Such a Sight and a Delight, These Mysteries
(A Book Review of Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie)
Last December 2015’s gray morning and nippy evening weather lend perfectly well for reading crime fiction. For times such as this, Agatha Christie is always my go-to author for mysteries to keep the pulse pumping as well as give the humdrum of the Holidays a bit of excitement.
The story collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, especially its titular central tale, has always intrigued me, mainly because it was the short story from where the famous play The Mousetrap was based on. The said Christie stage play has the distinction of being the longest-running play in the history of the English language since it debuted in 1952. Upon opening the book, I can’t help but wonder, what’s that secret behind its continuing success? What sets it apart among other of Christie’s whodunits? What makes it particularly enduring?
Three Blind Mice begins at the newly opened guest house of Molly and Giles Davis. As the lodgers arrive at Monkswell Manor, and the place cut off by a snow storm, a baffling murder takes place before long, where all the characters have a seeming motive to kill the so-called “blind mice”.
The particular beauty of Christie’s beguiling mysteries is that it’s all too simple at the outset, yet at the same time it’s all too dazzlingly complicated. As with And Then There Were None, the author uses a nursery rhyme as an essential element to frame both the crime and the story. From my past reading of Christie’s books, truly she possess a deft hand in concocting drama and creating characters with subtle nuances. In minutes, the reader can’t help but be involved in the thick of the plot, and set out to suspect the actions of the characters and pin one of them as the probable murderer.
I think the delight of reading Three Blind Mice is in the enjoyment of guessing who the killer is. Mind you, Christie’s narration can be misleading. For all you know, you might have it down pat who the perpetrator is, only to be deceived until the final reveal. I’m glad to say, with the aid of my scheming mind, that I got it right who the suspect is for this story!
There are also other short stories that make up the bulk of this collection featuring some of Christie’s famous sleuths. The four Miss Jane Marple stories are a small-town affairs; they are entertaining little puzzlers, but there’s nothing really impressive about them save The Case of the Caretaker which has a very dark tone and some clever plotting. Of all the short stories, the ones that showcase Hercule Poirot are what I enjoyed the most as we see the dandy detective apply his “little grey cells” in solving these mind-boggling cases. Though this is my first time in encountering Mr Harley Quin, I quite relished The Love Detectives since the said investigator has to set right what might have been his earlier erroneous deduction in the nick of time.
Published by Berkley Books
(Mass Market Paperback , June 1984 Edition)
Read on: December 18 – 21, 2015