The Seven Dials Mystery (1929) – Agatha Christie

The Seven Dials Mystery is a delightful romp.It takes us back to Chimneys, reacquaints us with Superintendent Battle, as well as Lady Eileen, better known to her friends as Bundle, as she and her friends get caught up in mystery, murder, romance and adventure.

While Chimneys is occupied by another family, whose renting it for a couple of weeks, a young group of twenty-somethings having a grand old time find one of their number dead one morning, and seven alarm clocks lined up on a shelf. Shortly after that, when Bundle and her family resume their stewardship of Chimneys, Bundle, in one of her driving escapades, comes across a dying man who whispers something about Seven Dials, and a friend of Bundle’s.

Soon the investigation is in full swing as she and her friends, while trading quips and some well-written banter, work to find out what the Seven Dials is, and what their connection is to an attempted theft of a valuable formula.

There are rounds of golf, drives in the country, drinking, gambling, potential love affairs, and happily some very strongly written female characters who are the equal, if not the better of their friends. As the story plays out we are treated to a wonderful, adventure filled escapade, and I truly enjoyed this one.

This is one of those stories that you can see on your mind’s eye as you read it, and it was absolutely delightful. Sunny, funny, and lightning paced, this story completely swept me up, and I loved spending time with Bundle and her friends, even as she finds herself in some trouble, and dangerous situations.

Bundle is a wonderful character, headstrong, adventuresome, sharp-witted, and wonderfully playful in the way the she speaks to her friend, and the relationship she has with her father is incredibly enjoyable, demonstrated by the last few pages of the book which saw me with a huge smile plastered on my face as I read them.

It never ceases to amaze me how clever Christie is in her storytelling, and in her character creation, her laying out of the clues, and the red herrings. As mentioned in previous posts, I never would have gotten half of the dialogue, especially the wit at work behind them, when I was first introduced to her writing back when I was a tween.

Battle is a solid character, but it is Bundle’s story, and she is a wonderful character to follow in her adventures, and while I could dig up Christie’s list of novels and stories to see if she reappears, I think I’ll wait and see. Next time, however, I get to catch up with Tommy and Tuppence in the short story collection, Partners in Crime.

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