So, the 1929 club runs all of this week and is being hosted by Simon at Stuck in a Book and Karen at Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings. As it says on the tin, the chosen year is 1929 and the idea is to read books published during that year, all week, as many as you like. I don't read all that fast, plus I'm having a slow reading month, so I'm not expecting to get through more than one book, maybe two, and I've started with The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie.
So, Lord Caterham has hired out 'Chimneys' for a couple of months. The couple living there temporarily are the Cootes, the husband a self-made, no nonsense, overbearing sort, with pots of money, the wife a good sort but a bit downtrodden. Not quite sure why they had a load of young things staying for the weekend but they did and one of them was brilliant at not getting up in the mornings. The others play a joke by buying eight alarm clocks and setting them up by creeping into his room in the middle of night, so that in the morning the noise of all the clocks going off early will make him leap out of bed in fright. Except that he doesn't because he's dead as a dodo.
Fast forward a few weeks and Lord Caterham and his daughter, 'Bundle', are back in their own home. Bundle is cogitating over the murder of the young man in their house, with her father, who isn't at all interested. She sets out to investigate with the help of a couple of the young things who were staying at Chimneys at the time, Jimmy Thesiger and Bill Eversleigh. Another death brings them to the realisation that this is not some lark but it's serious and deadly. When the police are called in, in the shape of the stolid Superintendent Battle, it's decided that they should pool their resources providing the young people stay safe. But really and truly they have no idea what they've got themselves into.
I think this might now be my favourite Agatha Christie. I think she must've had a field day with this one as, to be honest, it's a bit OTT crazy and so funny. I really did giggle all the way through at some of the things people said to each other and the way in which Christie describes her characters. I thought Bundle's father, Lord Caterham, particularly well-drawn and amusing, especially when he takes up golf. I also love these books she writes where a young woman takes centre stage and heads off into the unknown. They Came to Baghdad springs to mind and The Man in the Brown Suit. Bundle doesn't end up abroad as the two heroines in those books do but she certainly ends up in some very odd places indeed!
The book is also a kind of a country house mystery... twice over really. It's also as much of a thriller come spy yarn as it is a murder mystery, so that was interesting. Stolen codes are involved and foreign spy rings and secret societies and nobody knows who to trust and who not to trust. Keep your wits about you if you're going to read this as there are a lot of characters and you're not always certain who's doing what to whom. There's a decent twist at the end too which I must admit I didn't see coming.
I believe this is a sequel to The Secret of Chimneys, that being the first 'Superintendent Battle' book. I don't think I've read it but maybe seen the TV drama because I have a feeling they turned it into a Poirot or a Miss Marple, but I could be wrong about that. And, in point of fact, book three in this series. Cards on the Table, is, I believe, a Poirot book, so that's not confusing at all! I must certainly go back and read The Secret of Chimneys as I loved Bundle Brent and would love to read more of her adventures.