Witness For the Prosecution

November 3, 2008
The Witness For the Prosecution and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie is a very interesting book. This book is full of descriptive writing and new mysteries every time you turn a page.

It is a 279 page book, with 11 mystery stories within. While each short story has a similar theme of mysterious murders, they are all very different in their own way. For example, The Mystery of the Blue Jar is a story of strange happenings, involving a secret past stretched over a long period of time, whereas The Witness For the Prosecution has a difficult and very interesting murder case, and lasts for only about three days.

The numerous pages of well thought out dialogue, along with many descriptive sections allow the story to flow easily and make them more enjoyable to read. The writing is excellent and gives you an idea of what and how characters are thinking. In the last story of the book, The Second Gong, there are several pages of dialogue. For example, on page 262, the author illustrates a conversation between Barling, Harry Dalehouse, and Poirot.

He (Barling) wiped his brow with a handkerchief, oblivious to the keen interest with which the other was regarding him.

Poirot asks, “And this young lady is--”

Harry responds, “She's Lytcham Roche's adopted daughter. A great disappointment when he and his wife had no children. They adopted Diana Cleeves-she was some kind of cousin. Hubert was devoted to her, simply worshiped her.”

“Doubtless he would dislike the idea of her marrying?” suggested Poirot.

“Not if she married the right person?” Barling concludes.

This piece of dialogue also includes descriptions that really gives the reader an idea of how the characters are thinking; a “know it all,” a detective who pretends to be merely curious, and an oblivious speaker.

The most effective stories in this clearly and very well written book, cleverly mislead the reader into dead ends, then surprise her with a twist ending. Full of mysterious rhetoric, I would give this book a four out of five stars.

Hopefully you will get around to reading this book, because I'm sure once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down for at least a week.

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