Author: Agatha Christie
Summary: At the beginning of the story, a certain Rex Fortescue (a supposedly rich businessman, leader of his own firm) is sipping his tea in his office when he suffers a sudden and very tragic death. After the police examines the body more closely, they found a handful of rye in one of his pockets… and no one knows what it is supposed to mean. After our -witty and reckless- murderer strikes again, Miss Marple comes to the conclusion that – similarly to what we have read in And Then There Were None – they are dealing with a crime by rhyme.
“Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlour,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes;
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.”
The police think Miss Marple’s suggestion that the criminal is following the lines of this rhyme as closely as possible is crazy. But they soon realize that once again, the elderly lady is right.
A Pocket Full of Rye was the third title on my To Be Read list – I finished it relatively quickly despite the fact that I didn’t have too much time to spare.
As I mentioned in my previous review, I’ve been an avid Christie fan for at least 3 years now and I’ve read about 15 of her books, if not more. This book was probably not as good as my three absolute favourites, but I would still recommend it to everyone who is looking for a good read.
One of the things I really liked about this book is that it is not a long-drawn-out story. Unlike the Mystery of the Blue Train, for example, where the introductory chapters took up at least one third of the entire book, this one is pretty straightforward in this respect. What I mean is, you don’t have to wait literally ages until someone dies and this is already a good point. For me, introductory chapters tend to be rather boring so this one was great in this respect. Investigation is already in full swing right after the second chapter or so, keeping us all in suspense and making us guess who might have done it, as Christie’s works tend to make us feel all the time.
However, if you are a Miss Marple fan, I have to disappoint you. Although it is a Marple mystery, most of the investigation process is done by the police. As always, she holds the key to the whole business but she doesn’t get involved until the very end. The ending for me was a great surprise – a very witty and cleverly done business and I suspected someone else all along, I have to admit. (who wasn’t completely innocent either, that’s true)
To sum up, it is a well written work and is hard to put down once the first victim dies. You cannot help being involved in the story and keep investigating with Inspector Neele all along. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.