The Sittaford Mystery

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Novel

First published: 1931

Murder
methods:

  • Blow to the Head

Synopsis

The Sittaford Mystery

The Sittaford Mystery

In a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six shadowy figures huddle around a small table for a seance. Tension rises as the spirits spell out a chilling message: ‘Captain Trevelyan… dead… murder.’

Is this black magic or simply a macabre joke? The only way to be certain is to locate Captain Trevelyan. Unfortunately, his home is six miles away and, with snow drifts blocking the roads, someone will have to make the journey on foot.

Never part with information unnecessarily. That's my rule.

Inspector Narracott

More about this story

This is the first novel into which Christie incorporated a supernatural element and she used it to great effect in the wintry Dartmoor setting. There are several Hound of the Baskervilles references with escaped convicts, naturalists and even a reference to Conan Doyle himself. It's also the first novel to be given a different title when it was published in the US. Dodd, Mead's edition The Murder at Hazelmoor predates the Collins Crime Club edition of 7th September. But both editions were preceded by the US Good Housekeeping serialisation in six instalments from March to August with illustrations by W. Smithson Broadhead (who coincidentally had the honour of being the first to illustrate Poirot on a book jacket with his 1926 cover for Bodley Head of Poirot Investigates).

Strongly plotted, and the solution to its puzzles are not likely to be arrived at by deduction on the reader's part.
Charles Osborne

In 2004, the BBC dramatised the story for Radio 4. It was filmed for ITV in 2006 with the addition of Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple and Timothy Dalton as prominent politician Trevelyan who gets stabbed rather than sandbagged. In this adaptation the killer is different from the novel and it also featured an early appearance from rising star Carey Mulligan.

Did you know?

  1. The book is one of four novels that Agatha Christie dedicated to her second husband Max Mallowan.

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