Author : Andrew Wilson
Title : A Talent for Murder
Series : Agatha Christie #1
Pages : 416
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : First published April 6, 2017
Agatha Christie, in London to visit her literary agent, is boarding a train, preoccupied with the devastating knowledge that her husband is having an affair. She feels a light touch on her back, causing her to lose her balance, then a sense of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of the incoming train. So begins a terrifying sequence of events—for her rescuer is no guardian angel, rather he is a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative kind.
“You, Mrs. Christie, are going to commit a murder. But, before then, you are going to disappear.”
Writing about murder is a far cry from committing a crime, and Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her expertise and knowledge about the act of murder to kill on his behalf.
I’m fairly new to the world of Agatha Christie, having just read two of her books in recent months. So I wasn’t at all aware of the events this novel is inspired by. In December 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared without a trace. Ten days later, she was found in a hotel in Harrogate but since Agatha has never talked about that period of her life, the mystery surrounding her disappearance still remains today.
Andrew Wilson has taken that premise and delivered a story that not only oozes atmosphere but is also quite dark and disturbing. Because Agatha Christie is being blackmailed do commit a murder. Writing about it is one thing, actually doing the crime is something entirely different. Will Agatha do this heinous act? Or will her wit allow her to find a way out of this most horrendous situation?
While the story is mostly told from Agatha’s point of view, we are also introduced to the detective charged with finding her and Una Crowe, a wanna-be journalist who would love nothing more than to solve this case and find a way to move on from her father’s death. With such a delightful cast of characters and fabulous settings, I quickly found myself completely immersed.
At first I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It seemed rather weird to have a fictional story centred around the great lady of crime herself. But Andrew Wilson really brought her to life, portraying her not just simply as this author of detective stories but as a remarkably intelligent woman whose priority is protecting her family. I adored the little mentions of books she’s written, especially as the “bad guy” seemingly took inspiration from one of her characters. Since I’ve not read that particular book, that bit may have gone over my head a bit but I’m sure that to those of you who have read it, it will add that little something extra. Speaking of the “bad guy”, he is quite possibly the most vile and despicable character I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting.
A Talent for Murder had me hooked from the first page and I found it brilliantly absorbing. I love that the author included the facts at the end of the novel, pages I refused to read before I had finished the story and some things really surprised me. This is the first in a series, with a second instalment due in May, and I must say I can’t wait to get my hands on that one. I thoroughly enjoyed this offering and I’d like to think Mrs Agatha Christie would have done so as well.
A Talent for Murder was first published in 2017. The paperback I read will be published on March 22nd.
My thanks to Jess Barratt and Simon & Schuster for my review copy.