The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse Agatha Christie
The Pale Horse, Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse, Agatha Christie, 1961


My favorite quote: “The science of tomorrow is the supernatural of today.”

Most interesting characters: Mark Easterbrook, a pretty typical dude who finds himself embroiled in a mystery with supernatural undercurrents. Thyrza, Sybil, and Bella, three creepy spinsters with creepy names that (unfortunately) no one takes very seriously

Opening scene: Mark is hanging out at a coffee shop when two young ladies get into a nasty fight in which one pulls the other’s hair out by the roots — an achievement that ultimately becomes a major clue in Mark’s upcoming (and very disturbing) adventures

The gist: Three mysterious spinsters living in a small village claim to have supernatural powers. For a price, they’ll eliminate anyone you want — and there’s no way you (or anyone else) will ever be tied to the crime

Greatest strengths: Agatha Christie is especially talented at foreshadowing (not to be confused with telegraphing), and in The Pale Horse, it comes in the way of Macbeth. Mark Easterbrook and his girlfriend, Hermia, go see the play just before Mark meets the three creepy witches, Thyrza, Sybil, and Bella

Standout achievements: Owing to its atmosphere (and all the witchy tropes) The Pale Horse remains one of my all-time favorite Agatha Christie books

Fun Facts: Agatha Christie is outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible — and let’s be honest, she’s a lot more fun to read than either of those. Shakespeare gets a little loquacious for my tastes, and as for the Bible, well, it’s a bit predictable. I always know whodunit. Spoiler alert: It’s the Lord, everytime, with the thunderbolt in the library. Anyway, rock on, Agatha Christie

Other media: Most recently, The Pale Horse was adapted into a 2020 miniseries starring Rufus Sewell, Sheila Atim, and Georgina Campbell. I haven’t seen it, but if the reviews are to be believed (ha ha), this version varies pretty dramatically from Agatha Christie’s book

Additional thoughts: While most famous for her mystery skills (and rightly so), I don’t think Agatha Christie gets enough credit for her overall writing chops. If you read The Pale Horse and compare it to, say, And Then There Were None, you can get a real feel for the diversity and range of her style and ability. She handles first-person narrative as smoothly as third, and can effectively set her scenes anywhere, be it a train, an island, or, as it is in The Pale Horse, a small English village. She also wrote several romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. The woman was a genius, you guys, and I think we should all take a moment of silence to reflect on her brilliance. I’ll wait …  

Hit or Miss: Hit

Haunt me:

Read The Pale Horse

Alistair Cross Author

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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