10 January 2013

Review: DESTINATION UNKNOWN, Agatha Christie

  • Format Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 400 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312981686
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Masterpiece ed edition (October 14, 2010). Originally published 1954.
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046A9MPE
  • source: I bought it
 Synopsis (Amazon)

A young woman with nothing to live for is persuaded to embark on a suicide mission to find a missing scientist…

When a number of leading scientists disappear without trace, concern grows within the international intelligence community. Are they being kidnapped? Blackmailed? Brainwashed?

One woman appears to have the key to the mystery. Unfortunately, Olive Betteron now lies in a hospital bed, dying from injuries sustained in a Moroccan plane crash.

Meanwhile, in a Casablanca hotel room, Hilary Craven prepares to take her own life. But her suicide attempt is about to be interrupted by a man who will offer her an altogether more thrilling way to die…

My Take

Throughout her writing career Agatha Christie showed interest in the darker political forces that she thought challenged the democratic world..

We saw this emerge in the post World War One novels particularly those that featured Tommy and Tuppence.

The spectre of Communism is a common theme from the Russian Revolution onwards and it is obvious that Christie felt the need to raise awareness of what she saw as a threat among her readers.

In DESTINATION UNKNOWN renowned Western scientists have been disappearing, thought kidnapped by  Communist forces.

The setting is  post World War Two and after the establishment of the Iron Curtain. The British secret service is trying to find out what has happened to Tom Betterton, a renowned  nuclear physicist. When his wife of 6 months is killed in an aircaft accident in the Middle East, they seize the opportunity to substitute a young British woman for her. They believe Betterton's wife was on her way to meet up with her missing husband. The substitute, Hilary Craven, is asked to follow the same itinerary and see what eventuates.

And so there follows a rollicking if unlikely thriller where Hilary eventually catches up with the missing husband and a number of other missing scientists.

None of the usual Christie sleuths appear in this novel and there are also some rather predictable romantic elements.

My rating: 4.2

I read this as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge


Irene said...

I don't think I've read this one. I do like Christie's political innuendos.

Ryan said...

I've never read this one, but I know it will be one I enjoy. I tend to like her stand alone books even more than the series ones.


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