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In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–steali In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–stealing ex and pending grad school loans. Enter the perfect job, a research position that includes room and board, which will allow her to spend her days hunting down rare mysteries for an avid book collector. There’s just one problem: her employer, Vera Van Alst—the most hated citizen of Harrison Falls. Jordan’s first assignment is to track down a rumored Agatha Christie play. It seems easy enough, but Jordan soon finds out that her predecessor was killed while looking for it, and there is still someone out there willing to murder to keep the play out of Vera’s hands. Jordan’s new job is good … but is it worth her life?  


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In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–steali In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–stealing ex and pending grad school loans. Enter the perfect job, a research position that includes room and board, which will allow her to spend her days hunting down rare mysteries for an avid book collector. There’s just one problem: her employer, Vera Van Alst—the most hated citizen of Harrison Falls. Jordan’s first assignment is to track down a rumored Agatha Christie play. It seems easy enough, but Jordan soon finds out that her predecessor was killed while looking for it, and there is still someone out there willing to murder to keep the play out of Vera’s hands. Jordan’s new job is good … but is it worth her life?  

30 review for The Christie Curse

  1. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a job and a new place to live. She has moved back to Harrison Falls and in with her wonderful not so law abiding uncles. Thank to her ex she is deep in debt and the grad school loans are hanging over her head. She answers a blind ad and crosses her fingers. Thrilled to get an interv In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a job and a new place to live. She has moved back to Harrison Falls and in with her wonderful not so law abiding uncles. Thank to her ex she is deep in debt and the grad school loans are hanging over her head. She answers a blind ad and crosses her fingers. Thrilled to get an interview, the job sounds perfect and even includes room and board. Then she meets Vera Van Alst. Not the most friendly person and most of the town hates her, but she has this wonderful library. The job is tracking down a play rumored to have been written by Agatha Christie. Jordan knows she can do this job and convinces Miss Van Alst to give her a try. Then Jordan learns her predecessor was killed while looking for this play. She soon realizes that there is someone out there willing to kill to keep the play out of the hands of her new employer. The job is good but is it worth Jordan’s life? Dollycas’s Thoughts What a wonderful debut! Jordan is a very intriguing protagonist. She is strong, smart, almost fearless and funny too. But the author doesn’t stop there. The reader is treated to rich and real treasures in the supporting cast. There are the nefarious uncles who love Jordan so much and will do anything for her even if it means breaking the law. Vera Van Alst is getting a little less cranky but is definitely set in her ways. Officer Smiley and Detective Zinger are polar opposites in their investigative techniques but one is starting to grow on Jordan a lot more than the other. Librarian Lance would have me at the library 24/7 just mooning over him. My favorite human character definitely is Signora Panetone, Vera’s cook. She is priceless with her “EAT NOW!!” shouts at every delicious sounding meal. I think I gained weight just reading about these fabulous meals. Then there are the felines and the canine. The Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde cat(s) had me in stitches. Walter, the pug, bails Jordan out of a tight situation and melted right into this reader’s hearts. The Van Alst mansion is a character itself more than a setting. The climate controlled library, the back stairway, servants quarters that become Jordan’s garret, and the conservatory. The game clue kept coming to my mind as we traveled through the monstrous house. I can’t wait to explore more in the next book. The mystery is very complex and with all the twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing. I was truly surprised by the ending. An excellent debut. Agatha Christie herself would give it 5 stars!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle L

    After the first four, bubbly and intriguing chapters, something went downhill. Not wildly, but enough to change the book from entertaining to a bit heavy - overwritten, unrelated to Agatha Christie except in the most tangential ways. The biggest sin (!) was the lack of background to justify the killer. In Christie's world, even if the most sidelined character in the book turns out to be the murderer, she's laid the ground work before-hand. There's an Ah-Hah quality to the exposed identity as som After the first four, bubbly and intriguing chapters, something went downhill. Not wildly, but enough to change the book from entertaining to a bit heavy - overwritten, unrelated to Agatha Christie except in the most tangential ways. The biggest sin (!) was the lack of background to justify the killer. In Christie's world, even if the most sidelined character in the book turns out to be the murderer, she's laid the ground work before-hand. There's an Ah-Hah quality to the exposed identity as something back on page 37 drops into place. Here, it's all jumbled into the last few pages. No, no! As to the characters, the heroine Jordan (can we not name heroines with female names ever again?), is a very promising character, if she can learn to stop over-doing her narrative descriptions of her uncles. She doesn't take stupid chances or walk alone into dark forests. The two romantic interests are pretty uninspiring, tho' I expect they're meant to set up a series-long competition for Jordan's heart. She should look further afield. The non-law-abiding uncles are not yet as enjoyable as Jordan's descriptions suggest, and the supposedly sinister ally, the impeccable Italian Sal, of dark resources and black tinted autos, was not chilling. However, Signora Panetone and Miss Van Alst are potentially terrific. As a Christie fan since my teen years, I was so disappointed all the way round after the strong start. I'm not sure if the Sayers book which follows this one will get a look or not.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    An outstanding mystery that is character-driven. The characters are fully developed and become friends. Jordan Kelly who is hired by Vera Van Alst to located rare books. Vera is a wealthy recluse who is disliked by the citizens of Harrison Falls, New York. Her only passion is rare books. Kelly has finished college and a negative happening requires her to find a job. Jorden's uncles, the Kelly brothers are delightful and not all that law abiding. There is Officer Smiley, is he a friend or enemy? An outstanding mystery that is character-driven. The characters are fully developed and become friends. Jordan Kelly who is hired by Vera Van Alst to located rare books. Vera is a wealthy recluse who is disliked by the citizens of Harrison Falls, New York. Her only passion is rare books. Kelly has finished college and a negative happening requires her to find a job. Jorden's uncles, the Kelly brothers are delightful and not all that law abiding. There is Officer Smiley, is he a friend or enemy? The cat that is friendly at times and at other times aggressive. The dog who needs a home that the Kelly brothers adopt. Vera has learned of a play written by Agatha Christie that is unpublished and she wants it at any cost. A previous employee was killed in an accident? Jordan must the missing play in order to keep her plush job. There are enough turns to keep you wondering. Is the manuscript real or is it a fraud? The ending is a surprise. Looking for new information on Agatha, you won't find any. I highly recommend this series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Pretty good cozy with interesting characters especially miz Vera Van Alst, the old lady the whole town seems to hate. I will definitely check out the next in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I don't usually care for cozies but I really enjoyed this one. It features Jordan Kelly...a book researcher and the only one in her family without a criminal background. We meet...but don't love or admire in any way...Vera Van Alst. Vera is known to be rude and overbearing. Perhaps she has reason as an automobile accident has confined her to a wheelchair...or it could be that she is just rude, overbearing and obnoxious. The real ruler of the house is the cat...also not always lovable...but hey.. I don't usually care for cozies but I really enjoyed this one. It features Jordan Kelly...a book researcher and the only one in her family without a criminal background. We meet...but don't love or admire in any way...Vera Van Alst. Vera is known to be rude and overbearing. Perhaps she has reason as an automobile accident has confined her to a wheelchair...or it could be that she is just rude, overbearing and obnoxious. The real ruler of the house is the cat...also not always lovable...but hey...it's a cat. All of the characters are well drawn and colorful. It was just plain entertaining and fun. A great start to this series and I will look for more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    Enjoyable audiobook. A cozy mystery with a good twist.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie and Louis Rigod

    I know this book is a debut novel in a new series entitled "A Book Collector Mystery," but it reads as though the series has been going for years. In other words, it was a page turning, intriguing, and complex mystery novel that won my mystery heart. The premise is that a young woman is hired by a demanding woman to find out whether or not there exists a play written by Agatha Christie during the time of Agatha's disappearance. If the book exists, then our heroine, Jordan Bingham is to acquire th I know this book is a debut novel in a new series entitled "A Book Collector Mystery," but it reads as though the series has been going for years. In other words, it was a page turning, intriguing, and complex mystery novel that won my mystery heart. The premise is that a young woman is hired by a demanding woman to find out whether or not there exists a play written by Agatha Christie during the time of Agatha's disappearance. If the book exists, then our heroine, Jordan Bingham is to acquire the play! For mystery buffs this tale has always intrigued our minds. What did happen that infamous eleven days? Did the mystery queen write anything? These questions and more pepper Jordan's thoughts as she finds herself in a real-life murder mystery. Along the way there are more life-attempts and doubts surface to cause Jordan to become a sleuth in the best style that would have made Agatha proud herself. Move over Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple...there is Jordan Bingham on the case. The characters were complex, modern and yet, fashioned in the style of the Victorian novels of the past. This was a mystery that also can be considered a cozy. Even the cats will have you wondering. There is a treat at the ending for us foodies! Bravo for a debut novel indeed. I did receive this book as a gift from the author. The review is my own and was not asked for but gladly given.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    "Victoria Abbott" is apparently two people, and the book sometimes felt like it was in more than one voice. The mystery was a bit far-fetched and the writing was uneven... sometimes pretty good, sometimes needing an editor. But I greatly enjoyed the characters, the humor, and the setting (upstate New York; more specifically, the heroine gets to live in the garrett of a mouldering mansion--okay, that too may be far-fetched, but I was jealous). I will definitely try the next in the series, and jus "Victoria Abbott" is apparently two people, and the book sometimes felt like it was in more than one voice. The mystery was a bit far-fetched and the writing was uneven... sometimes pretty good, sometimes needing an editor. But I greatly enjoyed the characters, the humor, and the setting (upstate New York; more specifically, the heroine gets to live in the garrett of a mouldering mansion--okay, that too may be far-fetched, but I was jealous). I will definitely try the next in the series, and just hope "the author" puts the next one through the mill at least one more time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    “Lance could be trusted with your life. Librarians are like that.” Update (9/25/2020): I was reading this review to refresh my memory, and I was surprised to find that I remember the main character and her mobster uncles, still. The Christie Curse (2013, Berkley), first in the Book Collector Mystery series by Victoria Abbott, is a standalone cozy mystery set in Harrison Falls, New York. My library had this audiobook available, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was a win! I definitely enjoye “Lance could be trusted with your life. Librarians are like that.” Update (9/25/2020): I was reading this review to refresh my memory, and I was surprised to find that I remember the main character and her mobster uncles, still. The Christie Curse (2013, Berkley), first in the Book Collector Mystery series by Victoria Abbott, is a standalone cozy mystery set in Harrison Falls, New York. My library had this audiobook available, so I thought I'd give it a try. It was a win! I definitely enjoyed it. Rating: 4.5 stars Narration: 5 stars The plot (from the blurb) : "In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? Jordan Bingham needs a new job and a new place to live. . . . Enter the perfect job, a research position that includes room and board, which will allow her to spend her days hunting down rare mysteries for an avid book collector. . . . Jordan’s first assignment is to track down a rumored Agatha Christie play. . ." Historical background from Wikipedia Agatha Christie's disappearance is something that actually happened. Christian elements: One Catholic character makes the sign of the cross when death is mentioned, but I can't remember any other allusions to God. Is it clean/chaste? Yes. Other content issues: The term (view spoiler)[ hell (hide spoiler)] appears every once in a while, typically within the phrase, (view spoiler)["What the hell.. . (hide spoiler)] What I liked: *This was a great mystery - truly cozy! *I loved the variety of characters. It was easy to distinguish between them all. The mobster uncles give Jordan unique knowledge and skills. What I didn’t like: *There are two romantic interests. They weren't the focus of the story at all. I can't help but suppose along with another reviewer that we're in for a series-long quest for Jordan's heart. If I find that to be the case, I will be less likely to continue the series. I quit Joanna Fluke's s series for the never-ending Norm vs. Mike conflict. *I would have liked more information on Christie and her books. Audiobook: Carla Mercer-Meyer does a fantastic job of narrating this story. Truly amazing. *********** The bottom line: This is a great cozy mystery for fans of the genre. I look forward to reading read The Sayers Swindle, which centers around Dorothy Sayers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    5.0 out of 5 stars Packed to the Hilt, July 6, 2013 This review is from: The Christie Curse (A Book Collector Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback) Packed to the Hilt The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott. Jordan Bingham has finished college and planning on grad school ...that is if she can pay off all her debts. While looking for steady work that would hopefully meet her qualifications she finds an interesting one available with room & board. The interesting part of it is the employer wants an Agat 5.0 out of 5 stars Packed to the Hilt, July 6, 2013 This review is from: The Christie Curse (A Book Collector Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback) Packed to the Hilt The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott. Jordan Bingham has finished college and planning on grad school ...that is if she can pay off all her debts. While looking for steady work that would hopefully meet her qualifications she finds an interesting one available with room & board. The interesting part of it is the employer wants an Agatha Christie manuscript found to add to her own extensive collection. Jordan interviews for the position at the Van Alst estate with Vera Van Alst, the most hated woman in Harrison Falls. She's hired and the games' afoot. No sooner does Jordan get started with her assignment than she discovers her predecessor, Alex, died under mysterious circumstances. This book, a first in a new series, is one of the best written mysteries I have ever had the pleasure of reading. At first I was a bit skeptical since the author, I believe, is the daughter of one of my favorite authors. (We all ,as readers & reviewers, know how that goes.) This book, The Christie Curse, proved to be heads and shoulders above the crowd and that includes established cozies as well as newcomers. Professionally written in every aspect with interesting characters (never overwhelming), details every step of the way with a compelling plot. This was not a book to read in one sitting, in my opinion. The pages are packed with adventure, twists and turns as Jordan investigates each new finding along her journey. An A+ cozy with no crude language, no explicit sex and no blood & gore. I highly recommend this wonderful mystery and Jordan Bingham to any lover of cozies and terrific mysteries.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and so when I saw the title and the concept of this book, I instantly knew I had to read it. One thing I will say for this book is that the plot/mystery wasn't half bad. There were a couple plot twists that I did not see coming, though there were others that were very predictable. But the main problem with this book was the quality/style of the writing. It was not good. The author would state the obvious, explain thi I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and so when I saw the title and the concept of this book, I instantly knew I had to read it. One thing I will say for this book is that the plot/mystery wasn't half bad. There were a couple plot twists that I did not see coming, though there were others that were very predictable. But the main problem with this book was the quality/style of the writing. It was not good. The author would state the obvious, explain things that didn't need to be explained. Also she needs a better editor. There was one moment when Miss Marple was misspelled "Miss Maple." I cringed. I mean, clearly it wasn't the worst book ever, because I did at least finish it, and there were certainly good moments, but as a whole I was just really not impressed with the writing style and it's rare for the writing in a book to distract me as much as this did. This was more of a 1.5 stars but I decided to be generous cause I do love Agatha Christie.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The sequel sold me on this series. That is, I haven't read the sequel yet, but it involves Dorothy Sayers and I love Dorothy Sayers. Also I love Dashiell Hammett and that's book five. And of course Agatha Christie...well, she's the Queen. So maybe I got my hopes up a little too high with this one. I expected because the plot name drops my favorites, the actual mystery would contain more mystery. Instead it left me feeling underwhelmed. To the plot's credit, I liked the heroine. I didn't think I The sequel sold me on this series. That is, I haven't read the sequel yet, but it involves Dorothy Sayers and I love Dorothy Sayers. Also I love Dashiell Hammett and that's book five. And of course Agatha Christie...well, she's the Queen. So maybe I got my hopes up a little too high with this one. I expected because the plot name drops my favorites, the actual mystery would contain more mystery. Instead it left me feeling underwhelmed. To the plot's credit, I liked the heroine. I didn't think I would at first. She takes a job and then admits to reading more Janet Evanovich than Agatha Christie. That immediately put my hackles up, but she quickly overcomes this admission by proving herself generally intelligent and a true bookworm. Her quirky and confusing family and her fashion needed more development, but that might just be the audio book format confusing me. (By the end I only half bothered to keep track of all the male characters.) I can't say whether the murderer was obvious since I accidentally started the audio book at the end and learned who the villain was...but it felt obvious. Finally, the book suffers from a heroine whose main method of solving crime involves randomly accusing people who obviously didn't do it. (view spoiler)[ Obviously it isn't her employer, otherwise, no more series. And even more obviously, it isn't the hot detective, because I'm pretty sure it is written in stone somewhere that Hot Detectives are for Romance and never for Murder. Duh. (hide spoiler)] A cute cozy mystery, though, and as much as I found it slow by the end, I'll definitely get the sequel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cat Tutt

    Though still a cozy, this book was a bit of a departure from the norm. Jordan's uncles being criminals, and Jordan working with another criminal to get information, was definitely more shades of grey than normal. Still, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. The uncles were actually my favorite characters. The storyline was well done and I most certainly did not see the big twist at the end. I was shocked. The involved character was quite an actor! All in all, I would recommend this book to any one th Though still a cozy, this book was a bit of a departure from the norm. Jordan's uncles being criminals, and Jordan working with another criminal to get information, was definitely more shades of grey than normal. Still, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. The uncles were actually my favorite characters. The storyline was well done and I most certainly did not see the big twist at the end. I was shocked. The involved character was quite an actor! All in all, I would recommend this book to any one that's an Agatha Christie fan, for sure. Though I think any cozy lover would enjoy it. *4 Stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    3.5 Everyone needs a kooky (think Stephanie Plum) mystery featuring a zany cast of characters led by a slightly ditzy but well-meaning amateur detective. It’s a great palette cleanser between weightier books. Old mansion, supercilious employer, crazy Uncles with questionable business practices, psychotic cats and a few trusty friends can all be found in Harrison Falls. Despite a few cliches and one or two plot holes, I enjoyed the silly show and look forward to reading others in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    C.

    Mom & Daughter, Mary Jane & Victoria Maffini have unexpectedly become my favourite authors! Discovering they are Canadian is heartening. The elderly Howard Engel, Eric Wright and late Lyn Hamilton, Charlotte MacLeod needn’t occupy the “awesome Canadian mystery” seat alone. I love every sentence by ‘Victoria Abbott’! How shall I describe what makes it a winner? It’s noticeably, uncannily balanced. We barge right into the point of the book: Jordan Kelly is an antique book-related graduate, knockin Mom & Daughter, Mary Jane & Victoria Maffini have unexpectedly become my favourite authors! Discovering they are Canadian is heartening. The elderly Howard Engel, Eric Wright and late Lyn Hamilton, Charlotte MacLeod needn’t occupy the “awesome Canadian mystery” seat alone. I love every sentence by ‘Victoria Abbott’! How shall I describe what makes it a winner? It’s noticeably, uncannily balanced. We barge right into the point of the book: Jordan Kelly is an antique book-related graduate, knocking on the door of a live-in job. We lose no time meeting the terse dowager, her memorable staff, and Jordan’s ostentatious, unkempt environs. We quickly know her too. She’s as uncertain and nervous as anyone else but intelligent, possesses self-worth, and calculates how to handle the dowager. What astonishes me about the swiftly-advancing flow, is the most colourful fusion I’ve ever seen with thorough and intimately original details! We know Jordan was raised by a clan of light-fingered Uncles but we simultaneously know theirs isn’t crime that would harm any individual. They are loyal, likeable, and Jordan’s absurd training in things like lock-picking and avoiding fingerprints at an interrogation... enhance intrigue and delight. I savour hilarious remarks, like the hospital-guarding Uncles accustomed to killing hours of time; for reasons we mustn’t ask! The tie-in to a literary artifact legend is what drew me at first. The mystery is armed with tricks and exceptionally well developed, like every other aspect. However it’s those other, familiarizing aspects that make me an eager fan. You sense there’s more to discover and crave all of it upon turning every page. The elderly chef urging “Eat!” and Jordan’s jocular replies connect me with them. Even the deceased boy’s sad, determined, dignified parents are emotionally made into real people. Victoria & Mary Jane are genuinely gifted, high quality authors.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Jordan Bingham is in need of a job--she owes money on grad school loans and on a credit card that a good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend maxed out before she knew what was happening. She'd like a job that fits with her interests, but who wants a literary woman with a specialty in languages? Vera Van Alst--the most hated woman in Harrison Falls...that's who. Vera is a rabid book/manuscript collector and she has advertised for an assistant to help her track down a rumored long-lost play by Agatha Christi Jordan Bingham is in need of a job--she owes money on grad school loans and on a credit card that a good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend maxed out before she knew what was happening. She'd like a job that fits with her interests, but who wants a literary woman with a specialty in languages? Vera Van Alst--the most hated woman in Harrison Falls...that's who. Vera is a rabid book/manuscript collector and she has advertised for an assistant to help her track down a rumored long-lost play by Agatha Christie. A play that's never been produced or published and supposedly written while Dame Agatha went missing for eleven days in 1926. Vera had an assistant, but he, most annoyingly, got run over by a subway before he could track the manuscript down. Jordan is desperate for a job and decides that she'll try and run the gauntlet of Vera's irritable ways. Because, other than her employer's personality, everything seems perfect--getting paid to do research? Awesome. Hobnobbing with rare books people? Cool. Living in a fantastic little attic apartment? Sweet. Finding out your predecessor was probably murdered? Now wait a minute....Before she knows it, Jordan isn't just looking for the missing Christie. She's also trying to figure out who killed Alexander Fine before whoever they are decides Jordan Bingham needs bumping off as well. The Christie Curse is definitely a cozy mystery. The only death takes place off-stage (well before we come along) and the attempted second is very light on violence. We also have the amateur sleuth getting herself into trouble with both the bad guys and the police while she tries to make sense of the clues left for her. The plot is a little murky at times (I'm wondering just how X got involved in the first place, for one), but this type of mystery isn't meant to be intricate and in need of high-voltage brain power. It's just a lot of fun to read. Jordan is a very likable protagonist--I immediately had a fondness for her from my work with graduate students in real life. And I loved the way she handled her difficult employer. Their interactions made for for some highly enjoyable moments, as did her life with her disreputable uncles. Overall, a fun, light mystery with an interesting tie-in for Christie fans. The next one has connections to Dorothy L. Sayers and I'll be interested to see how that plays out. ★★★ and a half. [rounded up here] First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting portions of review. Thanks.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I have admittedly been on a Cozy Mystery reading jag. I borrowed this one from the library because it was the first in the Book Collector Mystery Series. What could be better than a book about book collections? Jordan Bingham, returns to her upstate New York hometown of Harrison Falls, looking for a job to help with the expense of her graduate studies in English. She wants to stop living off the "charity" of her uncles who raised her after the death of her mother. So when she parlays her experien I have admittedly been on a Cozy Mystery reading jag. I borrowed this one from the library because it was the first in the Book Collector Mystery Series. What could be better than a book about book collections? Jordan Bingham, returns to her upstate New York hometown of Harrison Falls, looking for a job to help with the expense of her graduate studies in English. She wants to stop living off the "charity" of her uncles who raised her after the death of her mother. So when she parlays her experience handling rare manuscripts and her love of books into a job with Vera Van Alst, the sole survivor of the illustrious family, she will do all that she can to keep her job. Ms. Van Alst is searching for the rumored Agatha Christie manuscript, a play that she supposedly wrote during her 11-day disappearance in 1926. It is Jordan's job to track it down. Jordan's predecessor died in a freak accident while in NYC tracking down the manuscript. The more Jordan learns, the more it seems it wasn't an accident at all. I was delighted to learn that this book was set in New York and that it even mentioned Ithaca College on multiple occasions. I did find myself trying to make sure that the upstate region was in fact "upstate". The location of Harrison Falls NY seems a little suspect when it refers to going "up to Albany" but I don't hold that against it. I was really entertained by the story and the large cast of characters. It was a great introduction to a series. I didn't find myself solving the mystery in the first few chapters either. I would recommend this book to all of those mystery lovers in my circle.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Couldn’t decide between two stars and three but I decided on three, for effort. I enjoy books about books and collectors and luckily, as I am not fond of them, this tale had too many spunky young Yankee characters to qualify as a “cosy mystery”, although the inclusion of recipes at the end nearly sunk it. Later ... nah, two stars. The “round” Italian signora always beseeching householders to “eat, eat, eat” is just too corny (and stereotyped). Author’s name is a pseudonym for mother/ daughter Maf Couldn’t decide between two stars and three but I decided on three, for effort. I enjoy books about books and collectors and luckily, as I am not fond of them, this tale had too many spunky young Yankee characters to qualify as a “cosy mystery”, although the inclusion of recipes at the end nearly sunk it. Later ... nah, two stars. The “round” Italian signora always beseeching householders to “eat, eat, eat” is just too corny (and stereotyped). Author’s name is a pseudonym for mother/ daughter Maffini.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This book was great! I loved everything about it. Jordan was great and had a different feel to her with having criminals as uncles. That's a first for me with a cozy series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    Agatha Christie has been my favorite author since I first read The Mysterious Affair at Styles when I was 9 years old. I love all things Agatha. Not only did she write mysteries set in exotic places, but her life was also very interesting to me. She even had her own mysterious incident. In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared, making headlines around the world. She was discovered at a hotel 11 days later, registered under the name of her husband's mistress. In the 90 years since, many theories abou Agatha Christie has been my favorite author since I first read The Mysterious Affair at Styles when I was 9 years old. I love all things Agatha. Not only did she write mysteries set in exotic places, but her life was also very interesting to me. She even had her own mysterious incident. In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared, making headlines around the world. She was discovered at a hotel 11 days later, registered under the name of her husband's mistress. In the 90 years since, many theories about her disappearance have circulated -- she was trying to frame her husband for her murder, she was in a fugue state and didn't know what was going on, she just wanted to get away from her philandering husband for a few days and figure out what to do with her life, etc. In the end, only Agatha knew exactly what happened and she never spoke about it. She divorced the unfaithful rat in 1928 and re-married two years later, having a delightful life with her new husband, Max Mallowan, a British Archaeologist. The Christie Curse is a cozy mystery about the hunt for an unpublished play by Christie supposedly written during the 11 days she was missing in 1926. Jordan Bingham, after a bad break-up, is looking for a job and a place to live. She is hired by Vera Van Alst, a wealthy rare book collector, to research and locate the mysterious unpublished Christie manuscript. Free room and board at the Van Alst mansion should make this the perfect job, but Jordan soon discovers there's a lot more to it than that. Her new, high-brow job is complicated by local hatred for the Van Alst family, a smiling cop who turns up wherever Jordan goes, the suspicious death of several people connected to the manuscript, and a shadowy, underworld figure known only as Merlin. The missing manuscript soon becomes a deeper and much more dangerous mystery than the 11-day disappearance of the author. I loved this book! The main character is a strong, independent woman. She has three uncles who have connections in criminal circles, and who taught her life skills like lock picking and how to shake off cops who are following you. The story was a perfect mix of humor and serious tone. The mystery had plenty of suspects, twists and turns and excitement to keep me interested from beginning to end. Plus, I love old books. The thought of hunting down a previously unknown Christie manuscript had me completely intrigued. The Christie Curse is the first book in the Book Collector Mystery series. There are 4 books in the series, with a fifth scheduled for publication in October 2016. Victoria Abbott is a pseudonym used by Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini. Mary Jane Maffini is the author of several mystery series, including the Camilla MacPhee Mystery books. Learn more about the authors and the Book Collector Series at their website, http://www.victoria-abbott.com/

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I'm in a bit of a conundrum about how to review this book. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and there definitely were things I liked. There were also things that didn't work for me. In the "like" column, the pace of the book was great. Fast-moving, with lots of action and excitement. The story arc really encourages the reader to keep going, with gentle cliff-hangers at lots of chapter ends. I also liked the humour that the author laced the entire book with. I won't give specifics, to avoid anything I'm in a bit of a conundrum about how to review this book. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and there definitely were things I liked. There were also things that didn't work for me. In the "like" column, the pace of the book was great. Fast-moving, with lots of action and excitement. The story arc really encourages the reader to keep going, with gentle cliff-hangers at lots of chapter ends. I also liked the humour that the author laced the entire book with. I won't give specifics, to avoid anything that could be perceived as a spoiler, but suffice it to say that the story has it's tongue firmly in its cheek all the way through and the humour included in both the story and the characters' personalities really added to my enjoyment of the book. The supporting characters too I found entertaining. Pretty much all of them are "characters" and they all have unique little quirks that made them fun to get to know. Senora Pannetonne in particular made me laugh every time she entered the story, and she offered comic relief when the story got a bit more serious [Note: I listened to this in audiobook format, and the narrator's skill with voices, intonation and accent really added to my enjoyment - she did a great job of making the characters come to life for me]. I had a bit more trouble connecting to the main character Jordan. There were points where I really liked her, and agreed with the choices she made and the things she did. There were other points in the story where she came across as whiny or just not "getting it" and at those times she irritated me. Some of that I can put down to the backstory the author has written for Jordan, i.e. her family and the upbringing she had. But her attitude irked me at points. I would read another in this series and look forward to seeing where things go.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Brilliant! Everything that is good about a cozy and then some. Excellent pacing, captivating characters, some eccentric critters and a plucky heroine who uses her brain! Love, love, love that she comes from a not-so-law-abiding family. Her uncles are hysterical and her connections with the 'underworld' offer her some unique opportunities. Abbott kept me in a flummoxed state for most of the read. I just couldn't figure the mystery out. I'd get all excited about my brilliant armchair sleuthing onl Brilliant! Everything that is good about a cozy and then some. Excellent pacing, captivating characters, some eccentric critters and a plucky heroine who uses her brain! Love, love, love that she comes from a not-so-law-abiding family. Her uncles are hysterical and her connections with the 'underworld' offer her some unique opportunities. Abbott kept me in a flummoxed state for most of the read. I just couldn't figure the mystery out. I'd get all excited about my brilliant armchair sleuthing only to have my 'logic' dashed, leaving me scrambling for another theory. I didn't solve it all...though I did get one connecting piece which I worked hard for! lol Such a fun read. The first in the Book Collector Mystery series and I already have book 2 on hold -- another audio format. The narration is as brilliant as the storytelling!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andree

    3.5 stars. This is decent. The heroine is slightly different than the typical one, and I kind of like the family of law-bending Irish uncles. Also, I snickered when I read the best friend has gone to northern Alberta and is essentially living in a fake oil sands development. Of course she has. I dunno, this isn't perfect, but it's kind of fun. And the next one is called "The Sayers Swindle," so I'm obviously reading that. 2018 Reading Challenge - A book by a local author

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I read this book a couple of months ago and completely forgot to review it. And to be honest, there isn't much to say about it. I wanted to like this book but just didn't because the plot had almost nothing to do with Agatha Christie and the writing style was rather bad.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The Christie Curse is a solid first book for the Book Collector Series. I especially loved the main character’s uncles as they formed not only a fun family element, but were willing to assist in any way. You’ll enjoy unraveling this book-based mystery as the plot unfolds and the list of suspects grows and secrets are revealed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    This was a really good first book in a series. The characters are memorable and the situation is plausible. Looking forward to trying book 2 to see how this series develops!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara Eames

    A fun, well-written cosy mystery that was a pleasure to read. The characters are well-written and the plot moves at a steady pace. There is enough of a mystery to keep you engaged and entertained. I look forward to reading more in this series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anissa

    This was a fun entry to a cozy mystery series. I continue to come across cozies that feature librarians, curators, researchers and whatnot so when I read that this one was about a look in at the apparently deadly world of book collecting, I was in. The mystery of the validity of the existence of a play Agatha Christie penned during her eleven days "missing" drew me right in. With her predecessor having been killed and Cozy Corpse book shop owner, Karen Smith bludgeoned and left for dead, Jordan h This was a fun entry to a cozy mystery series. I continue to come across cozies that feature librarians, curators, researchers and whatnot so when I read that this one was about a look in at the apparently deadly world of book collecting, I was in. The mystery of the validity of the existence of a play Agatha Christie penned during her eleven days "missing" drew me right in. With her predecessor having been killed and Cozy Corpse book shop owner, Karen Smith bludgeoned and left for dead, Jordan has no choice but to investigate because it seems anyone on the trail of this manuscript is a target and she could be next. While I sort of found all the uncles charming for helping out Jordan, I must admit that I don't tend to find larceny charming so that was a little bit of a detraction. The story still had quite a lot to recommend it. Vera Van Alst was a dour piece of work but I'm thinking she'll be less prickly in the future. Her single-mindedness at obtaining works for her collection was obsessive in the extreme especially when the bodies start to pile up. I'm hoping further in the series, Tiffy can get time away from her job in Alberta to visit or maybe Jordan can take a trip north. Their BFF dynamic was well done. I feel like there's a love triangle setting up between Jordan, librarian Lance and Officer Dekker. I like both guys as presented but I'm a chronic hater of the lurve triangle so... we'll see. In all things to the good, I was pretty sure about who was doing the killing but really only because it was the one person, Jordan never checked on or suspected. The second player in the plan was one I'd suspected but didn't think I was correct after a series of events. When all was revealed, the ties were plausible and I thought well done. This was quite the page turner and to my surprise ended with a trio of recipes from Signora Fiametta Panetone, Vera's very attendant cook. Seriously, I loved every recount of what the signora served and her insistence that her charges eat. The woman was relentless in a completely endearing way. I enjoyed the read, now I want to make the food. There's good humor weaved throughout and some memorable quotes. Three of my favorites: "I thought I appreciated books, but this was an alter to the book gods. It was hard not to be impressed. I didn't know what had the most impact: the rosewood shelving, the rolling library ladders, the mezzanine floor with the ornate spiral wrought-iron staircases at each end, the carved moldings, the scent of well-loved books, or the silky Aubusson rugs in a soft faded palette of rose, sage and aqua."- pg. 20 "I felt I was sitting in the midst of some surreal movie. Postwar Italian perhpas, only with more food and less sex."- pg 54 "I didn't have the best night's sleep. It was full of limping strangers, cats with keys, postmen wearing fright wigs and Miss Jane Marple hanging upside down like a bat."- pg 147 I'm definitely continuing with this series and look forward to the next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Selah Pike

    Fun little mystery with a few too many cozy tropes (does the MC really need to wear vintage clothes, eat whatever she wants and describe it unendingly, have a cat AND a dog, etc.?). I loved all the classic mystery references.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    An enjoyable new (to me) series with some interesting characters. Jordan Bingham, fresh out of university and needing a job, accepts a position for wealthy curmudgeon Vera Van Alst. Her first assignment is to track down an Agatha Christie play, possibly penned at the time of her infamous disappearance. Not only is the job right up her alley, but she gets to live in a mansion and indulge her voracious appetite with endless gourmet cuisine provided by Signora Panetone. "You eat, you eat". Jordan is An enjoyable new (to me) series with some interesting characters. Jordan Bingham, fresh out of university and needing a job, accepts a position for wealthy curmudgeon Vera Van Alst. Her first assignment is to track down an Agatha Christie play, possibly penned at the time of her infamous disappearance. Not only is the job right up her alley, but she gets to live in a mansion and indulge her voracious appetite with endless gourmet cuisine provided by Signora Panetone. "You eat, you eat". Jordan is delighted that she will no longer have to live with her doting, but not necessarily law-abiding 4 Irish uncles, who have been caring for her since the death of her mother. They do, however, come to her aid whenever she needs them - and she does, frequently.

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