Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Lord Edgware dies by Agatha Christie

When beautiful actress Jane Wilkinson asks the great detective Hercule Poirot for advice, a reader may expect the usual Agatha Christie repertoire – blackmail, threats, perhaps multiple near-death encounters. The real reason, though, is relatively innocent: divorce from Janees eccentric husband, Lord Edgware. Mysteriously, when Poirot confronts Lord Edgware, he remarks that he has already agreed to the divorce, arousing Poirot’s suspicions regarding the true nature of the request.

Things come to a head when Lord Edgware is found murdered shortly thereafter and all signs point to his estranged wife. While it initially appears to be a cut-and-dry case, Jane is revealed to have an airtight alibi – she was attending a dinner party that same evening, leading the search for suspects to branch out for people who not only wanted Lord Edgware dead, but Lady Edgware hanged too.

As Poirot sets out to prove Jane Wilkinson’s innocence, it becomes immediately clear that suspects abound, considering that everyone who knew Lord Edgware despised him. Among the most prominent people are his daughter Geraldine, who hated him; his nephew Ronald, who Lord Edgware cut off from his inheritance; the talented mimic Carlotta Adams, who is shown to have an interest in the Edgware fortune; and Bryan Martin, a lover-turned-hater of Jane Wilkinson.

Red herrings and suspicious acts abound in this stunning example of Agatha Christie at her finest. Even experienced readers may find themselves unable to determine who really killed Lord Edgware until the final, startling conclusion expertly delivered by the always brilliant Hercule Poirot. 

-Mahak M.

Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie

Linnet Ridgeway has everything she could possibly ever want. She is smart, rich, charming, and beautiful. Her friend Jacqueline comes to her one day with a request; Linnet makes Jacqueline’s fiance Simon Doyle her land agent. He needs a job, and Linnet gives it to him. 

However, she falls in love with him and thinks about how lucky Jacqueline is. In fact, Jacqueline doesn’t have nearly as much as Linnet does. Eventually, Linnet ends up marrying Simon Doyle. Jacquline is mad at Linnet for “stealing” her fiance from her. She decides to follow Linnet and Simon during their honeymoon. 

One morning, during a cruise of tranquility down the Nile, Linnet is found dead in her cabin. Hercule Poirot is on the cruise, and with one of his friends who is also searching for a criminal, they try to discover who committed the crime. However, Simon had been accidentally shot in the leg the night Linnet was killed, so they must get to their destination. A doctor on the ship has done all he can, but Simon must get to a hospital quickly, so the detectives are running out of time to find out who did it. 

I enjoyed reading this book because there were so many plot twists and the ending was so unexpected. I also liked how there was such a variety of characters which helped to develop the story and to make it feel more realistic. The author also gives a lot of details about their backstories. As a result of these small sections about the characters and their lives, the reader has reason to suspect almost everyone. I really liked how there were multiple crimes that I kept trying to solve before the detectives in the book solved the complicated case. Almost nothing is as it seems to be.

This was an amazing book and I really enjoyed reading it. I would recommend you to read this intriguing novel.

-Peri A.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

This novel tells the story of a college student named Lylah. Lylah’s parents died unexpectedly on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Lylah still decided to go to college and had made a great group of friends. One night as Lylah and her friends were getting ready for a party, they hear their doorbell ring. No one was outside but they had left a note. The note said “roses are red, violets are blue, watch your back, I’m coming for you”. They all believe it is a prank and laugh it off. Except the next morning, one of them is missing and a new note arrived saying “your turn”. After discovering their friend dead, Lylah and her friends become terrified that one of them was going to end up dead next.

This novel tells a captivating story and is a quick read. I found myself interested throughout the entire story. You will be frightened for the characters and also just as desperate to figure out who was the killer. The ending is a surprise and is definitely worth reading the entire book. I enjoyed following Lylah’s journey. I definitely suggest reading this novel if you enjoy reading a thriller and would like a book that is not too long.

-Ellie B.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

A confession from a dying woman to a Catholic priest may seem an ordinary occurrence, but when that same priest is struck dead in the fog not a few hours later, found with a list of names hidden in his shoe, a deep conspiracy involving families across the country is unveiled, all revolving around one place: the Pale Horse.

Mark Easterbrook, a young man and author, observes a fight between two young women, only to later discover that one of the opponents died of the flu a mere week later. When Mark later meets with his old friend, the police surgeon, the death becomes less clear when he observes that the woman’s name is on the list. After learning from a friend of the Pale Horse inn, a place that is rumoured to anonymously arrange deaths, a gruesome truth surrounding the list begins to emerge from the darkness.

With the help of fiery redhead Ginger Corrigan, a friend of Mark’s who lives near the Pale Horse, Mark must operate undercover in order to save the lives of possibly hundreds of people whose deaths are meticulously being planned by the most innocent seeming people.

As the clock ticks for Mark and Ginger, Agatha Christie continues to raise the stakes in The Pale Horse, and while it is not one of her more well known mysteries, its exciting plot and unforeseeable plot twist make it one novel that all mystery fans should read. 

-Mahak M.

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

Towards Zero - WikipediaWhat do a failed suicide attempt, a wrongful accusation of theft against a young girl, and the romantic life of a famous tennis player have in common? At first glance, apparently nothing. But dig a little deeper under the surface of Agatha Christie’s Towards Zero, and you’ll find that nothing is as it seems, especially at Gull’s Point.

Superintendent Battle may be in over his head when he takes up the murder case of elderly widow Lady Tressilian, who was killed in her own seaside home at Gull’s Point. While it appears to be an open-and-shut case against her primary beneficiary, the wealthy sportsman Nevile Strange, new evidence comes to light that gives Strange an airtight alibi, leaving Battle with the question: who in the house wants to see Nevile Strange dead?

There is no shortage of suspects, and one thing is clear – nearly everyone in the house has a dislike for Nevile Strange. In the midst of this drama lies the strange nature of Nevile Strange’s love life, who divorced his ex-wife Audrey to be with a new woman, Kay. However, Strange’s true feelings may not lie with the law, and no one ever knows what Mrs. Audrey Strange is thinking…

In this slow-moving chess game of a mystery novel, Towards Zero will change the way you read murder mysteries (and Agatha Christie) forever. This book is recommended to all fans of the Queen of Mystery, or if you’re just looking for a new action/mystery book to occupy yourself with.

-Mahak M. 

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Ever since its infamous publication in 2003, The Da Vinci Code has succeeded largely in two things: become a massive international bestseller and stir up a contentious brew of religious controversy and criticism.

Controversy aside, I have to first applaud Dan Brown’s skill in weaving together an excellent thriller. When I first saw how thick the book was (689 pages; and I usually only exercise that sort of brainpower and patience with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson), I thought that Dan Brown better have a good story to tell.

Let me just say…he rose to the challenge and completely destroyed it.

My previous conceptions on the book were way off. I had this skewed idea that it was a biography of Leonardo da Vinci’s, ah, complex life, but it’s far more intriguing than that. In fact, the whole book is entangled in a complex matrix of enigmatic riddles, secret societies (ooh!), and the constant hit-or-miss run of the two fugitive protagonists, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu.

Langdon is a professor at Harvard–very prestigious, I know–and he studies the meanings of hidden symbols (sign me up for his class, please). He is drawn together to the other main character, Sophie Neveu, who is the granddaughter of a famous curator, Jacques Sauniere, through the mysterious death of Sauniere in the Louvre. Fair warning: this book is pretty intense. It literally starts with the curator’s murder by the hand of a monk under the religious group Opus Dei, but honestly, I don’t mind these intense openings, which makes me sound extremely psychotic. Guys, I promise the book didn’t ruin me.

Anyways, we eventually discover that Sauniere is part of a brotherhood, the Priory of Sion, that is devoted to the preservation of the pagan goddess worship tradition, and believed to be once led by Leonarda da Vinci (see, you knew da Vinci was in the title for a reason!), and that Sauniere is the last living member of the brotherhood. So that means…all their secrets are about to die! How could they!

Yeah, sorry. Jacques Sauniere outplayed us all, the genius man. Through excruciating pain before his death, he creates riddles and drawings around the exhibition, leading Neveu and Langdon on the most epic scavenger hunt I have ever witnessed. Sauniere doesn’t plan on having the secrets of the Priory lost anytime soon, and he trusts Langdon and Neveu to solve his puzzles and discover the truth. To be completely honest, Neveu and Langdon seriously make me question my IQ. I mean, they somehow escape the Louvre, slipping through the grasp of the French police by means of a bar of soap and a garbage truck (read the book to find out; the scene is pure gold, so I can’t elaborate too much >:) ). This might sound sort of cringy, but trust me, you have got to read this book, because you won’t put it down. Ever. How Dan Brown comes up with the puzzles in the story, the whole plot, the creative ways of escaping…it’s beyond me. At this point, I’m convinced that if anyone knows how to evade the FBI and disappear off the face of the planet, it’s Brown.

I’m not really going to go into more detail, because each puzzle just folds into another lead, then another. It’s insane. Now, though, I want to talk about the conflict about this book, which is partially what made it so well-known.

See, the book was banned entirely in countries like Lebanon because it poses some…well, interesting ideas about Christianity. For example, the whole focus of the Priory of Sion is the belief that the Holy Grail is not a cup depicted in da Vinci’s drawing The Last Supper. It’s a woman named Mary Magdalene, who the Priory believes to have married Jesus Christ and bore his child. I go to a religious high school, and yeah, that theory is definitely never brought up. Additionally, the book highly suggests that religious leaders such as the Pope and religious groups such as Opus Dei are surrounded with a dark history of blackmail and altering the true stories of the Bible, simply to make money. As the book says, the Bible isn’t the best book ever written, it was the best book ever sold.

Shots fired.

Brown argues that the book is completely factual, but many opponents of the book aren’t at all interested in listening. And I suppose they have a good reason to; the book does unravel some aspects of religion that Christians and others of faith may find highly offensive. For now, I’m choosing to remain neutral on the issue. I can definitely understand why some would renounce the book, but to me, I would still praise it for its compelling plot-line and lovable characters. If you’re looking for a thriller you can’t put down and will keep you occupied for days to come during quarantine, hit up Leonardo da Vinci, Langdon, Neveu, and the rest of the gang–and just lose yourself in the awesome world Dan Brown has created!

-Katharine L. 😀

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Image result for the da vinci codeWhat does the murder of an elderly curator of the Louvre, Leonardo da Vinci, and a secret society only rumored to exist have in common? That’s what famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon must find out in The Da Vinci Code

On a race against time, Langdon and a talented French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, attempt to unveil the truth behind the Priory of Sion, an ancient secret society that the late curator was involved in – one that is dedicated to protecting a historical secret that has proven to be as enlightening as it is dangerous. 

Blocked by both the Church and the Parisian police, Langdon and Neveu are left isolated and working against everyone they know. Together, the two of them must follow the trail of mystery and murder on a quest to stop a shadowy puppetmaster who appears to anticipate their every move and will stop at nothing to extract the Priory’s secret – not even murder. 

Fast-paced and unforgettable, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is a perfect example of historical intrigue and modern writing that makes this novel a contemporary classic. This book is recommended to all readers or any history buffs who want a new look at an old painting. 

-Mahak M. 

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Sadie by Courtney Summers

This book is not for the faint of heart. It contains very graphic and mature scenes and themes, but nonetheless, it’s a beautiful book. 

Sadie tells the heart-wrenching story of a girl trying to get revenge for her sister’s death. It’s told through her own narration, and through a podcast following her trace. 

As a non-avid reader of mysteries/thrillers, this book was nothing like what I had expected. Although it could be a bit slow at times, what is lacked is made up of impact. This book hits so hard, and it’s important to recognize these types of actions as something that sadly is a part of society today. 

As you learn more about Sadie and what she’s been through, and the stories of the people she meets, you find everything that happens is the absolute worst things imaginable. Society is a gruesome and horrible place, and reading this book gave me biggest reality check I ever could’ve gotten.

The most horrible thing is, that these predicaments are what some people live in, it’s all they know, and that thought repulses me. The idea that people can relate to this piece of work is truly a reflection of the worst parts of society today. 

But all that aside, I highly recommend reading this book. Again, it gave me every sort of feeling imaginable and left me wondering about each and every one of the characters we had the honor of meeting. The podcast format for some chapters is such an ingenious idea and executed so well, I regret that I read the physical copy and not the audiobook. 

Our main character is the strongest and most resilient person I’ve ever read about. She has been through so much in her life, and as the book goes on and on, the situation gets worse and worse. Sadie is such a broken and mistreated character that everything she does, and everything she goes through is remarkable to me.

In short, if you want an impactful read, this is it.

If you’re struggling with anything that Sadie encounters or is going through in this book please reach out for help. You are not alone. 

    National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 

    National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

    National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357

-Asli B. 

Sadie by Courtney Summers is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This novel was one I was assigned as a summer reading assignment which, undoubtedly deterred my interests from the story. It took a lot of psyching myself up to finally delve into the world Marquez had exquisitely painted. But immediately the book was extremely intriguing. The first line of the novel was an eye-catcher stating “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.”

This novel, in the beginning, was confusing. The book was not written in chronological order as suggested but instead jumped around in time. This constant shift through time made it hard to understand a cohesive story during the early stages of reading. However, after a few chapters, the story came together. So as a suggestion, do not let this initial confusion deter you from reading this book.

By the end of the novel, this jumping through time helps create a more intriguing story, creating suspense because the author can choose specific information through different times to give to the reader.

This story is also accurate to the customs of the place in which the story was written. So, it gives an almost realistic feel to a seemingly horrific action. It also allows readers to have some insight into the practices of a different era and different location. This story, stating that the main character was to be killed, then follows the actions which allowed the main character to suffer such a horrific fate. This story ended up being one I extremely enjoyed. I finished the book in a day because I just could not put it down. So, sometimes these books that we are forced to read because of school can actually be enjoyable. It gave me something to do over the summer which was fun.

This book is a nice short read for anyone who is interested in a mystery book. I would suggest it to anybody looking to read something different than the popular books that are being written today. For, this book brings a totally different perspective to the way books can be written.

-Ava G.

Chronicle of Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky: 9780553211757 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Raskolnikov, a poor university student, lived in a small five-story apartment in a poor Petersburg slum. He had been forced to drop out of law school because he could not afford his tuition, and now lived off the money his mother and sister had saved from a tight budget. He hasn’t paid his rent for a long time. Of late the landlady had not only stopped feeding him, but was pressing him very hard for rent. Then he met Marmeladov, a junior civil servant. Marmeladov was driven to despair by unemployment, and his eldest daughter Sofia was forced to become a street prostitute. Raskolnikov did not want to be like Marmeladov, but he wanted to do something to prove that he was a very extraordinary man. The proprietress of the pawnshop, not far from where he lived, was a usurer, merciless. One night, while she was alone, Raskolnikov broke into the house and killed her. Raskolnikov, in a panic, killed the landlady’s half-sister, who was returning.

The next morning he received a summons from the police. He was horrified, but was relieved to learn later that he was chasing after the money he owed. As he was leaving, he overheard the officer talking about last night’s murder and passed out to get the officer’s attention. When he regained consciousness, he went home and was bedridden for several days, before recovering. After the murder, Raskolnikov, unable to get rid of his fear because of the painful conflicts in his heart, felt that he had lost all his original good feelings. This was a punishment of conscience more severe than the punishment of law. He was conscious that he had failed. So he came to Sofia in anguish of heart, and, inspired by Sofia’s religious ideas, told her the truth and the motive of the crime. Persuaded by Sonia, he turned himself in to the police. Sentenced to eight years of hard labor, Raskolnikov traveled to Siberia. Sofia was soon there too. The two met early one morning by the river. They are determined to have faith in God, to suffer all kinds of sufferings in a penitent mood and to gain spiritual rebirth.