At Bertram’s Hotel

By Agatha Christie

Rating: 4 stars

Bertram’s Hotel is an old-fashioned place, full of old fashioned people. Miss Marple takes a holiday down there and is disconcerted to find that even in this most respectable of institutions evil lurks.

Like with The Clocks, I was somewhat disconcerted in this book by the limited presence of the detective whose name is on the spine, in this case Miss Marple. The real hero of the book, who has most of the insights and does the footwork is chief inspector Davy, commonly known as Father. He has the flashes of inspiration, puts in the legwork that goes with them and pieces everything together, with Miss Marple just there to provide some serendipitous clues when required.

The inhabitants of Bertram’s are all intriguing people, from Lady Sedgewick, an adventuress with an estranged daughter who also happens to be staying there, to Cannon Pennyfeather, an absent-minded cleric who forgets what day the conference he’s supposed to be attending is on. These are fun characters even if they are somewhat stereotyped.

The central mystery was strong enough to engage my attention the whole way through, although that may have at least partially been my perpetual inability to spot whodunnit before the Big Reveal.

Book details

ISBN: 9780007716913
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year of publication: 1965

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