Tag Archives: Agatha Christie

Philomel Cottage, an Agatha Christie Obscure Murder Mystery

Philomel Cottage  by Agatha Christie (1934 Published in Listerdale Mystery)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   June 20, 2017


This short story by Agatha Christie, the murder mystery master, is one that hasn’t seen much popular light. Raymond Chandler was said to criticize Christie’s literary skills but that didn’t tarnish her fame or book sales.  She remains the queen of crime.  Philomel Cottage is probably one you’ve not read.

The name of this cottage carries a very specific subtext. The title Philomel—also known as Philomela—refers to a Greek goddess who was turned into a bird. In Christie’s story, Philomel represents the nightingale, symbolic of the feminine rejecting the dark silence and her finding voice in that darkness to sing.

This is a romantic twisty tale, set in a cheerful English village of gardens and gossip. The drama is about a newly married couple, Alix and her demanding husband Gerald—how lovely their new home is and how happy the setting. Well, maybe not for long. Murder and the dark psychological powers of dreaming prevail.

The ending is unpredictable and not at all in the neatly tied-up style we are used to in Christie crime mysteries. It’s unusual for Christie to flavor her stories with anything supernatural, but one might interpret this story to be haunting in a Hitchcockian way.  Christie’s compelling narrative suspense, as always, does not disappoint.

Read the short story  here at Celine.Klinghammer.free.fr.


This story was adapted for film in 1937 with Ann Harding and Basil Rathbone Love With A Stranger. If you are an old film buff like me, this one is thoroughly enjoyable. Vintage black and white and so fashionable. Women wearing curvy slinky dresses, budding rounded busts with sexy shoulders and pearls. Men with mustaches and tailored in tweed suits with wide lapels and cuffed wide trousers. Absolutely nostalgic!

Watch it here on YouTube.com.



























Audio: Old Time Radio Suspense of  Philomel Cottage with Orson Wells. This is a real treat!


If you are an Agatha Christie fan, you’ll love the Agatha Christie Blog.  

Click here for “How to Make A Miss Marple’s Afternoon Tea.”


Christie’s first novel , The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was written in 1916, published in 1920. Murder on the Orient Express (1934); Death on the Nile (1937) and Appointment with Death (1938).   And many more: 78 mystery novels, 19 plays, and over 100 short stories. Her final novel, Sleeping Murder: Miss Marples Last Case, was published posthumously in October 1976. She is considered the best-selling novelist of all time  (2 billion copies sold and by some estimates nearly 4 billion, her works ranking 3rd behind Shakespeare and the Bible). What a gal!



Check out The Guardian‘s “No One Should Condescend to Agatha Christie—She’s a Genius.” 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 2 00 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, and horror. Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

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Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed


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The Silent Grove

The Idol House of Astarte by Agatha Christie

(The Complete Short Stories of Agatha Christie) 1930s

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  September 1, 2015




Silent groves can have a curious oppression. The air is often deep—sometimes thickened—not unlike the pervasive atmosphere of cemeteries or the sudden shifting wind one might feel when walking across someone’s grave.

In The Idol House of Astarte, author Agatha Christie brings us a story from the Tuesday Night Club. We are in the home of Miss Marple in St. Mary Mead with her guests a writer, artist, Scotland Yard commissioner, clergyman,  a lawyer and others. Every Tuesday night one person in the group must tell about a real unsolved mystery.

Dr. Pender, the clergyman, tells his story. At the edge of Dartmoor lies the “Silent Grove.” Relics of the stone age in a grove of trees.

“As we entered the grove of trees a curious oppression came over me. I think it was the silence. No birds seemed to nest in these trees. There was a feeling about it of desolation and horror.”

This is the grove of Astarte.

”Sacred rites,’ murmured Diana Ashley. Her eyes had a dreamy far-away look. ‘What were they, I wonder? “


There is a murder and Diana becomes the prime suspect. What evidence will they uncover to solve the crime?




My Tales of Terror blog would not be complete without the master  of crime mystery Agatha Christie. I’ve been burning to post one of her stories here, but few are available in public domain in the U.S. Two novels are public domain, published before 1923: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) and The Secret Adversary (1922). But her short stories? I’ve been searching for months and my persistence paid off.


Read this crime short story The Idol House of Astarte:



Listen to the audio, scroll the Table of Contents, to page 29:

Kobo.net is an online reading site from Canada with thousands of eBooks, including new releases and the best collection of free public domain and original books.


Agatha Christie as a child. At right with her father Frederick Miller.


[Images: Grove of Olive Trees in Bordighera – Claude Monet.

Figure Amonst the Trees by Jakub Schikaneder. Public Domain.]


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica       Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com        Sirens Call Publications

 Monster Librarian   Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books     Sillyverse    The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic authors.

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Filed under fiction, horror blogs, literature, murder mystery, mysteries, short stories, short story blogs, suspense