The majestic abode of Lord Caterham finds itself deep in murder, blackmail, gem heist, Royals in disguise,codes cracking,symbols, thefts ,deceit and home to many unwelcoming subjects and matters of International importance!
Lord Caterham, the simple and noble aristocrat becomes a reluctant host to a party,finds his mansion as a place of murder and deceit. He instantly warms up to the friendship of a complete stranger Anthony Cade. Along with Chief Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard and many other characters Chimneys becomes the grounds of double crossings, murder and blackmails with a sensitive International sitaution.The young,rich widow and dangerously beautiful Virginia Revel assists all situations along with Bundle,Lord Caterham's daughter.Finally the day is saved,but only after a second murder and much much mystery.
Unlike the works of the organised Poirot or the simple ways of the seemingly haphazard Miss Marple, its more like an adventurous rom-com of today's era written earlier.
First edition Cover
Such is the adventure dose and thrill level of the book! Even if you recognize the culprit mid-way, it does not lessen the adrenaline by an ounce! Explosions and flying cars, Revolution of Herzoslovakia, a diamond heist ..... and all this I get from a book of 1925! It is almost a parlour mystery.
The book is pleasant to start with but somewhere just prior to the middle. I correctly guessed the culprit! Too bad! Because from there on, everything they did, every question they asked it was like 'Why are they not working on this thread which was so apparent ?" Here it becomes the 'living' example of skill of writing . That I still enjoyed reading it even if I could see through every trap and confusion Christie was throwing my way, calls for an applause.
That's why I call her a Master story teller.
I like the lead characters for their layered nature and rich (in every sense of the word) personalities.
There is the ruggedly attractive Anthony Cade effusing the adventurous charm and quick brains with sufficient brawn! And the elusive King Victor .. AND There are doubts about the hero himself.....now we trust him, now we don't. It's almost like he loves me , he loves me not. Keeps us on tenterhooks
The beautiful and ravishing Virginia Revel,widow of a former British ambassador to Herzoslovakia. She has charm, intelligence, wit, adventurous heart and yet a simplicity. Too dangerous a combination.
Then the sporty and peppyBundle Brentdestined to be the heroine in a later book! she makes her first appearance here.She later blooms as an amateur detective in 'The Seven Dials Mystery' .She is described here as a 'very charming young Lady' and we can easily perceive her rash driving and the pluck of her persona in the brief conversation she had with Cade.
Another cover which
I liked it
The darling and my favourite character hapless widower Lord Caterham. Repulsively rich and careless ,a simpleton and a private person,he hates politicians,their meetings and is fully dependent on his butler Tredwell and Bundle ,his over-zealous daughter. VERDICT
The book was a pleasant change from Poirot and Miss Marple as the protagonist not only uses her/his grey cells and imagination but is also active.
After reading it, I felt as if I have been through the Chimneys without moving out of my quilt .
The UNEXPECTED :)
Its the unexpected romance I got in the last pages and I am glad of it. Throughout the story, the romance was true to the Christie style, subtle and delicate but with a brawny 'princely' hero and a Taylor-ish heroine, this time its a bit seething royal. Loved it.