It’s been a long time since I have posted anything related to Agatha Christie and you lovely readers will be wondering about my ‘Agatha Christie Reading Challenge’. Well! The challenge is on and I have been reading Christie’s books on a regular basis. This is just that I am not finding time to write and publish the reviews of the same. However, here I am with my review of a new Christie book -‘A Pocket Full of Rye’.
‘A Pocket Full of Rye’ by Agatha Christie is one of those books where both the title and a sustainable part of the book refer to a nursery rhyme. The story begins with the death of businessman Rex Fortescue by taxine poisoning. A handful of grains of rye are found in one of the pockets of murdered businessman. Among the suspects are his office and housekeeping staff, his young wife, and his two sons. Situation changes when two more murders pop up suddenly and a ‘routine’ poisoning case soon turns into a veritable muddle of lies and misdirection. Miss. Marple enters into the picture and finds out that these three murders were ‘a case of crime by rhyme’.
As was the case with ‘The Body in the Library’, Miss Marple takes a back seat in this novel too. She doesn’t make much of an appearance until the second half of the book and even then she shows her presence in rare occasions. I don’t know whether it is normal for Agatha Christie books featuring Miss Marple or not. At present, this is my second Miss Marple novel only. I do hope that she would be having a bigger role in rest of the books featuring her. However, other characters of the book are compelling enough to compensate for the lack of Miss Marple. This is especially true for Inspector Neele, a fairly astute detective. For me, he is a loveable character and should have been featured in other mysteries of Christie. While it is Miss Marple who throws light on the real murderer, it is Inspector Neele who does most of the legwork. It was also fun to see Miss Marple through Inspector Neele’s eyes. You get to know Miss Marple because of Inspector Neele.
While most of the readers have rated this book either as ‘three stars’ or ‘four stars’ on Goodreads, this book is certainly a ‘five stars’ for me. I am not saying that this book is equivalent to ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘The Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. These books will always be my all-time favourites and I cannot compare ‘A Pocket Full of Rye’ with these books. However, the book under review has its own charms and I cannot stop myself giving it all ‘five stars’. And, there are obvious reasons for that. First, I really enjoyed the manner in which the plot is unraveled in the book. We have been introduced to the murder very quickly and the investigation starts from the second chapter itself. Second, the way we are introduced to the characters. In a number of Christie novels, characters appear without any proper introduction and this make confusion in readers’ minds, which is not a case in this book. Agatha also made sure that all the characters of this book blend into the main plot, which is really nice. Third, the plot of the story is believable, murders felt real (not at all far-fetched) and, most importantly, you thoroughly enjoy reading this. I was completely drawn into the story from the first sentence itself and finished the book in one sitting. This book was a roller coaster ride for me and entertained me fully. Other things don’t count for me and that’s why all ‘five stars’ to this book.
This book is not just a simple murder mystery. Some of the segments of the book have such a depth that these segments ring uncannily true of reality.
As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed reading this book and you may too. So, lay back at a comfortable chair and start reading.