Taken at the Flood – Agatha Christie

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There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune:
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries…

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217


It begins with a lot of promise with these opening paragraphs..
” In every club, there is a club bore, the Coronation club was no exception….Major Porter, Late Indian army rustled his newspaper
and cleared his throat, and everyone avoided his eye, but no use…”

Regardless ,he went on….” I see they’ve got the announcement of Gordon Cloade’s death in the Times….married to a young widow, young enough to be his daughter, Mrs Undehay. As a matter of fact I knew her first husband out in India…”
Although no one paid attention to him, Hercule Poirot visiting the club did pay full attention…
This was in the Autumn of 1944 and Hercule Poirot was reminded of these observations by the Major at a later date when hercule poirot was informed that MajorPorter had died in his sleep…

Just weeks after marrying an attractive young widow,an actress, Gordon Cloade is killed in an air-raid on London.He has left no will and his vast fortune passes on to his young wife, Rosaleen…
But five other people have been promised a share in that vast fortune – members of his own family, his brothers, sisters and their children…five people, who desperately need the money.Rosaleen is completely under the thumb of her brother David Hunter and her brother David Hunter advises her to refuse to distribute any of the share of her huge wealth with the other members of Gordon Cloade’s family.
And the Cloades realise that now it can only become theirs if Rosaleen happens to die before them…

There are five people with a strong motive to for murder and a violent murder is indeed committed, but, Rosaleen is not the victim…
The Cloades decide to employ detective Hercule Poirot in order to investigate and dig into Rosaleen’s past ,having heard rumors that Rosaleen’s first husband Robert Underhay, who years ago had mysteriously disappeared while trekking in the African jungle, was still alive…And if that was proved, that he was alive then Rosaleen can no longer have the control over Gordon Cloade’s enormous wealth and property
As Poirot begins to unravel the mystery there are more murders and Poirot gets drawn deep into the mystery ..

My views

I found this book quite interesting and entertaining .But i confess that this is not one of Christie‘s best suspense thrillers, because i made a wild guess at the identity of the murderer by the time i got to the 100th page or thereabouts and i was proved right!!…

At the same time there is no doubt that it makes for very interesting reading with all the regular twists and turns and the village humor and a bit of romance as well…
I particularly liked the way she has developed the complex character of David hunter, with his dark brooding personality and the attraction he has for Lynn Marchmont, Gordon’s niece who along with her mother had been promised a share in Gordon’s wealth. The humorous Aunty Kathy- Katherine Cloade, sister of Gordon Cloade, who claims to have made contact with the spirit world and asks Poirot to help her….

Then there is Rowley, a farmer ,who is completely broke, having counted on his uncle for assistance and a share in his wealth.
Rowley and Lynn are engaged, but one is not able to see much sparks or chemistry between the two- most of Lynn’s feelings lie with the mysterious David. I feel that there was more intimacy between Rosaleen and Rowley, when she visits him at his farm than between him and Lynn.
The elegant but somewhat quiet Jeremy and Frances Cloade, come across as a devoted , perfect couple, standing together to take on the flood of disaster and bancruptcy – one really gets to admire the presence of mind and the calm acceptance of their fate by Frances, who is the stronger of the two.

It is still a good enjoyable mystery recommended for Agatha Christie fans…Poirot in the company of Superintendent Spence solves the crime.
I did not like the ending in this book. It seemed a little tame, and having kind of guessed the identity of the murderer right in the beginning, spoilt some of the fun and excitement for me.

Details of the Book

Paperback: 231 pages
Language: English
List Price: $6.99

Summary: Recommended for all Agatha Christie fans..


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