The Man in the Brown Suit
by Agatha Christie
5 out of 5 stars
Anne is all alone in the world with no job and no family. She goes to London looking for adventure, and finds it when she encounters the Man in the Brown Suit. A strange man falls to his death in the subway, and Anne is a witness to the mysterious behavior of a passerby who claims to be a doctor and examines the body in the subway station. The man drops a cryptic note, and Anne is determined to unravel the case and find the Man in the Brown Suit. A sea voyage to South Africa reveals a group of passengers who all behave suspiciously, and Anne doesn’t know who to trust; At least, until Anne falls in love with the most mysterious passenger of all.
This book is just as wonderful reading it the second time! This is by far my favorite Agatha Christie novel!
The plot is fascinating with so many twists and turns that you really have to pay attention to keep up. I was completely thrilled with the mystery and the clues! Every little detail set my brain to wondering and analyzing and trying to puzzle it out. It is so tantalizing, and the ending is wonderfully satisfactory with all those loose ends explained and neatly tied up.
I love the striking settings on board the ship and then in South Africa. There were times when I could smell the salt spray of the ocean, or feel the heat of a sweltering afternoon in Rhodesia. The settings just felt so real and immediate!
The writing is stunningly beautiful and funny and suspenseful. There were so many hilarious little scenes and funny lines that had me laughing. And other scenes where I was on the edge of my seat, sure that everybody good was about to be killed. And there were many jubilant scenes of triumph for Anne where I wanted to cheer for her when she discovered some important clue or escaped the bad guys. And then right at the perfect moment, Anne would give some witty little remark that would make me laugh again.
Anne is an enchanting main character. I think I love her so much because she is complex and her personality contradicts itself with a perfect harmony of opposites that work together seamlessly. She can be brave, but she is also sometimes timid. She wants adventure, but not too much of it please. She has very definite opinions and ideas, but she is not really sure of herself. She is stubborn, but willing to be persuaded.
Ooh, I love it when she digs her heels in and refuses to budge! One minute, she will stare them all down until doomsday, and then meekly agree to whatever they like in the next scene. It all depends on the circumstances, and what her objective is, and mostly importantly who she is standing up against. Some people irritate her more than others; That delightful friction between the characters!
Anne is charming in her own sweet way, and the other characters feel her allure and we get to see their reactions to her strong but soft personality. She is wild; She is mild. She is bewitching. I adore her!
I love the insane romance in this book! Anne falls in love with the most unlikely person under the most ridiculous circumstances, and somehow it works. I love their passionate natures and the crazy honest way they would argue with each other. It was beautifully flirtatious in a weirdly quarrelsome way. Completely adorable and yet not cutesy or saccharine. A belligerent romance with lots of snappy dialogue, and running, and shooting guns at the bad guys. Wonderful and wild!
The other characters are wonderfully deep and mysterious. As Anne gets acquainted with the suspects, the reader is just as baffled as she is about who to trust. We get character sketches of such varied personalities, and everyone has a little bit of friction with the others. They are all dancing around each other, playing nice in social settings and having dinner together, but all eyeing each other and looking closely for any odd reactions or signs that they are lying.
The villain, once we find out who he really is, is another wonderfully complex character. It’s almost like he has a split personality, because he can smile and do the most horrific things. I like how Anne analyzes his character, unmasks his true nature, and unravels his evil plans with the help of her real friends.
I think the reason this book is my favorite is because it checks off so many boxes. Mystery, adventure, romance, history; it has a little bit of everything!