Like many other Agatha Christie novels, The Sittaford Mystery audiobook is set in a small English village with very ordinary-seeming characters. The number of people in the village is so small that everyone knows what everyone else is doing and little changes attract a lot of attention. A new family comes to live at Sittaford House. They are the Willetts, a mother and daughter who have just come back from the colonies in South Africa. They're friendly, almost a bit too friendly, and they invite people over to their house all the time. They're also very rich and spend a lot on housekeeping.
One day, while there's a storm brewing outside, the Willetts invite a number of people over to their home for tea and someone suggests "table-turning," a game in which everyone puts their hands on a table and asks questions of any spirits that may be present. Depending on how much the table rocks, the answers are spelled out. On this particular day, the spirits apparently tell the party that their friend, Captain Trevelyan, the original owner of Sittaford House, who has now gone to live six miles down the road, has been murdered. Of course, no one really believes in spirits and the assumption is that it must have just been someone playing a prank and shoving the table. However, Major Burnaby, a friend of Captain Trevelyan, gets very disturbed at this occurrence and decides to walk over the six miles to Trevelyan's house despite the snow which is really coming down. He arrives to find his friend murdered.
Since Trevelyan was a rich but thrifty man, there are many people with a motive to kill him—his sister, Jennifer Gardner; his two nephews, Jim and Brian Pearson; and his niece, Sylvia Dering. All these people were waiting for Trevelyan's death and Jim was in the neighborhood when the murder occurred. However, Jim's fiancée, Emily, is determined to prove he's innocent and gets together with a reporter covering the crime. Together, they interview everyone in Sittaford, trying to find the real murderer.
Matters get complicated when a convict escapes from a nearby penitentiary, and Brian Pearson, who was supposed to be in Australia, shows up on the scene. It's also uncovered that the Willetts are not who they're pretending to be; they're from Australia and not South Africa as they claim. However, the mystery still remains unsolved until Emily lucks into a pair of boots that were missing and puts two and two together in an ingenious solution to an elegant mystery.
Christie is once again in top form, introducing us to a host of interesting characters and their complicated histories. She has a great knowledge of human nature and the parallels she draws between people are quite illuminating. She can tell how a certain person is going to turn out in life by comparing him/her to someone else, a talent that she endows many of her great detectives with.
Agatha Christie is known as the Queen of Crime and her books have sold over four billion copies, ranking third after Shakespeare and the Bible. She was homeschooled at first and proved to be a precocious young girl who taught herself to read at an early age. Later, she went to finishing schools in France and married Archibald Christie who ended up leaving her for another woman. Her second marriage to archaeologist Max Mallowan was more successful and lasted until her death. Both Christie and Mallowan were knighted for their contributions to their respective fields.
In a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six shadowy figures huddle around a table for a séance. Tension rises as the spirits spell out a chilling message: “Captain Trevelyan … dead … murder.”
Is this black magic or simply a macabre joke? The only way to be certain is to locate Captain Trevelyan. Unfortunately, his home is six miles away and, with snowdrifts blocking the roads, someone will have to make the journey on foot … Download and start listening now!