The Last Séance: Tales of the Supernatural

Agatha Christie. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-295914-0
The 20 selections in this unremarkable collection of Christie tales with a supernatural angle offer minimal scares. Notwithstanding the subtitle, several are simply baffling mysteries with a rational explanation, as the presence of Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple signals. Those stories, such as the Marple impossible murder puzzle, “The Idol House of Astarte,” in which a man is stabbed to death by an unseen assailant in the presence of a woman garbed as a priestess, are clever but won’t surprise genre veterans. In the Poirot case, “The Dream,” the detective is consulted by an eccentric millionaire who reports recurring dreams of shooting himself at exactly 3:28 a.m., but even Christie fans are unlikely to consider it a classic. Other tales feature uninspired variations on overworked tropes such as haunted houses, werewolves, and a demonic doll. Though Christie’s novels enable her to build suspense by developing multiple explanations for the mysteries they pose, the surprise reveals of these short works are often telegraphed early on. This volume shows why Christie’s reputation is based on her detective fiction, not ghost stories. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/12/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Ebook - 100 pages - 978-0-06-230067-6
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-295915-7
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