Appointment With Death

Rating: ****
Another one of Christie's psychological mysteries, Appointment with Death deals with the dynamics of the Boynton family. At the head of this dysfunctional group is Mrs. Boynton, a woman who takes pleasure in psychologically controlling and torturing her victims - and who better as experiments than her own family? her own daughter? Travelling through Jerusalem, the Boyntons make their way through the tourism sites. But even a cornered rat may strike back when pushed to the limit and soon Mrs. Boynton is found dead at Petra.

I always enjoy the more psychological of Christie's detective novels and this one was right up my alley. I enjoyed the characterization, the portrayal of people under psychological duress, and the hopelessness of those who feel they are beyond all aid - it was all expertly drawn. How many of us have seen in films the effect of prolonged torture which inevitably ends in a numb, broken acquiescence to all requests? The whole process of mental control and what it does to those subjected to it was subtly shown in the Boyntons. While the images were not brutal like those in the movies (!) it was a truthful representation. Definitely one of my favorites.

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