Agatha Christie”s “The idol home of Astarte”

The story the “Idol House of Astarte” is just one of many tales that appeared in Dame Agatha Christie’s “The Thirteen Problems” (1932, 2000)(also revealed as “The Tuesday Club Murders. “) Ms. Jane Marple, certainly one of Christie’s most beloved characters is the village old maid who has a knack for observing parallels between situations (Bargainnier 42). She along together with her playwright nephew Raymond West, the artist Joyce Lempriere, Scotland Yard’s Sir Henry Clithering, the aged clergyman Dr. Pender and the solicitor Mr.

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Petherick are featured telling accounts of puzzling conditions and crimes they’ve skilled (Christie 1).

To every story, the storyteller withholds the solution to the how the crime was solved and the means it was committed. The challenge to the listeners is to guess the solutions to the query of how the murders or crimes have been dedicated and by whom. (2) “The Idol House of Astarte” (15-30) is the story shared by Dr. Pender. In it, he remembers the expertise he had and the murder he witnessed at a party on the home of a Sir Richard Haydon on Dartmoor.

The home itself, whereas unremarkable in look, was mentioned to be built on a location full of history together with that of the Neolithic hut dwellers, the Druids, Romans and early Phoenicians.

On the grounds is a peculiar piece of land with a dense crop of bushes, which Haydon considered the sacred grove of a Phoenician goddess of the moon, Astarte. The sight and eerie ambiance of the grove impressed one of the visitors, an actress called Diana Ashley to suggest a Fancy costume or costume party for that night.

In the course of the night, the home party dressed in their costumes as soon as once more enterprise to the grove and encounter a shock within the form of a totally costumed Diana Ashley who was appearing the part of a priestess at the goddess temple.

In pleasure, Sir Richard Haydon attempts to method Diana, stumbles and then falls ahead. When he doesn’t get up, his cousin Elliot investigates what occurred and proclaims that Richard was useless apparently from a stab wound. Despite looking for a weapon or attainable cause for Haydon’s death, none might be found. The next day, Elliot Haydon was additionally discovered stabbed however alive in the same position as Richard was. The distinction was that a dagger was left within the wound. According to him, something supernatural occurred within the grove and that his wound was inflicted by something he could not explain.

The story goes on to element the many solutions Ms. Marple’s celebration provides up for the deaths. Most of which thought of the supernatural and superhuman. Of all of them, solely the lawyer Mr. Petherick and Ms. Marple supplied solutions that fully discounted the supernatural. In the top, it was Ms. Marple who stumbled on the proper answer to Dr. Pender’s thriller. There have been many factors that made the story mystical. The story itself carries many ideas of supernatural issues corresponding to magic and ghosts.

Much mention has additionally been given to the “atmosphere” of the grove, which was often described as spooky or creepy. There was also in fact the setting, which was in a clearing in a dense crop of timber and the time at which the murder occurred which was a night with a rising moon (20). There was additionally the eerie darkish punctuated with whispers and sighs, and the small summerhouse or “temple” on the clearing itself the place a stone statue of the goddess Astarte was enshrined. The ambiance of evil and foreboding enveloped the characters in the house party.

Ms.Marple’s group was additionally invariably influenced by the eerie nature of the story and Dr. Pender’s description of how he felt on seeing the grove in addition to the events as they unfolded. I suppose this very “atmosphere” itself plus the mere incontrovertible truth that a clergyman similar to Dr. Pender could be affected by such “evil” atmosphere, hindered the characters in the house celebration together with some members of Ms. Marple’s group in their objective and sober assessment of the information. In reality, I imagine Ms. Marple stated it greatest when she said: I don’t see how anybody else may have carried out it…I imply if, as Mr.

Petherick so wisely says, one seems at the details and disregards all that environment of heathen goddesses which I don’t assume is very nice. (Christie 29) I also discovered it attention-grabbing that the more “artistic” in Ms. Marple’s group such as Raymond West and Joyce Lempriere, were extra vulnerable to thinking up options of a supernatural nature such as seances and superhuman strength utilized in throwing a javelin. Sir Henry Clithering, whereas not completely taken in by the supernatural, did consider the potential for homicide done by a professional and exceptionally proficient dagger of knife thrower.

(27) Owing to his career as a solicitor, Mr. Petherick was more skilled to judge details without the affect of environment. Ms. Marple, in addition to being a “matter-of-fact” kind of individual, has the wealth of her expertise and observations of living in a village that she will be ready to construct her judgment on. Profession and experience seem to be used as indicators and measures of every character’s objectivity and imagination. Both Ms. Christie and the character Dr. Pender are wonderful storytellers.

The description of the grove and the emotions it created in those who visited it exhibits just how necessary environment could be not only in a story (Bargainnier 28) but additionally in influencing how people assume, feel, and consider things.

Works Cited Bargainnier, Earl F. The Gentle Art of Murder: The Detective Fiction of Agatha Christie. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1980. Questia. 4 Nov. 2007 <>. Christie, Agatha. “The Idol House of Astarte. ” The Thirteen Problems. New York: Signet, 2000. 15-30.