Tag Archives: crime stories

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.

Comments are welcome.


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

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


Filed under Book Reviews, crime stories, crime thrillers, fiction, ghost story blogs, Greylock, horror blogs, murder mystery, Night Sea Journey, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, tales of terror, The Dazzling Darkness

Lurking Behind the Wharves

The Man With the Twisted Lip  by  A.C. Doyle (Sherlock Holmes Crime Story) 1891

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 22, 2015



Sherlock Holmes stories are fashionably back! If you’ve been watching PBS’ Sherlock, or Arthur & George, and wanting more of the beloved detective, Arthur Conan Doyle’s  short stories and novels are public domain and easily found on the internet. Besides the nostalgia of old London, the mysterious puzzle, and the immortal duo of Holmes and Watson, we have fiction with a consummate economy of words (unlike the typical Victorian writing at that time), and not a dull sentence or overly descriptive paragraph to thwart the suspense.


The Man With the Twisted Lip does not take place at 221 Baker Street, but we are taken across London in a hansom cab, rattling over the cobbled streets, through foggy passages of opium dens, and into an adventure with a poor, dirty beggar man on Swamdam Lane. This man with a hideously scarred and mangled face is the only clue to the well known—and missing—Mr. Neville St. Clair of the county of Kent. How Sherlock (he is nearly fooled by this mystery) solves this case is quite a trick.  And a clever turn that is so iconic of the great detective.



Would you like to meet this man with the twisted lip from Swamdam Lane?



Read the short story  at Gutenberg.org  (scroll down to IV to the title)


Listen to the Audio on YouTube. 





Watch the film: Granada’s Film via YouTube, John Hawksworth’s The Man with the Twisted Lip, by A.C. Doyle, starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke.

Watch Parts 1 to 5 on YouTube (60 minutes total time).



And for all you Sherlock hounds who love vintage films …

The Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone (1939)




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 crime stories, fiction, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, mysteries, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror