• At Bertram's Hotel

  • A Miss Marple Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Cole
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (835 ratings)

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At Bertram's Hotel

By: Agatha Christie
Narrated by: Stephanie Cole
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Publisher's Summary

When Jane Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she's looking for at Bertram's: a restored London hotel with traditional decor, impeccable service - and an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer. Yet not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric guest makes his way to the airport on the wrong day....

©1965 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

What listeners say about At Bertram's Hotel

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

You Won't Want to Check Out Early, But...

It’s funny about great or wildly popular authors. Their reputations are so firmly established that, when you’re less than enchanted by their output, rather than suspect the writer is not up to his or her usual high standards you doubt your own ability to keep up with them.

It doesn’t happen that often, but in such circumstances I turn to the critics. The last time this happened was when Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot had me wondering what it was all about. To my relief, the critical consensus was that Mr. Dostoyevsky had “lost control of his material” in that outing.

Now Agatha Christie has me wondering.

In the case of Bertram’s, I get that the place is the epicenter of a crime ring. But why all the elaborate fancy dress? Why does the ring feel compelled to play-act the presence of prominent individuals—individuals who all stay at Bertram’s—at the scenes of the crimes they commit? Wouldn’t that necessarily bring suspicion on the hotel that is their GHQ?

And the ending; when I saw the TV version of this story I thought the outlandish finish was the by-product of overexcited imaginations at the BBC (but then I also thought the novel would make plain what all the fancy dress was about, too).

Turns out that, at the time the book came out (1961) the critics had the same problems:

"A.C. is seldom at her best when she goes thrillerish on you. This one is a bit wild and far-fetched, but it's got plenty of that phenomenal zest and makes a reasonably snug read." (Maurice Richardson, The Observer)

"At Bertram's Hotel is vintage Agatha Christie: an ingenious mystery that triumphantly gets away with what in lesser hands would be the most outrageous coincidences." (Robert Weaver, Toronto Daily Star)

And later:

"The plot is rather creaky…but the hotel atmosphere is very well conveyed and used… the sharp eye had not dimmed, even if the narrative grasp was becoming shaky." (Robert Barnard)

Not that I wasn’t enchanted with the story—it is, as stated above, a reasonably snug listen. And the performance by Stephanie Cole was so good that I’ll be on the lookout for her name next time I’m in the market for murder. Also, as noted above, Christie is a wonderful writer. Her descriptions and character studies are always worth a pause so they might be fully relished. But, ultimately, in spite of Christie’s undisputed powers and Cole’s flawless performance, this one fails to give the solid satisfaction one usually feels at the end of a well-wrought who-dunnit.

10 people found this helpful

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One of my favorite Agatha Christies

I enjoyed the twists and turns, and the intricate plot lines. I like the stories where Christie developes her characters to this extent. One of the 'kinder, gentler' mysteries.

6 people found this helpful

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Hotel Mystery is Just What You Need!

Would you consider the audio edition of At Bertram's Hotel to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the print version, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot had a number of twists and turns, and at one poimt I was sure I knew who was doing the killing, but Ms. Christie fooled me again.

Which scene was your favorite?

Early in the book, Miss Marple was exploring the people in the tea room with a commontary about all of the guests, their backgrounds, and the gains and begottens. Now you were ready to find the culprit.

Any additional comments?

I just thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book, and did it in one day because it was so terribly intriging.

5 people found this helpful

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Agatha Christie is always enjoyable

Entertaining as always, although not one of her best. Although it's classified as a Miss Marple story, Miss M is hardly a player in the narrative. Good narration by Stephanie Cole.

4 people found this helpful

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Classic Christie

I love listening to Agatha Christie stories while knitting. This one was no disappointment! Enjoy.

4 people found this helpful

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A pleasant stay at Bertram's.

If you could sum up At Bertram's Hotel in three words, what would they be?

Intriguing. Complicated. Entertaining.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes it did. There were many twists and turns that went in all directions before the end.

What does Stephanie Cole bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voices are good and clear.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Wanted to, yes! If only.

Any additional comments?

Most Christie books are a good listen but this is definately one of my favorites.

2 people found this helpful

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Really takes one back to better days.

Loved all the rich detail and character and plot development. Had seen this on screen and as usual the book is much better. The performance es superb.

1 person found this helpful

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loved it

Enjoyed listening to this book. Narrator was easy to listen to. I love Mrs Marple's detective skills.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable

The performance is great. However, the story isn’t the strongest nor sufficiently suspenseful for a Miss Marple mystery.

1 person found this helpful

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One of Christie’s best.

If you’re going to get a Marple story to must get one narrated by Stephanie Cole, nobody does it better.

1 person found this helpful