mysteries, and such a good writer that each book is a pleasure to read.

BUT.....this book is boring, boring, boring. There is no mystery to speak of, and such as it is, is solved pretty much without any particular input by the Beresford couple, Tommy and Tuppence, nor is it a mystery the reader gets to try to solve.

Tommy and Tuppence continually, page after page and chapter after chapter, speculate on what might be the solution to the mystery. In the first place, speculation is not exactly detection. In the second place, about the sixth or eighth time Tuppence brightly wondered what might be the solution and Tommy fondly said he didn't know either, I wanted to strangle both of them. I prefer for SOMETHING to be happening in a book. NOT for the characters to be sitting around saying "Gee, there seems to be a mystery. I wonder who did it?"

This might have made an amusing short story. But it was strung out to tedious length and actually made me angry with myself for not just throwing it away instead of slogging all the way to the disappointing end.
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By A Customer on September 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a tremendous Agatha Christie fan, and you will be too so long as you don't start with this book. It's true, she wrote it when she was in her 80s, and it shows. However, start out chronologically with her books - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1920, and go on from there, and you will probably love her. Mysteries, action adventure (rather tame by todays standards but there's nothing wrong in that !) and well written. Her later books must be read by devoted fans who just want to see her old characters again. Her earliest books are the best - and I mean, the best!
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Format: Audio CD
Worst Agatha Christie, hands down. Standing on the distant periphery of a very low-octane spy/murder mystery, one listens helplessly as the two yawn-inducing retirees exchange Quaint Old Married Couple repartee, prattle interminably about greengages and speckled laurels and old children's books, and dash off blithering into pointless digression at the first threat of tangible plot development. Found a vital clue cunningly hidden, have we? Actually examining it would be too obvious. Instead, let's spend 5 minutes discussing Hannibal the dog, who--shock!--likes to bury bones and chase rabbits.

No, "progress" in this work consists of Tommy or Tuppence meeting some new octogenarian whose aunt's nephew's youngest boy _may_ know a chap who _might_ have heard something or other important about something to do with the victim. They may not learn anything concrete from him when they track him down, but it's another great opportunity to discuss vegetable gardening. The hoary specter of some atavistic fascist terror-cell looms periodically but never comes into focus: the ending "reveal" is a cop-out, vague and two-dimensional.

Imagine watching The 39 Steps or The Man Who Knew Too Much spooled backward with the soundtrack replaced by clucking hens and the projector lens liberally smeared with Vaseline, and you'll just about have the flavor. Ultimately one is left with the urge to exhume either Christie or her errant editor--one can't quite be sure which is to blame, apparently--and shake said mortal remains violently in some vain hope of recapturing the seven hours wasted on this senescent muddle of a book.
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