By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (a Tommy & Tuppence novel)

By the Pricking of My Thumbs: A Tommy and Tuppence MysteryBy the Pricking of My Thumbs. Finished 5-26-15, 4.5/5 stars, mystery, pub. 1968

Tommy and Tuppence series #4 (1-The Secret Adversary)

Unabridged audio read by Alex Jennings. 7 hours.

While visiting Tommy’s Aunt Ada at Sunny Ridge Nursing Home, Tuppence encounters some odd residents including Mrs. Lancaster who mystifies her with talk about “your poor child” and “something behind the fireplace”.

When Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, she leaves Tommy and Tuppence a painting featuring a house, which Tuppence is sure she has seen before. This realization leads her on a dangerous adventure involving a missing tombstone, diamond smuggling and a horrible discovery of what Mrs. Lancaster was talking about.      from Goodreads

I discovered Tommy and Tuppence back in 2011 with their first book, The Secret Adversary, and loved their relationship and adventures.  As much as I feel the need to read a series in order, there are five books and several short stories, this audio called to me from the library bookshelves before my Chicago road trip. It was refreshing to find out that T&T age as their series progresses and instead of 20 year old whippersnappers I found a married couple well into middle age and settled in their life together.

Tommy’s crotchety old aunt dies, but before she does Tuppence meets another woman at the same nursing home who says a few mysterious things that unnerve her. When the lady goes missing, Tuppence sets her mind to finding her to return a painting.  As you might guess, the search leads to dead-end after dead-end until Tuppence is put in harm’s way and Tommy isn’t around.  The plot is convoluted, and full of suspects and possible crimes.  This book is creepy.  Even with the picturesque countryside and small villages, there are dead children and dark characters I wouldn’t want to meet in real life.

Even though Tommy and Tuppence were separated much of the novel I really enjoyed their comfortable relationship and willingness to go off on adventures (well, Tuppence mostly).  I haven’t read a lot of Christie, but I do plan reading the rest of this series.  Loved it.