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The Sittaford Mystery (Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection) Paperback – March 13, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I cut my mystery teeth on Agatha Christie.” (John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author)

“An excellent book to take away for a weekend reading.” (New York Times)

From the Back Cover

In a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six shadowy figures huddle around a table for a seance. Tension rises as the spirits spell out a chilling message: "Captain Trevelyan . . . dead . . . murder."

Is this black magic or simply a macabre joke? The only way to be certain is to locate Captain Trevelyan. Unfortunately, his home is six miles away and, with snowdrifts blocking the roads, someone will have to make the journey on foot. . . .

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Product Details

  • Series: Agatha Christie Mysteries Collection
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062074148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062074140
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on October 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Sittaford Mystery (American title: Murder at Hazelmoor) opens on a wintry afternoon at the large mansion known as Sittaford House. The entertainment for the day is a seance which suggests that Captain Trevelyan, owner of the house, may be dead. The Captain has leased his home to a Mrs. Willett and her daughter Violet. These South African women had been so insistent on spending a typical British winter in the home that they convinced Trevelyan to move into a smaller home in nearby Exhampton. Major Burnaby, a friend of Trevelyan's, is present at the seance. Although he does not believe in spiritualism, he decides to check up on his friend and finds that Trevelyan has been murdered.

From this intriguing beginning the story moves to Trevelyan's sister, two nephews, and niece, all of whom had motive and opportunity to commit the crime. Also, a convict has escaped from a nearby prison and is added to the list of suspects along with the mysterious Willetts.

Christie weaves the murder beautifully into the novel's second plot which is the unexplained presence of the Willetts in Sittaford. This book, notable for its outstanding description of the stark and isolated setting, also introduces a gimmick that Christie will use again in her novella "Three Blind Mice."
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on July 11, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
US readers used to know this one as "Murder at Hazelmoor," but nowadays they call it by the name Christie used, "The Sittaford Mystery." What a dull title! I guess the experience of slow sales with "The Listerdale Mystery" didn't teach her much, for this one also seems often to fall between the cracks when fans compile lists of Christie's best books, and I think it's the colorless title that does it, for otherwise this book is nearly the equal of the two midperiod masterpieces that followed it, CARDS ON THE TABLE and DEATH ON THE NILE. It lacks the complete assurance of the sleight-of-hand play of CARDS, and of course it is entirely missing the tragic dimension of the opera that is DEATH ON THE NILE, but THE SITTAFORD MYSTERY is indeed a wonderful treat for Christie readers. I wonder, if Poirot was in it, if it would be better known?

Instead we have the admirable Inspector Narracott, and his opposite number, the inventive, spirited, dazzling heroine Emily Trefusis, a sparkling Katharine Hepburn type no man can resist or outwit. Things look bleak of Emily at the beginning of the story as her sad sack boyfriend, Jim Pearson, is arrested for the murder of his uncle, Captain Trevelyan, in a little English village near Dartmoor--Sittaford--or Hazelmoor--one of them, I suppose. All I remember is that the book begins with a spooky seance of table turning, when the table raps, raps, raps, revealing Trevelyan's name and to the surprise of almost everyone present, the spirit voices say he has died! Six miles away, his body lies on the floor of his home, sandbagged, in the middle of a ferocious, historic blizzard.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By kellytwo on February 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ahhh. This is more like! A mystery reader/fan must, every now and then, return to the books of the great Dame Agatha. Yet, it becomes harder and harder to find one that perhaps hasn't been read for a while. It's important also, not to get sucked into a recently read title now masquerading under a new name.
I'm sure that at some time in my past, I've read The Murder at Hazelmoor, but not recently enough to have given the subsequently-named The Sittaford Mystery a familiar aura. S'wonderful, indeed.
No one captured the thirties quite so eloquently as did Christie, and this book is a prime example of her art. There is no Miss Marple or Hercule Poiret in this episode, however. Rather we have an intrepid young woman named Emily Trefusis, who has the misfortune to be engaged to the nephew of a man who is found murdered, after his death had been exposed by a 'table turning.' This is a version of the Ouija Board, which was enormously popular in the first decades of the 20th century.
Captain Trevelyan, who was rather fond of money, had been prevailed upon to let out his own Sittaford House to a widow and her daughter, apparently just arrived from South Africa. Never married, the Captain had few heirs: one sister and the three children of another, now deceased. It is James Pearson, one of this latter group, who has captured the fair Emily, and finds himself in jail under suspicion of having done in his uncle.
Emily knows better, however, and with the aid and assistance of a live-wire newspaper reporter, Charles Enderby, sets out to prove his innocence. Emily and Charles quite put in me mind of Tommy and Tuppence with their humorous bantering. (Perhaps they were the inspiration for Dame Agatha, as well.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on June 11, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seances were in vogue in the world known to Agatha Christie in the early 1930s. Contemporary novelists and playwrights began to exploit their dramatic potential, and it was in 1931 that Agatha Christie incorporated one into her novel, "The Sittaford Mystery".

This ever-ingenious writer incorporates much else into the novel, of course. There are the "bright young things" of the Tommy and Tuppence variety, who contribute to the sleuthing undertaken by the local constabulary. There is an escaped convict. There is a snow-bound village. There are new residents from New Zealand, whom nobody knows and who may not be what they seem. There is a will, and legacy hunters who might be any of the characters in disguise.

Readers can therefore expect a tightly wrought, engrossing mystery. I was aware while reading it that it had much in common with "Murder at the Vicarage" and then discovered that it was the Christie novel that immediately followed it. Miss Marple is not here, however, nor is Hercule Poirot - both unsuited to trudging through the snow on Dartmoor.
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