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Passenger to Frankfurt is an Agatha Christie novel first published in 1970. This novel is known as a spy novel and was her last novel of this genre.
I've been an avid fan of Agatha Christie's work since childhood. I have a huge selection of her books and many DVDs of films made with both Poirot and Miss Marple and Passenger to Frankfurt is a book that I started reading in early 2013 whilst on holiday.
Sir Stafford Nye is on his way back home from Malaysia waiting at the airport for a connecting flight when he is approached by a mysterious woman who claims her life is in danger and she needs his passport, boarding pass and cape to get a flight home or she will be killed. Nye goes along with this premise and allows himself to be drugged whilst the woman makes off with his passport. On his return home, events take a sinister turn when it seems someone is trying to kill him, so when he's approached by the mysterious woman again he is intrigued to find out what she's involved in.
This is one of strangest Christie novels I can say I've read to date and I've read (and own) several dozen. I found it quite hard to fully get into the book and had to read it over several weeks which is unusual for me as I can finish a Christie novel in a day or so or in just a couple of sittings. This was definitely not the case here. I struggled to keep reading until the end and found that I couldn't read more than a handful of pages at a time.
There was a lot of political discourse throughout the novel which may have contributed to the boredom factor for me here and lots of references to Nazi domination which didn't appeal to me either. I found it hard to believe this stuff was still going on in the 1970s and that British people were involved in this nonsense, let alone British youth being brain-washed into getting involved - I say nonsense as that is how it came across to me, the way Christie wrote it was just not credible.
One of the things that particularly rankled from quite early on in the book was the continual reference to Sir Stafford Nye with his full name, i.e. Sir Stafford Nye. He's quite clearly the central character in the book yet we keep having to see his name written in full, "Sir Stafford Nye". Why Christie did not just shorten him to Nye or Stafford, I'll never know. Just so you know too, none of Christie's other detectives such as Miss Marple, Poirot, Tummy and Tuppence, etc, appear in the book.
Some of the situations in the book were not really credible, first and foremost, how many sensible people, especially a diplomat, would hand their passport over to a complete stranger claiming their life was in danger? The said woman taking a man's passport at an airport and being able to get through security passing off as the man, even wearing a cape, I mean you'd be expected to remove your cape to get through security. Even in the 70s I imagine security and check in staff had some ounce of sense around them and could tell the difference between a man and a woman. Passports do actually state whether the bearer is male or female. Fiction often makes security staff and police officers to be completely dim but in this case, I found it even harder to swallow. Another scenario which was hard to find credible was a car appearing out of nowhere to try to run someone over at exactly the right moment that they step out into the road.
I love most of Christie's work so imagine my surprise to find myself actively disliking this book the further I got reading the book. I actually had to force myself to read it to the end without throwing it in the bin as so much of it seemed so nonsensical and I found myself wondering if someone else had written the book and tried to pass it off as Christie's work. The ending of the book didn't make a lot of sense to me, in fact, I struggled to make sense of any of it and was left feeling very unsatisfied as well as regretting sticking with the book to the end.
My rating for Passenger to Frankfurt is a dismal 1 out of 5. If I could rate it less than 1 I would definitely do so. I'm not throwing it away as I aim to collect all of her books but this is certainly not a Christie book that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of her work.
Author: Dame Agatha Christie
Release date: 1970
Genre: Spy thriller
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 invisble -- enemy!