The Sittaford Mystery (aka The Murder at Hazelmoor) by Agatha Christie (1931)

The village of Sittaford sits on the edge of Dartmoor, and after four days of snow, is virtually cut off from the outside world. Despite this a small group of neighbors gather at Sittaford House for tea, a chat, and some table turning. The game starts off well as the table rocks and spirits rap out dull little messages. It soon takes an unpleasant turn as the spirit spells a message for Major Burnaby indicating that his friend Captain Trevelyan, is dead—murdered. Much concerned, Major Burnaby walks the six miles between Sittaford and Trevelyan’s residence in Exhampton to check on his friend. But his arrival is too late, Trevelyan is dead, and and has been since approximately five-twenty-five—the same time that the spirit rapped out his name.

Maybe good enough for Kate’s next Christie Cover Quiz?

This is one of Christie’s standalone mysteries. And she gives us not one, but three sleuths. Only one of them is official, that being Inspector Narracott, who is given the job of investigating the case. But he soon has some competition from two amateurs. Charles Enderby is a newspaperman who just happens to be on the spot, and knows a scoop when he sees one. And last, there is Emily Trefusis, who is no mere plucky heroine. Emily turns sleuth to prove the innocence of her fiancé James Pearson, the Captain’s rather insipid and none too bright nephew. Emily is intelligent, determined, and through subtle manipulation, praise and occasional tears, able to get any man to do what she wants. She’s also very charming and funny. I found her infinitely more likable than say—Anne Beddingfield, Christie’s heroine in The Man in the Brown Suit. 

Christie took me in with this one. I never suspected the true murderer in the least. I could kick myself, because the clues are right there in front of me! But that’s one of Christie’s strengths—red herrings, in this case several subplots, laid out to keep the reader diverted from the truth for as long as possible. Everyone it seems has something to hide, but what, if anything, has it to do with Captain Trevelyan’s murder?

A diverting mystery, not one of Christie’s best, but a very pleasurable read.

My Judgment –  4/5

Previous Rulings – Brad @ Ah Sweet Mystery, Puzzle Doctor @ In Search of the Classic Mystery Story, Aidan @ Mysteries Ahoy

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza –  2013 Scattergories – #27 Psychic Phenomena 

6 thoughts on “The Sittaford Mystery (aka The Murder at Hazelmoor) by Agatha Christie (1931)

    1. I know! I’m very disappointed in myself 🤣. But it does make up for some of the disappointing reads last month. When I looked back I found that I’d read 22 books in June, and in reality only 6 were duds…but they were such duds that they seemed to overwhelm every other read! On to July!!

      1. Oh 22 reads! I remember the days when I used to manage that many in a month. My personal best was probably something like 26 or 28, pre-blog. Then again I don’t have 22 books on my TBR pile, so maybe my smaller amount of reading is a good idea.

      2. I was surprised myself. But still my TBR pile never seems to get any smaller. Finishing up on my Carr stockpile could provide me reading material for the next month all by it’s self.

  1. Funny coincidence – I just completed this right now. I actually caught onto the solution once the key clue was discovered towards the last portion of the book. It’s really a clever solution, and as I’ll explain in my eventual review, the one downside of the story was that there didn’t seem to be potential for a clever solution. I really liked how everything got tied up in the end.

  2. Pingback: Murder at Hazelmoor (The Sittaford Mystery) – Agatha Christie (1931) – The Green Capsule

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