Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie

The words “Never before published-the lost classic, unseen for sixty years!” grabbed my attention immediately. How can that be? A tale written by the woman called the Queen of Crime, with 80 crime novels and short story collections and 19 plays to her credit never before published? I was so sure I had read almost all, if not the complete body, of Agatha Christie’s work; of course, it’s hard to be sure since so many of her novels have been re-released under new titles.

There was a reason this story had never been published. What became Greenshore Folly was originally intended as a short story to be printed in a magazine with the proceeds to go to charity. In the end though it became more the length fit for a novella and was judged not right for the magazine. The yarn was set aside, eventually to be developed into a full-length novel titled Deadman’s Folly, and Mrs. Chrisitie wrote a Miss Marple story called Greenshaw’s Folly for the magazine.

I’m so glad she did. This presented me with the opportunity of a fresh read by Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie was my introduction to mystery; the Grand Dame of the suspense novel. I never tired of her novels and stories even though I’d become frustrated and sometimes even felt she wasn’t playing fair when it came to the clues needed to solve the mystery. Never once have I correctly concluded who the culprit was and Greenshore Folly was no different.

I have finally realized though that what led me back to Agatha Christie’s novels wasn’t the challenge of solving the crime. Let’s face it; I’m no Hercule Poirot with his ingenious insights or even his friend, Mrs. Oliver, the murder mystery novelist. What led me back to novel after novel, story after story, was that the novels were set in a gentler time and in what have become exotic locales. (Did I just say ‘a gentler time’? People were killing other people!) The pace was slower, too; there weren’t constant distractions like cell phones, Twitter and video games. There was time and lovely quiet palaces to dally with a cup of tea and let your thoughts ramble.

In Greenshore Folly, Hercule Poirot is invited to attend a garden party taking place at a quiet country estate in the English countryside. The residents of the nearby village are eager to see the grounds, particularly the squire’s ‘folly’, and take part in the games, most notably the mock murder that has been scripted by the famous murder novelist Ariadne Oliver.

It’s a good thing Mrs. Oliver has asked M. Poirot to award the winning prize in the murder hunt. Otherwise we might never learn the fate of Mrs. Stubbs, the lady of the Manor or the unfortunate village teen.

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo – Amish Buggy Hit-And-Run Crime Fiction/Mystery Book Review

“Her Last Breath” is the fifth and newest murder mystery by “New York Times” bestselling author, Linda Castillo, featuring Kate Burkholder, a former Amish woman and thirty-something chief of police of fictional town, Painters Mill, Ohio.

Amish man, Paul Borntrader, is en route home at dusk with his three young children, from a doctor’s visit, when his buggy is T-boned at an estimated eighty miles an hour. Paul, and his children Norah, and Sara, die at the scene. Eight-year-old David is critically injured.

The driver flees, leaving few clues other than an after market, three-quarter-inch L-pin and a side view mirror. Investigators believe the lack of skid marks indicates premeditated murder; and a 1996 Ford F-250 truck is the weapon.

Who wanted Paul Borntrager and his children dead? An Amish deacon, Paul helped excommunicate some of the Order’s members who’d gone astray. Could the Borntrager murders be revenge?

On duty, Kate responds to the emergency call; and realizes Paul is married to Mattie, her former best friend during her Amish youth. Kate painstakingly informs Mattie of her family’s fatal accident. The two haven’t spoken since Kate’s Amish defection at eighteen.

While Kate’s made her share of enemies since leaving her Amish roots to pursue a career in law enforcement, her heritage is an asset when investigating Amish-related crimes, since she’s able to speak their Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.

Kate’s distraught over the Borntrager murders; yet knows she needs to stay stoic and keep her objectivity during the investigation.

She calls John Tomasetti, a regional agent for the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. They’ve worked together on previous Amish-related murders, and their professional relationship transcended to romance.

John recently asked Kate to move in with him, a step she’s hesitant to take. He ups the ante when he purchases an old farmhouse located a half -hour from Painters Mill.

“That’s the thing about relationships; no matter how hard you try to keep things simple, all of those gnarly complexities have a way of seeping into the mix,” Kate says.

Amish teen, Daniel Lapp raped Kate when she was fourteen; and she shot him dead in revenge. Her secret risks exposure and her law enforcement career is in jeopardy, when two kids playing at the old Wilbur Seed Company grain elevator find his remains.

Kate experiences the other side of the law when authorities identify his skeleton and question her about his disappearance, since his last whereabouts place him at her family’s farm seventeen years ago.

During her book tours, Castillo talks about her transition from corporate America to author. She’s graduated from two citizens police academies, visited morgues and Amish country to hone her craft of writing entertaining murder mysteries, juxtapositioning the bucolic life of the Amish with crime.

Castillo complements her narrative with Amish sayings, including, “Wer lauert an der Wand, Heert sie eegni Schand,” which means, “If you listen through the wall, you will hear others recite your faults.”

“Her Last Breath” is another testament to Castillo’s writing talents.

Linda Castillo writes for, Minotuar Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing. Visit their link to discover many talented writers, including Brad Parks and Paul Doiron.

Is Hamlet in Reality a True Crime Story About the Murder of Tycho Brahe?

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is considered one of the greatest plays of all times. We all know the story of the Danish prince whose mother has married the undisclosed murderer of his father, i.e. his uncle who now also has become the new king. However, when most of us see this as the well-established plot of the play, professor Peter Andersen (Universite de Strassbourg) sees it as a sort of allegory over the murder of the famous Danish astronomist, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). This controversial theory was published in his new book, “Kunstvaerket” (: “The Artwork”).

His key to this interpretation is a story from 1603: “Den Hvenske Krønike”. It is about the enmity of the brother of King James I’s wife, Anna, i.e. the Danish king Christian IV (1588-1648) and the astronomist, the murder by proxy by his relative, Erik Brahe, who admitted his crime in a letter, etc., etc.. The reason for the murder is according to Peter Andersen first and foremost the numerous slights by Tycho Brahe against the king’s close friend and advisor, Jon Jakobsen (Also goes by the name of Venusin).

One of the reasons for the king’s personal hatred of Tycho Brahe may have been the rumours that he had had an affair with his mother and that he had murdered his father, the former king. That made the astronomist out to be the king’s natural father and thus robbed him of his legitimacy. According to Peter Andersen, the “Elsinore” of “Hamlet” is not the town of Helsingoer, but the small island of Hven which for many years was the home of Tycho Brahe.

To me this is a rather circumstantial evidence in a crime investigation, but Peter Andersen has assembled a large mass of evidence and is very well read. I think this is a book which shall fall totally or stand tall with time. Many will reject it on sight, so to speak, but only time will tell how it shall fare.