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Old 05-21-2020, 08:51 AM   #31
JSWolf
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I am quite fascinated that with so few readers here we seem to have covered such a wide spectrum of reactions. When I nominated this I thought there wasn't anything much less harmless I could have nominated, if not a crowd-pleaser then at least something relatively inoffensive.
Sometimes books that are not all that liked can generate some interesting discussion. (°̃ ͜ʖ°̃)

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Old Today, 08:39 PM   #32
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I am curious to see that none of us has yet mentioned the sexism and racism implicit in this book (after having had a good go at Tarzan). The racism is no more than I would expect of the era, but the sexism is interesting...

Such a strong and independent female lead, and yet she falls for (and directly justifies doing so) the stereotypical macho male - one who even threatens ‘I shall carry you away and beat you black and blue!’ It was tongue-in-cheek, sort of, but still made me somewhat uncomfortable to read (especially as Anne was reported as "pleasurably excited" by these declarations of violence). I wonder how much was deliberate satire, and how much was merely a reflection of the times.
gmw, I've been thinking upon these comments. I think there were hints about romance stories in the first few chapters so I wasn't surprised of the type of character that Anne would fall in love with (as if she were a character in those romance stories). I think it was probably a combination of both satire and the times. Ultimately they did seem to make a good match though and her life after marriage seems not stereotypical in gender roles, and she had the possibility of still being a fiery spirit with opportunity for adventures (especially since he was not interested in regaining his identity as an estate gentleman).

Anne was kind of a mixed bag in that she seemed to both belittle herself as a female with throwaway comments but then take charge fearless of the risk to her personal safety. Sir Eustace definitely made many derogatory remarks about women, but then in the next sentence he would admire Anne as an adversary. Of course, I think he saw himself superior to all - male or female.
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Old Today, 08:50 PM   #33
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I have read all of Poirot and most of Miss Marple and I am somewhat shocked that this book came from the same pen. The front half of the novel was much more enjoyable - when Anne was sleuthing and not under the thumb of a rich conspirator and being obsessed with and hoodwinked by men in turn.
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Yes, these days I can see some of the flaws (the over-convoluted plot, the various info-dumps), but I love it nonetheless. It's only Christie's fourth published novel and in this we get to see her humour shine free. Her second novel, The Secret Adversary, has a similar feel, but I never really warmed to Tommy and Tuppence, whereas Anne Beddingfeld was an instant hit with me.

I am wondering if she let the villain go at the end in the hope that she might get to continue with Anne the Adventuress in subsequent books. Only to discover that people, for some unfathomable reason, preferred Poirot. (Don't get me wrong, the Poirot stories are often clever, sometimes fun and almost* always good reading, but - for me - none have the spark of Anne the Adventuress.)
I was reading on Wikipedia that reviews of this book were mixed, and many were expecting another Poirot novel. I also read that some reviewers like the start but not the finish, and it reminded me of astrangerhere's comment. Looking back at the book, the half-way mark is where the story shifts from the boat to land. It also shifts from deduction and a slower-pace to more of the thriller fast-paced style with one outlandish episode after another.

It was originally serialized under the title of Anne the Adventuress. I wonder if that reflected an intent that more Anne books starring her would follow. I like the title The Man in the Brown Suit better since it puts the emphasis on the mystery, and I think it is better for a stand-alone book.
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Old Today, 08:53 PM   #34
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I am quite fascinated that with so few readers here we seem to have covered such a wide spectrum of reactions. When I nominated this I thought there wasn't anything much less harmless I could have nominated, if not a crowd-pleaser then at least something relatively inoffensive.
I enjoyed the book. I rate it in the middle of the 3 fiction books by Christie that I've read. I'm glad we picked it. Thanks for nominating it.
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