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.
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1 . really good
Posted April 18, 2010 by Diana , San Diegothis is one of the tightest books written by Agatha. I have read nearly all of them but this one was so well written and fun. Very last minute revelation of the murder. Surprized.
William Morrow Paperbacks
January 07, 2004
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Excerpt from The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
Major Burnaby drew on his gum boots, buttoned his overcoat collar round his neck, took from a shelf near the door a hurricane lantern, and cautiously opened the front door of his little bungalow and peered out.
The scene that met his eyes was typical of the English countryside as depicted on Xmas cards and in old-fashioned melodramas. Everywhere was snow, deep drifts of it -- no mere powdering an inch or two thick. Snow had fallen all over England for the last four days, and up here on the fringe of Dartmoor it had attained a depth of several feet. All over England householders were groaning over burst pipes, and to have a plumber friend (or even a plumber's mate) was the most coveted of all distinctions.
Up here, in the tiny village of Sittaford, at all times remote from the world, and now almost completely cut off, the rigours of winter were a very real problem.
Major Burnaby, however, was a hardy soul. He snorted twice, grunted once, and marched resolutely out into the snow.
His destination was not far away. A few paces along a winding lane, then in at a gate, and so up a drive partially swept clear of snow to a house of some considerable size built of granite.
The door was opened by a neatly clad parlourmaid. The Major was divested of his British Warm, his gum boots and his aged scarf.
A door was flung open and he passed through it into a room which conveyed all the illusion of a transformation scene.
Although it was only half past three the curtains had been drawn, the electric lights were on and a huge fire blazed cheerfully on the hearth. Two women in afternoon frocks rose to greet the staunch old warrior.
'Splendid of you to turn out, Major Burnaby,' said the elder of the two.
'Not at all, Mrs Willett, not at all. Very good of you to ask me.' He shook hands with them both.
'Mr Garfield is coming,' went on Mrs Willett, 'and Mr Duke, and Mr Rycroft said he would come -- but one can hardly expect him at his age in such weather. Really, it is too dreadful. One feels one must do something to keep oneself cheerful. Violet, put another log on the fire.'
The Major rose gallantly to perform this task.
'Allow me, Miss Violet.'
He put the log expertly in the right place and returned once more to the armchair his hostess had indicated. Trying not to appear as though he were doing so, he cast surreptitious glances round the room. Amazing how a couple of women could alter the whole character of a room -- and without doing anything very outstanding that you could put your finger on.
Sittaford House had been built ten years ago by Captain Joseph Trevelyan, R.N., on the occasion of his retirement from the Navy. He was a man of substance, and he had always had a great hankering to live on Dartmoor. He had placed his choice on the tiny hamlet of Sittaford. It was not in a valley like most of the villages and farms, but perched right on the shoulder of the moor under the shadow of Sittaford Beacon. He had purchased a large tract of ground, had built a comfortable house with its own electric light plant and an electric pump to save labour in pumping water. Then, as a speculation, he had built six small bungalows, each in its quarter acre of ground, along the lane.