What’s In A Name Challenge: Absent in the Spring…

So here we are again, Obstacle Number (insert accurate number here) in the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge: Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (aka Agatha Christie)…

Taken from: the Christie Listie (as a late and rather sneaky replacement)

Category: Six – a book with lost or found (or it’s equivalent) in the title

So it turns out Agatha Christie, cheeky little dame that she is, penned some romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott, and thought we wouldn’t notice.  Well, I didn’t actually, until it was pointed out to me.  But I’m glad I found out because it gave me a bit of scope to widen out the Christie Listie for this challenge.

Absent in the Spring centres on Joan Scudamore, an upstanding citizen and all-round walking moral compass, who finds herself waylaid by a flooded track on her train journey home from looking after her sick grown-up daughter.  During this period of unwanted exile, she reflects on her relationships so far and discovers some not altogether pleasant home truths about herself and the way others see her.  But how will she use this newfound knowledge?  One never knows when Ms Christie is at the pen….

absent in the springThis Book’s Point of Difference:

I must say, I’m not really one to go in for romance novels.  Luckily for me, this novel has absolutely no romance in it at all.  It’s more of a psychological portrait of the main character and in that regard is gripping in a not too demanding way.

Pros:

– I was surprised at how engaging this book actually was.  Despite the fact that most of the book is essentially a one-woman show, the strength of old Joan as a character and her willful denial of the painfully obvious really drives the book along.  Having said that, it’s also the type of book that you can pick up and put down and is light enough to be a great choice for a beach read…although given my aversion to, and lack of experience with, beaches, perhaps you’ll have to make that call yourself

– The style and voice are typical Christie.  By the end of the first page I was comfortable in the knowledge that I was with an old friend and master storyteller

– The ending has a twist.  I wasn’t expecting one, given that this isn’t a mystery story, but there is one nonetheless and I think it really adds to the post-reading, thought-inducing factor of the book

Cons:

– The style and voice are typically Christie. So you may spend the first few chapters (or indeed the whole book, depending on the level of your fandom) expecting someone to be discovered having been horribly murdered.

– There are no Belgians in this one, detective-like or otherwise

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  I will definitely make it a point to read more of “Westmacott’s” back catalogue at some point.

Until next time,

Bruce

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4 thoughts on “What’s In A Name Challenge: Absent in the Spring…

  1. I never knew she published under a different name. I like how you had the voice and style being so typically Christie as both a pro and a con. I’ve not read this book but I can understand how it’d fit in both categories. 🙂

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