Agatha Christie – The Sittaford mystery

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First published in 1931 and in the US under the title The Murder at Hazelmoor, in France under the title Cinq heures vingt-cinq. I got a 1961 Fontana Edition edition.

Silhouette around the table, tense with anticipation, were seated six shadows figures. They were involved in a table turning seance. The table began to rock violently and gradually, began to form the words, CAPTAIN TREVELYAN…DEAD…M U R D E R. Only a few miles away, Captain Trevelyan knew nothing of the strange seance at Sittaford.

Sittaford, south of UK, close to Exeter “The tiny hamlet of Sittaford was not in the valley like most of the villages and farms, but perched right on the shoulder of the moor under the shadow of Sittaford Beacon.

There were still a few people who from choice or necessity like to live right out of the world. The village itself consisted of three picturesque but dilapidated cottages, a forge and a combined post office and sweet shop. The nearest town was Exhampton, six miles away, a steady descent which necessitated the sign, ‘Motorists engage your lowest gear’, so familiar on the Dartmoor roads.”

What about the weather? “What an awful place to live in England is. If it isn’t snowing or raining or blowing it’s misty. And if the sun does shine it’s so cold that you can’t feel your finger and toes.”

The awkward Willet’s, the inspector Narracott : “No, as I say, I don’t believe in houses that are broken into a five o’clock in the afternoon”, and Emily: ”She was a very exceptional kind of woman. She was not strikingly beautiful, but she had a face which was arresting and unusual, a face that having once seen you could not forget. There was about her an atmosphere of common sense, savoir faire, invincible determination and a most tantalizing fascination.”

Emily drive the investigation using her power on men : “It’s so wonderful, she said, using the phrase that in the course of her short life she had found so effectual, to feel that there’s someone on whom one can really rely.”

I red for the very first time Agatha Christie in English. So charming. I will continue so.

Lectori salutem, Patrick

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