The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – Agatha Christie

I don’t think that for a Christmas read you could do better than a title ‘The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding’ especially when it’s followed by the tag line ‘and a selection of Entrée’s’ the fact it is written by Agatha Christie only adds to its appeal and charm. It was also slightly ironic that after cooking a huge, and rather lovely, Christmas dinner the pudding was the problem. More on that some other time as really this is a post about a rather marvellous Christmas read, rather than my shoddy pudding debacle.

I had never heard of the regular event in publishing called the ‘Christmas Christie’ until I read the wonderful ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks’ by John Curran earlier in the year but indeed she did write many. Naturally hankering for some perfect Christmas this book with its fabulous title had to be high up on my list. What could be better than some murder under the mistletoe whilst munching on chocolates and mulled wine?

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is actually a collection of some of Agatha Christie’s short stories. Five of them are tales of Poirot ‘The Mystery of the Spanish Chest’, ‘The Underdog’, ‘Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds’, ‘The Dream’ and the title tale itself. The last one ‘Greenshaw’s Folly’ stars Miss Marple, my favourite Christie character, herself. The title tale is indeed very Christmas filled and is murder meets great theft containing three brilliant plot twists within 60 pages which I think is remarkable. ‘The Mystery of the Spanish Chest’ had be baffled as to how six guests could eat dinner with one of their spouses murdered in a chest in the same room, again so, so clever. ‘The Underdog’ is a very interesting tale of women’s intuition and how having it cannot prove a thing, even if it might (note I say might not it is) be right.

The latter three were interesting clever, highly readable and slightly annoying in one. As though it was very interesting to see Christie use one specific plot device (which I cant say or you wont need to read them and they are charming) and change it so much in three ways I did feel it was a shame to have them be the last three tales as it could have been mixed up more. It did show what a genius of murderous mayhem she could be and how many ways one thing could be reworked; I would have just placed a few different methods in between. It’s a small critique though as I didn’t guess any of the endings in any of these three and they all kept me reading until the small hours of this very Boxing Day. All in all it was a truly delightful classic Christmas Christie collection (loving that alliteration) and I couldn’t have asked for more.

How were all your Christmases, did you all have a delightful day? I do hope so, do report back please with your Xmas tales. I had a marvellous day, bar the Christmas pudding nightmare (don’t ask). Dinner was a delight and I had wonderful presents but oddly only one book, though I do know another has been ordered. Apparently I am a nightmare to book buy for, as if. I mean really that’s so untrue.

Isn’t it interesting that though I love Christmas Day it is actually Boxing Day that’s my favourite since I started hosting Christmas myself? I think because everything is done and we now simply have those delicious parsnip and turkey sandwiches, left over chocolates and wine etc and can all relax from the hype. It is also tradition that we go to the cinema on Boxing Day which I love. Tonight we are off to see a film with a bookish twist that shaped my reading in a rather major way. I shall be discussing it in more detail tomorrow. I wonder if you can guess, its quite elementary my dears…


Filed under Agatha Christie, Harper Collins, Review

14 responses to “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – Agatha Christie

  1. Sorry about the pudding snafoo, Simon, but it sounds like a very lovely Christmas otherwise.

    We had a blizzard here in the midwest — has not happened in decades — and the end result was about 10 inches of snow on the ground and light flurries all day. It was just perfect for me.

    I am sad to say that I have not read any Agatha Christie mysteries to date, but I plan to change that in 2010. I think I should like to start with Miss Marple first.

    Enjoy Boxing Day. While we do not have this as an official holiday in the US, I plan to spend the day relaxing, reading, and imbibing in a glass of wine or two.

    • I am getting over the pudding incident, it was less a recipe disaster (as I couldnt cook one) more a utensil disaster! I am very jealous of your snow, though we have had sunny (yet still cold) days here in London. Its been quite nice.

      You should definately give Agatha Christie a go, she is just so good with plots. You can guess some of the endings but not too often.

      We are very lucky with holidays here as Boxing Day is a holiday but as it fell on a Saturday everyone has monday off hoorah!

  2. At least it was only the pudding and not the turkey … Happy Boxing Day Simon, and enjoy the movie – I haven’t really looked at Wats-on having been coccooned at Holme(s). Sorry about the puns.

  3. It’s interesting to read about Boxing Day. It’s not widely observed in the United States, but I have grown up in Hong Kong, which was a British colony, I always looked forward to Boxing Day! I have never heard of this Agatha Christie but it sounds very timely for the holidays!

    • I had no idea that Boxing Day was such a British thing, I guess I thought it was a custom in most countries, how very interesting. Lucky old us for having the break!

      This Christie collection is perfect for the Christmas season and the inbetween Christmas and New Year season really!

  4. Despite hinting that my wishlist on Amazon would be a terrific place to peek for any book purchase ideas, I too, only received one book for Christmas. We both know there can never be too many books but others in my family seem to disagree. Okay, so perhaps another bookcase would be a tad more practical.

    Enjoy the rest of your holidays and the movie!

    • I think it was a concern that if any books were bought for me I would already have them which I guess is fair enough. With my book buying ban coming up for 2010 I think gift vouchers for books will be arriving in their swarms for my birthday in March.

  5. I just finished writing up my post for tomorrow with all of the books I received and now I’m a bit worried! I may be going on the “Savidge Reads Book Buying Diet” soon — also known as the “my god, you have how many unread books in your house?” remedy. Haha!

    Can’t wait to hear how you like the movie — I’m dying to see it.

    • Oh you will have to have a look at my post today all about my Sherlock thoughts.

      Hahahaha I like the expression ‘the Savidge Reads Book Buying Diet’ I might have to borrow that in the very near future. I will also have to pop to you blog and see the list which I am sure I will be jealous of.

  6. Aww, you got to see Sherlock Holmes? We were literally on our way when my daughter had a little intestinal issue, from all the crap she has eaten, at which point we had to turn home. I’m sure we missed out. My sister bought my husband and I a very cool boxed set of DVDs of movies directed by Andzej Wajda, so we have been watching those, plus we did see The Blind Side. Hey, I want to hear the story behind the pudding debacle!

    • Oh no I hope your daughter is ok and you can maybe go and see it today? I want to go again already!

      The pudding debacle, was mainly down to the fact I misread the packaging and we dont have a microwave as my mother promised us one a Christmas ago… and to boil they take two hours which I so wasnt up for! So we didnt have one, which teachs me a valuable lesson!

  7. We had burnt brandy sauce, but the pudding was fine. I think I finished most of it myself. I was in charge of the mulled wine which was perfect, he he.

    I only realised now that you mention it that I never get books for Christmas. I think my family think I have enough books as it is and feel I need other material goods such as clothes and jewellery (not that I’m complaining.)

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