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At Bertram’s Hotel

Sunday, January 28, 2018

At Bertram’s Hotel (1966) Agatha Christie

Several years ago when I had the flu I started to re-read the Miss Marple mysteries (which I hadn’t done in a couple decades). I read through all my favorites, then stopped once I felt better. Since I’ve been reading books set in the time of her later mysteries, I decided to go back and pick up where I left off.

This isn’t one of my favorite Miss Marple mysteries, possibly because there is less Miss Marple than usual.

Miss Marple is sent to London for a week’s vacation at Bertram’s Hotel by her nephew and niece.

“It’s a question of atmosphere… Strangers coming to this country (Americans, in particular, because they are the ones who have the money) have their own rather queer ideas of what England is like. I’m not talking, you understand, of the rich business tycoons who are always crossing the Atlantic. They usually go to the Savoy or the Dorchester. They want modern décor, American food, all the things that will make them feel at home. But there are a lot of people who come abroad at rare intervals and who expect this country to be— well, I won’t go back as far as Dickens, but they’ve read Cranford and Henry James, and they don’t want to find this country just the same as their own! So they go back home afterwards and say: ‘There’s a wonderful place in London; Bertram’s Hotel, it’s called. It’s just like stepping back a hundred years. It just is old England! And the people who stay there! People you’d never come across anywhere else. Wonderful old Duchesses. They serve all the old English dishes, there’s a marvellous old-fashioned beefsteak pudding! You’ve never tasted anything like it; and great sirloins of beef and saddles of mutton, and an old-fashioned English tea and a wonderful English breakfast. And of course all the usual things as well. And it’s wonderfully comfortable. And warm. Great log fires.’”

There are strange goings-on at the hotel, and Miss Marple notes the strangeness but can’t quite put her finger on it.

I do love Miss Marple, even if this isn’t one of my favorite books.

It does have some lovely bits.

I learned (what I suppose I really knew already) that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back— that the essence of life is going forward.

Rating: 7/10

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Categories: Historical, Mystery, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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