Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taken at the Flood

Taken at the Flood. Agatha Christie. 1948/1984. Penguin. 256 pages.

In every club there is a club bore. The Coronation Club was no exception; and the fact that an Air Raid was in progress made no difference to normal procedure.

 Set, for the most part, in Warmsley Vale, this Hercule Poirot mystery focuses on a dysfunctional family in crisis: the Cloade family. Gordon Cloade made a lot of promises--promises it turns out he couldn't keep. He promised to provide for many--if not most--of his family. He helped them with their bills. He helped them with their dreams. His family was comfortable accepting his financial assistance. So when Gordon Cloade dies shortly after his marriage, everyone is upset. For his marriage changes everything, his wife will receive everything. His wife, an American widow, is a young beauty named Rosaleen. She's accompanied by her brother, David Hunter. The Cloade family hates them both. Though some family members play friendly--hoping to get a little money from her now and then. But David is always at her side telling her that her husband's family would love to see her dead.

So who's the victim? How does Poirot get involved? Well. A man shows up in town wanting to see David Hunter. He claims that he has proof that Rosaleen's first husband, a Mr. Underhay, is still alive. He wants money, of course, or he threatens to go to the Cloade family who will only be too happy to have this proof. For if Rosaleen's first husband was still alive when she married Gordon, then she wasn't legally his wife, and the family would get the money. This "Enoch Arden" is murdered--and the main suspect is David Hunter! But did he do it?

Lynn, one of the family, is involved in a very unhealthy love triangle in Taken at The Flood. Since returning home from the war, she's been restless. She's engaged to Rowley, but she's finding herself fascinated by the devilish David Hunter. And he's flirting back. Which will she choose? And will her choice prove deadly?

I enjoyed this one. It was exciting and fascinating. The family is a tangled mess, and Poirot has much to untangle before he can find all the pieces he needs to solve this one.

"Rowley. What's Rowley?"
"A better man than you--touch him if you dare," she said lightly.
"I've no doubt he's a better man than me--but I do dare. I'd dare anything for you, Lynn."
She was silent for a moment or two. She said at last.
"What you don't understand is that I love Rowley."
"I wonder."
She said vehemently: "I do, I tell you, I do."
David looked at her searchingly.
"We all see pictures of ourselves--of ourselves as we want to be. You see yourself in love with Rowley, settling down with Rowley, living here contented with Rowley, never wanting to get away. But that's not the real you, is it, Lynn?"
"Oh what is the real me? What's the real you, if it comes to that? What do you want?"
"I'd have said I wanted safety, peace after storm, ease after troubled seas. But I don't know. Sometimes I suspect, Lynn, that both you and I want--trouble." (58)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ladytink_534 said...

I've only read two Poirot but I liked them both. I haven't read that many Agatha Christie either but what I have read I've adored!

Bev Hankins said...

"A few more"?? Lol. Becky, I've got you all updated on the progress site. I'm beginning to think you're going to read as many vintage mysteries as the rest of us put together. You are whizzing through the Agatha Christies!