Agatha Christie is a master at weaving classic mysteries. Her two main sleuths, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, are fascinating and eccentric characters who seem to become "friends" to those of us who enjoy reading her books. She is the grandmother, or original "Eve" to the multitude of women mystery writers in our present day.
Her books are generally set in time anywhere from 50-100 or so years ago. This has its advantages and drawbacks. The drawbacks are that, for readers who have whet their teeth on more modern mystery writers, her mysteries might have a "simple" feel to them. There is no violence and her sleuths are never kidnapped, followed, attacked or put in direct danger in any way.
The advantages are that they are "clean" stories, books you can enjoy and then pass on to your teens and pre-teens (or very precocious children). Further, they offer a glimpse into a glamourous and luxurious lifestyle which no longer really exists. It is no longer likely, unfortunately, that one would be invited to spend a weekend at a manor house on an island with no cable television or internet - spending one's evenings playing cribbage or bridge. Heterosexual men in their 40's or 50's - Belgian or not - no longer drink creme de cassis.
But as long as you are aware of the nature of this book, you will not feel disappointed reading it. Instead, you will feel deeply fulfilled in the way you only can when reading a true classic that will forever stand the tests of time. (Well, okay, maybe not for infinity, but give me a little leeway here!)
A wealthy gentleman has been found murdered on the green. With no shortage of suspects in the dead man's family tree, Poirot has his work cut out for him.
An enjoyable read, though a bit muddled at the end, too much going on, still it took no time at all to read!
Good Agatha Christie mystery
The first chapter is really good, then it's kind of boring, with a few good chapters, for the rest of the book. Also, I don't know French, so I had to stop reading a lot to look up translations, which is distracting.
Not my favorite Poirot mystery but this book certainly has my favorite Poirot dialogue! The banter between Poirot and a rival detective is worth the read alone. I tend to like Christie novels that unravel all at once at the end rather than bits and pieces being revealed throughout - but I recommend it highly.
Ercule Poirot receives a letter begging him to travel to France to help in a mysterious case. Upon his arrival it turns out that the man who wrote the letter was murdered and it is up to Poirot and his friend Captain Hastings to solve the murder and a couple of other mysteries along the way.
A couple of years ago I got my hands on a volume of five of Christie's Miss Marple mysteries along with a book of short stories and for some reason while I enjoyed them I didn't love them. It all seemed very formulaic with superficial characters and without much feeling. Now that I've been reading more of her books I can't help but think that the timing wasn't right when I picked up that volume. I even remember saying in earlier Christie reviews that to me her novels are good riddles but usually don't have much depth. I officially take it back.
This was Christie's second published novel and already we have a theme that will repeat in a number of her later books - heredity and its effects on a person's character. Poirot is a big believer in heredity and something tells me that Dame Agatha was as well. It was interesting to see how such considerations played a part in the characters' actions.
We also have the matter of social classes and marriage outside of one's class. It seems like an archaic and snobbish subject in this day and age but in Christie's time it was very much relevant and I must admit, marriage is difficult enough without partnering up with someone who doesn't even have the benefit of a similar background. Like Poirot said, 99 times out of 100 it doesn't make for a happy union. But do not despair, my democratic friends, luckily for us Christie favors love and happiness much more than numbers and odds, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
As far as the characters go this set was a lot of fun. Hastings always deems himself such a great detective and speaks of Poirot almost pityingly when the Belgian genius makes conclusions that don't coincide with his. Fortunately he remains such a good sport when he realizes that all his ideas were wrong that one can't hold it against him, which I don't think Poirot ever does. The French police are a different matter entirely and it was very amusing to watch them battle it out over the many plot twists - as the officer in charge of the investigation lamented this was not at all a simple case and you do have to get the little grey cells working to keep track of it all.
Mme Renauld was definitely my favorite female character. She was a remarkable woman indeed and only at the very end of the book do we see the full extent of it. The rest weren't very straightforward either. We have devotion, self-sacrifice, strength, deceit and calculation all present and as carefully as I watched for clues I couldn't always tell who was looking out for whose interests. Hope you have better luck, both here and with the identity of the killer - I was off the mark yet again and A.C. is currently leading 15-0. That's ok, I have 51 more chances.
This is actually a hardback book bought from the book boindry I used to work in.
"For God's sake, come!"...The appeal for help arrived too late. Monseiur Renauld lay dead on the golf course just days after Hercule Pirot had recieved his letter. There was no lack of suspects: Renalud had possessed a plundered fortune, both a wife and a mistress, and an estranged son. But just when police thing theyhave the culprit, the brilant detecive assures them that all is not as it seems. And the next murder may prove him right.
You are always kept guessing who is who and what is what in this mystery. You really do need a score card for all of the characters. One of her best Poirot/Hastings mysteries.