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:
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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.]
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