For Mysteries & More!

The Christie Caper

Book by Carolyn G. Hart

This book was an adventure for me and has a storied history.

In the Summer of 1991, I attended the ALA (American Library Association) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the authors in attendance happened to be Carolyn G. Hart, who had recently released The Christie Caper, an homage to Agatha Christie. Of course, for me, this was a book I had to get. Getting it signed by the author would be an added bonus!

Unfortunately, the Sisters in Crime booth, where the author signing was hosted, didn’t have copies of the book! The author, however, was very gracious. She signed copies of a book cover handout (a kind of promotional postcard) and mentioned that she had signed copies of The Christie Caper at a bookstore north of downtown Atlanta. Well—continuing my hunt—my Dad and I took the MARTA out to the shopping district and to the bookstore, where—yeah!—I got my very own signed copy.

Now, you might ask, did I enjoy the book for all the trouble it took me to get it? No, because it sat on a bookshelf unread for years. I’m still not sure why I never picked it up to read in all that time. I’m sure I always meant to, but there was something about having the book displayed on the shelf, untouched like a prized possession.

When I made the decision to start up a mystery book discussion group at my local library, I chose The Christie Caper as the inaugural selection. So in September 2004, I read it. And our little group of five shared our thoughts on the book at our first meeting.

The Christe Caper is the seventh in the Death on Demand series, featuring Annie and Max Darling. Annie, proprietor of a mystery book store, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Agatha Christie. The celebration sours when a most hated book critic, Neil Bledsoe, shows up. Two attempts are made on Bledsoe’s life, but it is a would-be author who ends up dead.

Our little mystery book group, in general, loved this book. Most of us were fans of Christie. And throughout The Christie Caper snippets of trivia about the Queen of Crime are offered up along with a description of five fictitious paintings that represent Christie titles. A couple of those were not easy to solve. The murder mystery plot in the book was top notch, too.

As a result, I have read other books by Carolyn G. Hart. I do find that I like the Death on Demand books best; though I have yet to read them all.

So yes, after all that time and effort, The Christie Caper was worth the read.

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Categorised in: Mystery, Reviews

2 Responses

  1. How did the book group feel about reading a book that was mid-series? So many series books require knowledge from the previous books, yet, often the first books have yet to “hit their stride.” I often wonder how to handle this when selecting books for a book club. Just wondering….

    • Most series books should be written with the idea that not everyone has read the previous books. An author never knows just when they may pick up new readers. Most of the time references to past events are a bonus to those readers who have read every book and a “hook” to encourage newer readers to seek out the previous stories. Book clubs can benefit by reading a mix of either the first book in the series or any book after. A lot of times it may depend on the availability of the selected title. When looking at a debut novel consider how it compares to other first books you’ve read and forecast how you think the series will grow. If the book is midstream in the series consider whether the characters continue to develop and evolve or are they more in a rut. Series characters tend to change very slowly over the course of their series.

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