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The Secret of Chimneys Mass Market Paperback – October 14, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


'One of the best of Agatha Christie's early thrillers.' Charles Osborne 'A thick fog of mystery, cross purposes, and romance, which leads up to a most unexpected and highly satisfactory ending.' Times Literary Supplement 'Here's another capital detective story by Miss Christie, which will keep the reader guessing until the very end, not only as to the identity of the arch villain -- the murderer -- but also that of the hero, Anthony Cade.' Literary Review --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

From the Back Cover

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that an errand for a friend would place him at the center of a deadly conspiracy. Drawn into a web of intrigue, he begins to realize that the simple favor has placed him in serious danger.

As events unfold, the combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Sûreté gradually converge on Chimneys, the great country estate that hides an amazing secret. . . .

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312979746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312979744
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on September 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chimneys is the palatial home of the Marquis of Caterham and his charming daughter Eileen, better known as Bundle. His good friend, George Lomax, a high-ranking official in the Foreign Office, arranges a hunting party to be held at Chimneys. The party is actually a cover for diplomatic intrigue. Before the party is too far along, Christie serves up murder, blackmail, romance, mysterious strangers, and a case of mistaken identity. There is also a bit of political information about a fictitious country called Herzoslovakia. This book is often confusing, definitely improbable, but always fun.
I think that anyone who starts with this as their first Agatha Christie will not get a true picture of her work nor will they really see the depth of her genius. However, it is very enjoyable for confirmed Christie lovers.
This book is notable for the introduction of Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard, a man who will appear in several other Christie books including one of her very best, "Towards Zero."
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on January 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This 1925 novel begins in Africa with the chance meeting of two old friends, young men out to see the world. As they catch up with each other they discover that one is working at a job he hates and the other wants to be in two places at once. Since they resemble each other at least superficially one decides to impersonate the other.
When the imposter, Anthony Cade, arrives in England he has two errands to complete for his friend, Jimmy McGrath, the first to deliver a manuscript and the other to return a package of indiscrete letters to a lady. Cade is soon swept up in a tangle of intrigue that leads him to one of England most famous 'Stately Homes' - Chimneys.
At Chimneys all the various threads come together involving state secrets, murder, secret passages, secret societies and romance. All is well in the end setting the stage for the return of Chimneys and its delightful resident family in the SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY.
This is a comic mystery story with many of the characters and much of the plot sounding as much P. G. Wodehouse as Agatha Christie. For those looking for a serious mystery look else where. There is no Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple (although Superintendant Battle makes his first appearance) here but instead a delightful departure from Christie's usual style
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A reader on March 12, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let's be clear: this book is a NOVEL....The Ingram review isn't much better: yes, there's a beautiful woman and a stolen diamond in the story, but she has nothing to do with the theft.
In some ways, this is classic Christie, complete with nefarious goings-on in the grand country home, swarthy-looking foreigners, a beautiful heroine, a manly hero, the mysterious dead body, etc., etc. What raises it above the rest (and makes it one of my favorite Christie books) is that there is an unusual amount of HUMOR in the book, and more than a dollop of romance. And it's clever, altho' the "who-dun-it" is a bit obvious by the end. However, this is one book worth reading for what happens BETWEEN the crime and the revelation of the crook.
For budding Christie fans, you should know that "Chimneys" features some of the same characters found in "The Seven Dials Mystery," including the young Lady Eileen Brent (aka, "Bundle"), her long-suffering father Lord Caterham, the over-earnest George Lomax, and Bill Eversleigh - who marries Bundle at the end of "Seven Dials" but is infatuated elsewhere in this volume. Crime-solving is by the impassive Inspector Battle, another one of Christie's recurring characters.
A delicious read for a rainy week-end or a day at the beach.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JunkyardMessiah on December 22, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS will appeal to those who are bored with the "dead body in the sitting room, which of the dinner party did it?" formula. The stakes are very high, the plot is engrossing, and the end, hard to predict. It's a story told on a vast scale, and it will exact a high demand of focused attention from its audience. Were this to be made into a film, it should be on the scale of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, large, long and opulent. Anthony Cade is a magnetic character; clever and levelheaded in the face of danger. Virginia Revel does not at first seem like a worthy love interest. She babbles on about her figure and shopping, and loves it when men are infatuated with her; it's a major ego boost. She needs to be more than a beautiful young socialite for the reader to want her and Anthony together. Battle is a wonderful detective; so smart that we will trust his every instinct, and the relationship between he and Anthony takes on an intriguing Holmes/Watson aspect. Good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Weiss on December 31, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anthony Cade is a typical good-natured, rather shiftless upper crust British gentleman drifter. He always seems to have enough cash for smokes, a drink or two and a little travel and adventure but he never seems to actually DO anything. When Jimmy McGrath, a buddy in Africa, offers him the opportunity to earn some easy cash by delivering the memoirs of a recently deceased European count to his publisher in London, Cade simply can't resist the opportunity. But his discovery that the papers are far more sinister than a simple set of memoirs leads Cade and his friends into a twisted merry international romp that includes murder, blackmail, international intrigue, romance, mistaken identity and diplomatic shenanigans revolving around an improbable fictional nation called Herzoslovakia.

THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS is classic Agatha Christie on the light hearted side - a twisted mystery with convoluted humour and romance worthy of the best comedic mix-ups and farces ever concocted by Shakespeare in his lighter plays. The characters are magnificently developed British classic stereotypes - Anthony Cade, the manly, inimitable and absolutely unflappable male lead; Virginia Revel, the strong, quite beautiful and clever heroine; George Lomax, the well-meaning but entirely too procedure bound, earnest civil servant; Bill Eversleigh, the rather more hapless British gentleman hopelessly infatuated with a lady who wants only to be his friend; the Marquis of Caterham, the laughably pompous and long-suffering, utterly hidebound British aristocrat who sniffs his way through life wondering what the world is coming to; and, of course, an entire army of swarthy foreigners intent on furthering their nefarious political goals by whatever nasty means are presented.
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