My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mom has decided to reread Agatha Christie and is handing the books off to me. Both of us read these in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm glad to be rereading them because I was a child/YA back in the day. This book was written the year I was born in the late 60s so it's definitely a late-era book for her. I was surprised to find out it's not even really a mystery. Its more Gothic Suspense. I'd have thought Daphne du Maurier wrote it to be honest.
Mike is a young man with half a vision. He knows that he wants to have a nice house one day but he’s also more of a jack of all trades, unable to settle into any job. By sheer accident, he tells us, he accidentally stumbled across a property sale of ‘Gipsie acres,’ and wants to buy it. He backtracks the story a bit to the meeting with him and Sanotix, a dying architect to the rich who does want to build this dream house for Mike but Mike is from the poor class (he was last driving limos for the wealthy which is where we assume he meets Sanotix). By chance, going up the hill to Gipsie Acres, Mike meets first Mrs. Lee, a gypsy who warns him off the property. It is cursed and always shall be. He also sees a young lady there, Ellie.
Book one is all about the budding romance between Ellie and Mike. Towards the end, she reveals to Mike that she is actually a very wealthy American heiress and has been aided in meeting him by her companion and former au paire, Greta. With Greta’s help, they marry in secret in spite of their division in wealth.
Book two details their marriage and the building of their house. Naturally it is filled with unhappy relatives they’re trying to avoid. Mike doesn’t want Ellie meeting his mother who won’t approve of him marrying above his station. They’re inundated with Ellie’s relatives, lawyers and Greta whom Mike doesn’t want living with them but when Ellie hurts herself, Greta moves in. This book gets a repetitive with all the class struggle stuff, and how many times we have to hear ‘no one will approve’ riff.
Book Three. Someone dies and everything unravels.
I half figured out the end and the rest made sense, even if I didn’t see it coming. Mike is not a tremendously likeable unreliable narrator and Ellie is very flat for a Christie character. This was not one of her best efforts but still enjoyable and coming in under 250 pages, it’s a quick read. I almost miss the old days when books weren’t all 500 pages long and I could read three a week.
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