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Taken at the Flood: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Taken at the Flood: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Hugh Fraser


Taken at the Flood: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Hugh Fraser

ratings:
4.5/5 (88 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062232236
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In Agatha Christie's classic puzzler Taken at the Flood, the indefatigable Hercule Poiroit investigates the troubling case of a twice-widowed woman.

A few weeks after marrying an attractive widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs. Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune.

Shortly afterward, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man's sister-in-law who claims she has been warned by "spirits" that Mrs. Underhay's first husband is still alive. Poirot has his suspicions when he is asked to find a missing person guided only by the spirit world. Yet what mystifies Poirot most is the woman's true motive for approaching him.…

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062232236
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976, after a prolific career spanning six decades.

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Reviews

What people think about Taken at the Flood

4.3
88 ratings / 21 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    In my house a road trip is synonymous with Agatha Christie and a classic Hercule Poirot novel read by Hugh Fraser. My husband and I listened to Taken at The Flood during our one week trip around the southeast. We had actually tried to listen to this book in December as part of our bowl game excursion, but it just didn’t catch our attention. So we tried again to much greater success. In fact, this twisting mystery took both of us by surprise! Recommended.Hercule Poirot makes a brief appearance in the beginning of Taken at The Flood, but does not play a major role in the story until way past the halfway point. Christie uses the majority of the book to set up the backstory of the Cloade family — their relationships, personalities, and varied motives. I actually liked this quite a bit. My husband was, however, impatient for the mystery-solving to begin. The mystery takes quite a few turns, and more than one dead person shows up. The ending is tied up in classic Poirot style, and we were pleasantly surprised. We did not see it coming!If you are a fan of classic mysteries, I recommend Taken at The Flood. Just be patient for the amazing Poirot’s appearance.Recommended. Audience: adults. (I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
  • (5/5)
    The US title for There is a Tide is "Taken by the Flood." It looses its dramatic appeal from Shakespeare's words: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures." Notwithstanding, this is one of the best Poirot stories I have read so far. Poirot's presence is very sparse, but the story is weaved so adroitly and smoothly you won't miss him much. Incidentally, the movie Taken at the Flood with David Suchet as Poirot, didn't do the story justice. Despite that eye-candy, Elliot Cowan, as David Hunter, the movie peeled off the many layers of mystery and suspense Christie built so carefully throughout her book. Read the book, watch the movie and I believe you might agree with me.
  • (3/5)


    Gordon Cloade was killed two weeks after his marriage to a much younger woman in a bombing Blitz of London. He died without evidence of a will, so although he promised to leave everything to his niece, nephew, sister & her husband & brother & his wife.... his widow inherits EVERYTHING.....

    Rosaleen Cloade is now a widow twice over, but is she really..... there are mummers around London that her first husband did not actually die in Africa, but faked his death....

    Her brother is frantic for Rosaleen to hold on to her inheritance, which he greatly benefits from, but Rosaleen has a conscience and sees no problem w/ helping out the Cloade family.

    Meanwhile, a man appears in town & claims to know that Rosaleen's first husband is still living... he is killed, and then Rosaleen dies, of poisoning.....

    Everyone had reason to want one or the other or both dead......

    Did I like this? More or less, I've read better & I've read much worse.

    I liked that M. Poirot did not enter the story until much later in the story and his ego seemed subdued for a change.

    I did not particularly like the Cloades and I particularly disliked Rosaleen's brother..... I loathed Christie's hateful & prejudice interjections.....
  • (4/5)
    Much better than the Poirot TV adaptation (which stands alone well enough) Great character development and Poirot does not appear until the middle of the books so patience is required.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this very entertaining narration. the ending surprised me, not just who commited the murders but the old fashioned attitudes that would not go down well today. still, it is a portrait of its time, as well as a well crafted mystery.
  • (4/5)
    Another work of genius by the most underrated, though most popular, of all English novelists.
  • (4/5)
    Hugh Fraser is my favorite narrator, masterful and his reading seems effortless always. But the ending is the worst of any Agatha Christie story I’ve read.The story has unexpected twists and I enjoyed it until the end.
  • (5/5)
    I think it's one of the best of Agatha Christie
  • (5/5)
    Nice twist at the end and wonderfully spoken too.
  • (4/5)
    During a London air raid, Poirot listens to a man ramble on about a young bride who, with her brother, survived an air raid while her husband and the servants died. The newlyweds had only just arrived in London after their wedding, and the widow became the heir to his fortune to the dismay of the husband's relatives who were financially dependent upon him. Poirot has a reason to recall this story a couple of years later when the widow and her in-laws are connected to a murder in their rural village. Instead of narrowing down the suspects, each new clue seems to add more confusion. It's a mystery only Poirot could solve.This is more of a page-turner than is usual for a Christie novel. The foundation for the murder is laid in the prologue with the story that Poirot hears during the air raid. It seems more and more certain that something dreadful is looming, but it's not quite clear how events will play out. I did spot an obvious clue and I worked out part of the puzzle, but the ending still held a surprise or two for me. I found one aspect of the ending very disturbing and it lowered my overall rating for the book.
  • (4/5)
    Very good. Chilling villain and rather bizarre end for one of the couples though but the penultimate scene with Poirot insisting on having coffee with three of the suspects is priceless.
  • (3/5)
    Complicated at first, with a large cast list of relatives, but once it got going it was an enjoyable book. A fairly typical Hercule Poirot light crime novel. The ending was perhaps a little unrealistic, but overall a good light read.

    Seven years later, I read 'Taken at the Flood', with no idea that it was the same book with a different title. I did not remember it at all... but felt much the same. Not a bad book, but I would not have guessed the ending.
  • (3/5)
    Taken at the Flood - Agatha Christie ***What is it about?Written in 1948 (first published under the name 'There is a Tide'), the title is taken from a line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The majority of the book takes place just after the second world war, although we are privy to a few flashbacks to events previously taken place during the war years. The novel is typical Agatha Christie, we encounter the wealthy deceased and the family squabbles that result from the reading of the will, a beautiful girl, jealousy and of course the various alibis and motives. Although this is a Poirot novel, we meet him in the opening pages and then he is absent for the first half of the book. We follow the Cloade family, a mismatch of individuals that although relatively successful in their own fields have always relied upon their elder brother Gordon Cloade's income. Having been promised all their lives that upon his death each member will be bequeathed enough money to live out their days comfortably, they are shocked to discover that he has taken a young bride and unfortunately been killed during an air raid before having chance to adjust his will resulting in their being cut from the inheritance. However, Gordon is his bride's second husband, and there is a rumour that her first husband may still be alive. If he can be found then the marriage would be illegal and the Cloade fortune would once again be in the hands of the family. When a stranger turns up in the village from South Africa, a glimmer of hope rises and Poirot is employed to try and iron out the creases. What follows is a story rich with murder, blackmail and secret identities. Which side will win the battle of wits between the family and the recently widowed Rosaleen, who governed by her roguish brother David make a very formidable team.What did I enjoy/not enjoy?The first half of the book was spent fleshing out the Cloade characters, allowing the reader to dig into their individual personalities and histories. Christie is a master of creating fully rounded characters that the reader can easily empathise with or dislike. This created a very clever build up of tension before the introduction of Poirot, allowing us to try and second guess what he will make of the situation or what plan of attack he will adopt. Some readers may have been a little dismayed that their hero did not arrive until the second half, but for me this was a welcome change to the normal books.There were a few aspects of 'Taken at the Flood' that stopped me giving my usual high mark for Christies books. Firstly I found the way the plot unravelled a little disappointing, although there were a few twists and turns, many of these I had second guessed. The ending didn't have the same sense of realism that many of the other titles in the series has, and I found myself wondering if it would ever have really worked out like that, or was it just too obvious. Unusually for me I had worked out correctly the killers identity a number of chapters before it became confirmed (which I became a little peeved at as this is one of the few Poirot books that I had not seen the tv adaptation for). The other detail I found issue with was the way that Christie kept referencing the thoughts of the characters, I have noticed this in other novels but not to the same frequency as here. At one point is was almost after nearly every other speech. I just felt it was often unnecessary and distracted me away from the storyline.Well worth a look if you are a fan of either Christie or the Poirot series, but not a novel I would advise a reader unfamiliar with Christie to start with.
  • (3/5)
    The trouble with reading some of the Poirot & Miss Marple books is the number of them that have been televised and therefore I have a preconception of what will happen. The good thing is that quite often the TV adaptation has diverged from the book and that means that you can still enjoy the read.

    The biggest difference between this book and the TV version is that Poirot is on screen 99% of the time yet in the book, he hardly features until halfway through and, of course, there's no Hastings! There are one or two other changes, but the main plot is still the same, so sadly I knew roughly what would happen & 'whodunit', but it was still enjoyable and still an easy diversion after struggling a little with my previous read.

    It's the usual comments: if you like Agatha Christie, then you'll like this book, it's up to her usual standards and as always, captures the period. If you're looking for a nice easy (& quick) read, this is perfect.
  • (1/5)
    "When you caught hold of me by the throat and said if I wasn't for you, no one should have me - well - I knew then that I was your woman!"

    Be still my wife-beating heart.
  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    In which a young trophy wife finds herself left with a fortune – and a family who may be out for blood.

    A thoroughly average Christie, but a step up from the worst. There’s nothing to make "Taken at the Flood" stand out, but finally, there’s nothing terrible either. Like many of the best Christie novels, we’re very clearly in 1944, giving us a good sense of where both Poirot and the world are situated.

    The murder itself is quite contrived (even the usually reliable David Suchet TV series couldn’t do much with this one), but the characters are varied and relatively strong, making this a decent, if not absorbing, read.

    Incidentally, several novels had their titles changed when first published in America. (So far, I’ve never heard very good reasons.) This is – I think – the only title substitution which doesn’t completely suck. "Taken at the Flood" was changed to another quote from the same Shakespeare speech (from Julius Caesar): "There Is A Tide".

    Poirot ranking: 31st out of 38

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    The most interesting feature of TAKEN AT THE FLOOD, apart from the central and rather tangled story of the dashed expectations of the Cloade family, is the social commentary on the effects of World War II not only on Britain as a whole, but also on the personal expectations of those who either served in the forces or stayed at home. In my review of THE HOLLOW, the previous novel, I commented that, although there was no specific reference to the war, people don't seem to realise that the old way of life has gone forever, that the days of large houses and servants to run them has gone forever.In TAKEN AT THE FLOOD Christie explored the changes from a different angle. World War II is a character ever present.Lyn Marchmont has returned home to live with her elderly mother, who was one of those dependent for her allowance on Gordon Cloade. Lyn realises that the money is not going as far as it used to, but her mother has not as yet seen the need for some economies, for doing some of the housework herself.Lyn is unemployed and feels that the qualities that war service encouraged and valued are not valued in this post war world. Enterprise, initiative, command, those were the commodities offered [by the returnees]. But what was wanted? People who could cook and clean, or write decent shorthand. Plodding people who new a routine and could give good service.Lyn was engaged six years before, before the war, and now she has come home to marry Rowley, who stayed home and farmed. He is conscious that she has changed and she thinks he hasn't.And worse, Gordon Cloade's young widow is a stranger and she and her brother have access to the Cloade fortune, which before the war supported the extended family. Lyn thought suddenly, 'But that's what's the matter everywhere. I've noticed it ever since I got home. It's the aftermath the war has left. Ill will. Ill feeling. It's everywhere. On the railways and buses and in shops and amongst workers and clerks and even agricultural labourers. And I suppose worse in mines and factories. Ill will. But here it's more than that. Here it's particular. It's meant!'This theme of nostalgia for the pre-war days, nostalgia for the sense of purpose that imbued the days of war, continues throughout the book. 'Yes, it's soon forgotten - all of it. Back to safety! Back to tameness! Back to where we were when the whole bloody show started! Creep into our rotten little holes and play safe again...'For some the war gave opportunity, only to have it snatched away again when the war ended. But the fabric of society had been irrevocably ruptured. In addition the expenses of the war and its destruction had to be paid for.The views expressed by various characters seem to be Christie's own heartfelt views, the result of her own observations and reflections in the period just after the war, when life can't have been easy.The storyline of TAKEN AT THE FLOOD has its complications and problems. It explores the concept of Enoch Arden, a narrative poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1864 in which a long missing sailor returns home to find that his wife has re-married. The character Enoch Arden appears not only in this Christie novel, but also in the short story "While the Light Lasts" and in GIANT'S BREAD, the first Christie's six novels written under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott.I think the plot itself caused Christie a few problems. Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate, and is himself duped by a man whom he vouched for as a reliable witness. The final explanation of the solution to the puzzle is simultaneously clever and inventive, but also a bit out of left field. There is a time when Christie plays with the readiness of the reader to trust the judgement of Lyn Marchmont.
  • (4/5)
    In 1944, as the German bombs are falling, Hercule Poirot is safely ensconced in the Coronation Club, when he first hears of the Cloade family. It seems the family patriarch & millionaire, Gordon, was killed when a bomb hit his London home, but his young wife was spared. As it turns out, the wife had previously been married to a Robert Underhay, who had mysteriously disappeared in Africa and was presumed dead. Two years later, Poirot receives a strange visit from one of the Cloade family of Warmsley Vale who has received a message from the spirit world that Robert Underhay is not really dead. Not long after, he reads about the death of an Enoch Arden in the same village. Christie then takes the story to Warmsley Vale, and introduces the Cloade family. It seems that all of them were financially dependent on Gordon Cloade, and that this young wife, Rosaleen, has thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the situation. Living now in Gordon's home with her brother David, Rosaleen was the sole beneficiary to Gordon's vast estate, and David stands between the family and financial assistance. Rosaleen, it seems, is eager to help, but David despises the rest of the Cloades and refuses to lend them a penny. Things go from bad to worse when a mysterious stranger, one Enoch Arden (the namesake of a poem from Tennyson) appears with a bizarre story about Robert Underhay. Pretty soon someone ends up dead. It is Poirot's job to not only figure out who the murderer is, but to get to the bottom of the whole mess. This won't be a simple task.With several suspects to choose from, Taken at the Flood is one of those stories where the truth is unraveled bit by bit, so that the reader is not really sure of the whodunit until the end. There are plenty of red herrings to sort through -- and just when you think you know who it is, something else pops up to make you think again. Throughout the novel there is a buildup of suspense as you wonder what is really going on here.Not my favorite of Agatha Christie's novels, it is still an enjoyable read. There is a small peek at some of the hardships of postwar British life that enhances the sense of the desperation of these characters, and Christie manages to keep the underlying tension running throughout the novel. Taken at the Flood is Poirot's 27th adventure - and he's still going strong, although the earlier Poirot novels of the 20s & 30s were more to my liking. Recommended for fans of Poirot and for Agatha Christie readers in general - these books may be old, but they're still worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting story, which evokes a real feeling of the hardships of post war Britain. Again Christie proves herself the mistrss of misdirection as you assume first one character and then another has murdered the victim.
  • (3/5)
    This was not Agatha Christie at her best but it was entertaining. She did completely fool me in one way. I knew very early on who the murderer was—but the plot twist involved the murder not being the one you thought it was. Mistaken identity was also rife in this book. It was clever in a way, but a little “flat.” In a sleepy English village a young bride –just two weeks a widow—when her much older husband is killed in a blitzkrieg and she survives. The husband family resent her—they had never met her. She moves into the mansion she’s inherited with her dominant brother and strange things seem to happen in the neighborhood.
  • (4/5)
    Although not among the best-known of Agatha Christie's Poirot novels, Taken at the Flood is never the less very good indeed. An extended family of hangers-on burns in resentment as their rich Uncle Gordon marries a pert little tart, and then is promptly killed in the Blitz, leaving the gold-digging strumpet and her creepy but charismatic brother all that money they'd been counting on for years . . . .Christie is in her stride here, with several memorable characters, and Poirot on good form. This 1948 novel, set in 1946, also portrays the deprivation and confusion of Britain's immediate post-war years very effectively.Recommended.