Agatha Christie – Death in the Clouds (1935)

Cover of Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (painted by Tom Adams)

Cover of Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (painted by Tom Adams)

Hercule Poirot is a passenger on board a flight from Paris to Croydon (which was the main London airport at that time). Sometime before landing, one of the passengers is found dead – it is Madame Giselle who is a wealthy French moneylender; initially the cause of death is said to be a reaction to a wasp sting but Poirot spots the true cause of death: a poison-tipped dart which has been apparently fired from a blowgun. The case then becomes one of murder.

It is a classic locked room mystery with a murder being committed in a space occupied by thirteen people with no-one witnessing the crime and all of them conceivably could have a motive for the death. The joy is in the puzzle and trying to solve it before Poirot the first time you read it and enjoying the journey thereafter.

This is another of my favourite Agatha Christie novels and edges out other Agatha Christie  contenders Murder on the Orient Express and The Mystery of the Blue Train as my L6 entry (“Read One Book that involves a mode of transportation”) on the 2015 Vintage Mystery Bingo Golden Age Card because of the Tom Adams cover of the Fontana paperback version that I read when I was young (which is the image at the top of the page) – this is just a gorgeous piece of art; my absolute favourite Tom Adams cover is that for The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (below) which is inspired by John William Waterhouses 1894 painting The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot from the Window] (further below).

Cover of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie (painted by Tom Adams)

Cover of The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie (painted by Tom Adams)

John William Waterhouses 1894 painting The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot from the Window]

John William Waterhouses 1894 painting The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot from the Window]

2 good books on Tom Adams’ work in general (and the Agatha Christie covers he has painted in particular) are

  • “Tom Adams Uncovered: The Art of Agatha Christie and Beyond” by Tom Adams & John Curran, 2015
  • “Agatha Christie: The Art of Her Crimes” by Tom Adams & Julian Symons, 1981

 

2 thoughts on “Agatha Christie – Death in the Clouds (1935)

  1. I read Tom Adams Uncovered as well yesterday and he states that the version of The Lady of Shalott [looking at Lancelot from the Window] he used was from a study at a Liverpool gallery (presumably the Walker Art Gallery) – I can’t find that one but another study is from Falmouth Art Gallery>
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