About the Book

Title: The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1)
Published: 1925
Series: Superintendent Battle
Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Cover Story: Super Suspicious
BFF Charm: Meh
Talky Talk: Sit Up and Pay Attention
Bonus Factor: Cocktails!
Relationship Status: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Cover Story: Super Suspicious

Yes, that IS a picture of a scantily-clad woman, and a gun, and a diamond, hiding in a brick wall. No, this does NOT have anything much to do with the actual story, but I found it pretty silly and enjoyable nonetheless. Something suspicious is definitely afoot!

The Deal:

Chimneys is a very posh British estate where big international deals go down, and this weekend Lord Caterham has been persuaded into opening the doors for a discussion about what is going to happen about an uprising in the country of Herzoslovakia. Meanwhile, our hero, Anthony Cade, recently back in the country after living the wild life all around the world, has been given a stack of papers, the secret memoirs of the old Prime Minister of Herzoslovakia. When the memoirs get stolen from Cade in London and the theif shows up dead later on, it’s up to Cade to figure out what’s going on. At Chimneys, there is a fear that the international jewel thief King Victor has infiltrated the group (no one knows what he looks like, he is such a chameleon). Cade has to get the manuscript to the publisher, stop King Victor from finding some hidden jewels, and all while he falls head over heels (British-style) for the beautiful Virginia Revel, widow of a former British diplomat. Yikes, there’s a lot going on in this book!

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Of course I LIKED the book, I love all of Agatha Christie’s writings. This one just wasn’t quite doing it fo me though. Our hero, Anthony Cade, is just too smart and too suave, and I wasn’t super-rooting for him at any point, because I knew he was going to come out on top eventually anyway. Even Christie’s twist ending, where we learn more about our protagonist’s past, doesn’t really get me pumped up.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Mrs. Virginia Revel, young beautiful widow of a diplomat, gets more marriage proposals in this book than you can count. But with everyone throwing themselves at her, there’s very little swoon (all that stiff upper lip, no-nonsense, British maleness, I guess). Even when Virginia does fall for out hero, Anthony Cade, they are very blasé about it all. This book is not going to give you the swoon, if that’s what you’re looking for; just be prepared.

Talky Talk: Sit Up and Pay Attention

Maybe this is a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing; I WAS paying attention (as I usually am, don’t get me wrong), but I GUESSED who the jewel thief was! CORRECTLY! This never, ever happens, even after all the murder mystery books I have read in my life. Does this mean maybe I’m getting better at deduction? I actually think no, dear reader, probably this is not Christie’s strongest work. If I could (pretty blatantly, and early on) guess who was our perpetrator, I think that speaks to 1) Christie giving all of her readers the clues (which I believe is a wonderful habit of hers), and 2) maybe this being more of a good story than a great mystery. See if YOU can guess who is King Victor before the end of the book!

Bonus Factor: Cocktails!

As we do around here, I’ll be mixing up a cocktail to go along with our reading. Even our characters in the novel take a break from their hectic weekend of murder to delight in a cocktail, and we should too. In honor of the French jewel thief and the French detective trying to catch him, here’s what you’ll need to make this month’s drink, the classic French 75:

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • Champagne
  • Ice

Yes, we make a lot of simple syrup at once and keep it in a bottle in the fridge. That way, you always have some handy!

Put the lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin with ice in your shaker. Give it a shake until everything is cold, then pour it (sans ice) into your glass. Top off with chilled champagne, and you’ve got yourself a traditional French 75 to enjoy while you read this book!

Relationship Status: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Sorry, book. I like you, and I did like the time we spent together. But I’m going to go hang out with my old flame, Hercule Poirot. He’s just got something that these other boys don’t have.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Secret of Chimneys is available now.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.