In The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott, Jordan Bingham, with a brand new M.A. in English and a load of debt caused by her ex-boyfriend’s having left her with maxed out credit cards, needs a job in order to save money to study for her PhD. A job listing in the local paper looks ideal, asking for someone with research skills, a knowledge of Latin being a plus. When Jordan shows up for her interview with the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, who doesn’t want to let Jordan in the house upon discovering that Jordan is not a man, she manages to push her way in and convince Vera Van Alst to take her on a trial basis.
Vera, a major book collector, tells Jordan that she has just heard rumors that during the eleven days when Agatha Christie disappeared in 1926, Christie might have written a play previously unproduced, and Vera desperately wants it. To locate this nebulous piece, Jordan will have to rely on her family of loving uncles, who also happen to be crooks, who brought her up, and the hot librarian Lance that Jordan and her best friend Tif have drooled over for years.
But things get suspicious as Jordan discovers not all is as it seems, and then the used book seller, Karen, whom Joan has just consulted, gets seriously attacked and left for dead. And who is the new cop, “Officer Smiley,” who seems to dog Jordan’s footsteps? Though the first person in her family to go straight, Jordan has no more fondness for cops than her uncles.
The Christie Curse lives up to its name of being related to Agatha Christie not just because of the search for a missing manuscript. Jordan, who has not had prior acquaintance with this writer, makes friends with Christie through her works and frequently asks herself what Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple would do. Abbott does a remarkable job of bringing the classic mystery into the 21st century.
In addition, Abbott creates a wide range of creative characters. Besides the recluse employer Vera, we meet Jordan’s lovable rogue uncles who will drop anything to help their adored niece if she has a problem. My favorite character, though, was “the Signora,” the housekeeper/chef of the establishment. She constantly urges everyone around her to eat and makes it her life mission to get food into Vera, who generally has little interest in food.
The book is narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer, who does a good job of portraying all the characters in the book.
I really enjoyed The Christie Curse when it first came out and eagerly awaited the release of its sequels, which to date total a series of five books. The conclusion is dramatic and satisfying, and I loved the book this time, my third or fourth reading. I give the book five stars.
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