Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie

The grand dame of the golden age of mysteries, Christie's characters capture the minds of young readers with each new generation.

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Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie


  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.76 x 6.88 x 4.23
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group; Reprint edition (March 1996)
  • ISBN: 042506803X

    Reader Reviews
    Original, entertaining, intriguing, challenging, August 26, 2002 Reviewer: lornevallen from Singapore This is one of the most original mystery of all times. Agatha Christie treated the readers to not one, not two, but three deaths, each death being a very clever deception! The final outcome is almost guaranteed to please all mystery fans. The fourth deception is the title, which I personally thought seriously failed to convey anything meaningful to the contents. During an air raid in London, World War 2, Poirot happened to overhear a Major Porter musing over a news report he just read. Mr Gordon Cloade, rich old man and once thought to be a confirmed bachelor, had married a young girl Rosaleen shortly before being hit by enemy bombing of London. The widow and her brother were the only people succesfully rescued, the rest of the household staff perished and Gordon Cloade did not awaken though the rescuers dug him out too. Major Porter mused that he had known the first husband of Rosaleen in Africa, a colonial by the name of Robert Underhay. The couple realised that the marriage was a mistake. Pious Roman Catholic Underhay confided in Porter that he might do an "Enoch Arden" (in reference to Alfred Tennyson's poem of the same name), letting the world think he was dead and enabling Rosaleen to move on with her life. Whatever the case, word came to the colonial office that Underhay died in the outbacks and later, Rosaleen had a lightning marriage with rich Gordon Cloade, only to be widowed again shortly. The story moved on to a year after the end of the war and life in Britain was difficult for most people, not the least to other members of the Cloade family. Gordon Cloade was the financial protector who had actively encouraged the other Cloades to venture out on their own, tacitly promising financial backings to pick them up if they fall or to take care of them. The quick succession of his marriage and death meant that all his money went into a trust for his widow instead. Though the Cloades were not parasitic, one by one, they ran into difficulties in post-war Britain, ranging from a housewife whose pre-war investments shrank, to a farmer struggling to make his farm viable, even those in the medical and legal profession had financial problems. They might have come to terms with the apparently simple-minded Rosaleen but for her outrightly hostile brother David Hunter. Things became very interesting when a man arrived in their village claiming to be Enoch Arden. An inn's maid overheard David Hunter being blackmailed with news of Underhay still being alive. Shortly afterwards, Enoch Arden was found murdered. Agatha Christie normally provided readers with one strong highly involved enigmatic girl who was either instrumental in the plot or in providing insights, such as Elinor Carlisle in Sad Cypress, Joanna Burton in The Moving Finger, and Veronica Cray in The Hollow. It was a rare treat in this novel that she had two such female characters: Frances Cloade, wife of Jeremy Cloade the lawyer who was determined to save her husband at all cost and show him that she loved him and had not married because he saved her father before, and Lynn Marchmont, a discharged WREN trying to decide if she still wanted to marry Rowland Cloade the farmer who stayed behind during the war to farm the land, or it was a different person she wanted. Agatha Christie's female characters were always more interesting than her males, their insight, sheer determination and tenacity would quickly dispel the myth of women being the weaker sex. In a true Christie style, readers were given a glimpse that each of branch of the Cloade family had something to hide. In a novel twist, none apparently is what could usually be guessed. This book ranks with one of Christie's must-read, along with Death on the Nile and Murder On The Orient Express.

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