I love Agatha Christie. I love her novels, I love her plays and I love her life story. I love Poirot, Marple and even Tommy and Tuppence. Passenger to Frankfurt, however? This I did not love. The last Christie book I read was The Body in the Library– you can find my review here, just to prove that I’m usually a fan!
A middle-aged diplomat is accosted in an airport lounge and his identity stolen. Sir Stafford Nye’s journey home from Malaya to London takes an unexpected twist in the passnger loungs at Frankfurt — a young woman confides in him that someone is trying to kill her. Yet their paths are to cross again and again — and each time the mystery woman is introduced as a different person. Equally at home in any guise in any society she draws Sir Stafford into a game of political intrigue more dangerous than he could possibly imagine. In an arena where no-one can be sure of anyone, Nye must do battle with a well-armed, well-financed, well-trained — and invisible — enemy!
It just doesn’t read like an Agatha Christie mystery novel at all – there’s no crime to solve and no suspects to investigate. It has much more of a political vibe. A moderately successful diplomat, Stafford Nye, is recruited by a mysterious committee to discover who is causing the youth of the world to revolt. He flies all over the world with his companion in order to… umm, have a lot of conversations with people.
There’s not a whole lot of action – just pages and pages of dialogue. By the end there were so many new characters I was seriously considering making a list to keep them all straight in my head. The plot changes direction from page to page, so the ending really only makes any sense at all if you’ve been paying very close attention – which I hadn’t.
The best thing about this book was Ms. Christie’s introduction at the beginning. She was such a wonderfully witty woman, and her own musings are always a pleasure to read. She talks about how irritating she finds journalists who perpetually ask her from where she gets her ideas, and how she yearns to tell them that she plucks them off the shelves at Woolworths.
It pains me to write such a negative review of an Agatha Christie book – until this point I’ve pretty much loved them all. I’m excusing it by pointing out again that this isn’t a murder mystery novel at all – more a story of political intrigue.