By the Pricking of My Thumbs is one of the books I read for the 1968 Club. It is one of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence novels.
Tommy and Tuppence are a witty and urbane middle-aged couple who used to be involved in some sort of secret service organization. The novel begins with a visit to Tommy’s Aunt Ada at a retirement home, where Tuppence makes the acquaintance of a Mrs. Lancaster. Mrs. Lancaster asks Tuppence if it was her child and talks about a child hidden behind a fireplace.
After Aunt Ada dies a few weeks later, Tuppence asks after Mrs. Lancaster only to learn that she was abruptly removed from the home. Before she left, she gave Aunt Ada a painting of a house that seems familiar to Tuppence, and she uses the excuse of trying to return the painting to find Mrs. Lancaster. For some reason, she fears that the woman is in danger.
Tommy is away at a conference when Tuppence begins trying to track down Mrs. Lancaster. The address left for her at the retirement home is a hotel, which has no record of her. All inquiries seem to dead end, so Tuppence begins looking for the house.
Although Tommy and Tuppence are vibrant, I did not feel that the other characters showed Christie’s usual talent for adroit characterization. Even though they eventually connected, the two strands that the investigation uncovers make the novel overly complicated. I could have done without the crime syndicate angle and thought it was unnecessary to the story. Besides, the other thread was much more chilling. Still, I enjoyed reading this Tommy and Tuppence novel.
Other Books for the 1968 Club
Aside from the reviews I’ve published this week, here’s a list of other books published in 1968 that I previously reviewed:
- The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
- The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
- Below Stairs by Margaret Powell