We’re getting closer to Halloween so I thought I’d share a few Halloween spooky reads!
First up are a couple of books from the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie! Oh, all hail Agatha, I bow before you. I am not worthy.
Forget Cthuthu and Manson cults. I’d run an Agatha Christie cult if I had to run any sort of cult.
I first came across The Pale Horse when I was a kid in the library at the country club. I was just hanging around waiting for my parents to finish with swimming or whatever it is they were doing and I curled up in a chair to read the book. Halfway through it, I had to look up and check that I wasn’t the only person left in the library! I think the eerie cover of The Pale Horse scared me more than anything (the one I came across had a scary picture of said pale horse on the front, not the bat in this particular edition) because now when I read it there wasn’t really anything too spooky in it. Or maybe it was the library at the country club because I remember it being really cold from the air-conditioning and quiet and kind of dimly lit.
The science stuff Agatha wrote about in the book might have seemed realistic back in the 60s, but it wouldn’t fool a kid now. But I did love the idea of the three witches at the Pale Horse inn – Bella was truly spooky and gave me the creeps – and all that business about how the Pale Horse got whispered about as a place that could kill off people from you and the way the protagonist settled the whole business with the lawyer (I won’t say much more about this or it’d be a spoiler). It makes me think of that Neil Gaiman’s short story We Can Get Them For You Wholesale, which is based on a similar idea too.
What more apt book to read at Halloween than Hallowe’en Party? In this book, a child is discovered at the end of a Halloween party drowned in a tub of water for bobbing apples. There seems to be no reason for her death… except that just earlier that day the girl had been overheard by several people claiming very loudly that she once saw a murder committed. What murder was it that she claimed to have seen and who was the killer? The lovable Ariadne Oliver (I am very sorry she went off apples in this book) gets Hercules Poirot onto the investigation right away which leads him on the track of a lot of money (of course), a missing au pair girl and an enchanting garden.
The one thing I came away from Hallowe’en Party with was an odd sense of sweet nostalgia toward the end. I think it’s because of the people involved in this particular investigation – particularly Miranda. And also, for the Agatha aficionados, there is one character in the book which reminds me of another in a different Agatha book – Endless Night. Can you guess who these two characters are?