Book Review: The Man in the Brown Suit
By Shabna Cader Ceylon Today Features
Let’s be honest - there’s times when reading through a novel by Agatha Christie can be quite exhausting. There are always a lot of hidden details and information (that I at most times overlook) and the conversation can also steer towards a very olden yesteryear type of banter.
I’m not sure if this is done on purpose to mislead the reader and is some clever move by the author or if it owes to the creative flow of the time when each of these novels were written. Either way, they are a handful to read and I certainly took my time when it came to The Man in the Brown Suit.
The back story took my curiosity overboard and I lost the ideology of the plot for quite some chapters. First there was tale of a beautiful ballet dancer Nadina, who had a mysterious connection and liaison with a mysterious individual only referred to as ‘The Colonel’. Then there was also the newly orphaned Anne Beddingfeld who is looking for a bit of adventure after having led quite a monotonous life.
Now if you happened to have a curious nature, to what lengths would you go to dig deeper and found out where one things leads to another? Like any other normal human being, I was a bit dumbfounded by why Anne would embark on this journey all by herself and with nearly no money to her name,
but that’s our heroine right there and she’s quite the daring and spunky girl. When she witnesses a man falling onto the live track at the Hyde Park Corner tube station, and notices a man who identifies himself as a doctor, examine the dead man, pronounce him dead and dropping a note on the way, she immediately pounces on the little clue. It reads “17.1 22 Kilmorden Castle”.
I’d like to like to consider our heroine a lucky detective as it was amusing as to how she put two and two together and also followed little breadcrumbs in order to figure out whodunnit. But here’s the thing, the man at the tube station isn’t the only murder. There’s another of a woman at a resident.
How do these murders tie in with a story about a fabulous fortune of diamonds? And how on earth did the story suddenly steer the readers towards Africa? Well, it all ties in, if you pay attention as you read along. I, for one, lost the plot a bunch of times along the way even though I took over a week to read this one.
Anne’s journey is a marvelous tale of sheer bravery and determination. She’s a heroine I’d like to bank on anytime anywhere and under any situation. She escapes being strangled, run off a ledge and killed on multiple occasions and that’s some kind of luck I wish I could have. Tension mounts with every turn of the pages and somehow up to her to unmask ‘The Colonel’ who seems to have eyes and ears just about everywhere.
Let’s not forget the bits of romance randomly thrown in here and there. I wasn’t sure this was a smart decision by the author and the ideology of love is also dated. However, the love interest is certainly a vital piece of the puzzle so I suppose this was an added way of introducing the mysterious and elusive man who becomes the center of Anne’s life and existence. Cheesy for the most part but, oh well.