Reader reviews for Destination Unknown

Not a Christie I'd heard of before and not a regular mystery. Good first half, I like the way someone about to commit suicide is offered a mission with a good chance of death instead. The plot goes gradually downhill in the second half really. This is a kind of spy thriller which falls somewhere between vintage and dated. Having finished it I am more inclined towards "vintage" for the good descriptive aspects of travelling in the 1950s rather than "dated" for some of the plot devices, I was at least pleased it didn't fall into the whole "oh no not the communists" pit that I it teetered on the edge of for a while. Not a book I'd recommend to anyone else really, but not one I regret picking up.
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Destination Unknown, a kind of conspiracy-driven thriller, is not Agatha Christie at her best. Many of the world's top young scientists are disappearing mysteriously, and a bereft, suicidal young woman is commissioned by an unnamed secret agency to go undercover to help track them down.There's little to recommend here, as the story proceeds mechanically and ends in a rather silly scene that's reminiscent of an investigation into spiking the punch at a school dance, rather than cracking a nefarious scheme to rule the world, etc, etc.The book is set mostly in North Africa, but even this potential for exoticism goes unfulfilled; mostly, the principals hang about at hotels full of other Europeans. The one point of real interest here is Christie's depiction of communism and fellow travelers.
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I finished reading So Many Steps To Death. It's a spy thriller (sigh) that AC wrote in 1954, which is her "sweet spot" so far as good writing goes, and indeed--for an AC spy thriller, it was positively readable. Like all of them (and unlike her mysteries) it has to be taken with a large dose of suspension-of-disbelief, but it was readable.
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Once again, Agatha Christie created a brilliantly complex thriller. It's a nice change from her straightforward mysteries, with some unique characters mixed in with all of her standard ones.
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I enjoyed the mystery of it all, but it was a little too much of a spy/Communist plot for my tastes. I prefer murder mysteries over espionage in the majority of cases. I did like the satisfying ending, though.
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Throughout her writing career Agatha Christie showed interest in the darker political forces that she thought challenged the democratic world..We saw this emerge in the post World War One novels particularly those that featured Tommy and Tuppence.The spectre of Communism is a common theme from the Russian Revolution onwards and it is obvious that Christie felt the need to raise awareness of what she saw as a threat among her readers.In DESTINATION UNKNOWN renowned Western scientists have been disappearing, thought kidnapped by Communist forces.The setting is post World War Two and after the establishment of the Iron Curtain. The British secret service is trying to find out what has happened to Tom Betterton, a renowned nuclear physicist. When his wife of 6 months is killed in an aircaft accident in the Middle East, they seize the opportunity to substitute a young British woman for her. They believe Betterton's wife was on her way to meet up with her missing husband. The substitute, Hilary Craven, is asked to follow the same itinerary and see what eventuates.And so there follows a rollicking if unlikely thriller where Hilary eventually catches up with the missing husband and a number of other missing scientists.None of the usual Christie sleuths appear in this novel and there are also some rather predictable romantic elements.
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Is it just me, or is they a faint whiff presaging Ayn Rand....scientists disappearing to be able to work for the good of humanity? whether that be behind the iron curtain, in mid-america, or so other destination.
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This is one of those books that I shouldn't even like, but happen to adore. And not just because it's a Christie book. It is very much a child of its times - it is diffuse with the paranoia of the 1950's Cold War, puts conspiracy theory in a fast car and runs away with it. Every twist and turn manages to outdo the next, becoming more and more incredible and nonsensical as the story progresses. There is no way a plot as convoluted and over-wrought as this could ever happen in real life. The plot holes are more gaping than the Grand Canyon.And yet... This is a book that I could read over and over and thoroughly enjoy it. Taken with just the right pinch of salt, a gung-ho attitude and a healthy suspension of disbelief, this is a rewarding romp of a book that makes no serious demands of its reader, nor does it take itself too seriously. Its characters are a pastiche of various noir B-movie types; its plot is eerily reminiscent of The Big Four, but with a tighter, more engaging plot. It does not pretend to be anything more than it is - a light, entertaining, if slightly fantastical read.
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Unusual Chrisitie story, that doesn't feature any of her series detectives.A suicidal woman is recruited to help look for a batch of missing scientists. Has the Chrisites charm of World War england, and the usual 'England rules' colonialism of the time. Not her best work, but interesting and different from many of her more famous pieces.
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I very much enjoyed this book - not a typical Christie mystery at all! Think more spy, intrigue, suspense and adventure. Also add a touch of sci-fi and that is this book. It is best to go into this knowing as little as possible to truly enjoy the story. - Hillary wants to end her life then a strange man introduces himself and proposes an out of this world suggestion leading Hillary on an amazing adventure.
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