The Man in the Brown Suit is one of Agatha Christie’s early novels, and it isn’t quite like any of her others. Although it has a mystery of sorts, it’s not really one readers can figure out. Instead, it’s more of a romance/adventure story. The only thing that links it to some of her other novels is the presence of Colonel Race.
Anne Beddingfield has led a boring life, so when her father dies, the first things she wants is adventure. It seems obvious to her that she should go to London. While she is standing at the end of the train platform with another man, he looks up behind her and sees something that makes him back up quickly and fall off the platform in front of the train. When a man claiming to be a doctor checks him, Anne notices that he doesn’t check him correctly and in fact takes something from his pocket. She follows him out of the station and picks up a paper that he drops.
The man had been wearing a brown suit, and when Anne hears that a man in a brown suit is suspected of murdering a woman in a vacant house belonging to Eustace Pedler, she connects the two. She also figures out that the paper indicates an assignation to take place on a ship bound for South Africa, so she buys a passage on the ship.
The novel is written in such a jaunty style that it’s hard to take its dangerous situations seriously, and Anne has a rather primitive idea of a romantic partner (as are the ideas she expresses about men and women), but the novel is entertaining, as Anne falls into one predicament after another. She ends up with proposals from three different men, and although I think she picks the wrong one, Christie has had an exercise in fun.
I read this earlier in the year and thought it was fun. It was a change from her mysteries. The romance was the only part I didn’t like!
I thought she should have picked Colonel Race!
I really must switch away from Poirot and Miss Marple and re-read some of these one-off adventures. I barely remember this one at all and it sounds like a lot of fun!
Some of them have seemed silly, but this one is pretty good.