My latest Christie and another Not Proper Book of Summer. My excuse is that I found it having mislaid it months ago and started reading it. It was so familiar at first I thought perhaps I’d read it and forgotten it, but no, I think I read the first chapter, the rest was new. New to me, as it was published in 1954. This is another of her forays into spy territory. More entertaining than some, but the woman was no Le Carré. While I don’t think of her mysteries as cozy — though probably most people do — they offer a puzzle, which her thrillerish books don’t. They are vague and unrealistic, frequently featuring a plucky, down on her luck young heroine and a nebulous force of evil that secretly controls everything.
This time our plucky heroine is a redhead named Hilary who’s feeling a bit suicidal after her child died and her husband left her. She has gone to Morocco to feel better and when she doesn’t, she goes out in search of sleeping pills. She is noticed and offered a deal by a British agent — a probably suicidal mission as a more interesting way to end her life. She resembles the wife of a missing scientist, Olive Betterton, who is dying after a plane crash. Hilary takes the deal and becomes Olive Betterton who was on her way to join her husband wherever he’s gone. They expect to find not only Tom Betterton, but dozens of missing scientists from around the world and foil the foul plot, whatever it may be.
Another super-boring cover. It’s got a plane on it, so that’s the category for the Scavenger Hunt. I think I’ve read maybe 4 qualifying books all with lousy covers.
If you enjoy, light, spy fantasies, this might be for you. If you like a good mystery, skip it. There isn’t even really much of a crime until the end. In fact, it’s difficult to see why the whole thing had to be an evil plot to begin with.