The Secret of Chimneys
A young drifter finds more than he bargained for when he agrees to deliver a parcel to an English country house. Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.
The combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Surete can do no better than go in circles – until the final murder at Chimneys, the great country estate that yields up an amazing secret.
The Secret of Chimneys marks the first appearance of Inspector Battle and was the last book to be published by Bodley Head, thus fulfilling the terms of Agatha Christie's six book option. While Inspector Battle would only appear in a further four novels, Collins (later HarperCollins) would remain Christie's publisher for the rest of her life. Her new agent Edmund Cork of Hughes Massie had negotiated much more favourable terms with Collins (a £200 advance per title for the next three books). John Lane, then publisher at Bodley Head, had replied that if anyone wished to pay that much for Christie's novels, they were welcome to her.
A thick fog of mystery, cross purposes, and romance, which leads up to a most unexpected and highly satisfactory ending.
Times Literary Supplement
The Secret of Chimneys was adapted by Christie as a stage play in 1931 but its planned performance was mysteriously cancelled. Its world premiere was at the Vertigo Theatre in Calgary, Canada in 2003 when the artistic director John-Paul Fischback "discovered" the manuscript deposited at The British Library over 70 years earlier. It was filmed with the addition of Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple and with multiple plot changes by ITV in 2009.