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Search tags: Hercule-Poirot
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review 2017-02-21 14:56
We Get to See Early Poirot and Hastings in This One
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie

I realized this year that I have never read this book. I could have sworn I had since I did my Poirot readings a few years back, but then realized nope that I must have confused this book with another. Either way, I am thrilled that I got a chance to immerse myself back into the world of our egg-head shaped detective and his "little gray cells."

 

Image result for poirot gifs

 

Told in the first person POV by Hastings (Poirot's mostly bumbling and honestly dumb as anything assistant) in this one. We have Hasting and Poirot go off to investigate after Poirot receives a letter from a Monsieur Paul Renauld. Renauld believes he will be murdered and asks for Poirot to come as quickly as he can. However, when Poirot and Hastings arrive, they find the police on the scene since Renauld was found murdered and his wife bound by unknown attackers.

 

We have Poirot getting into a mental pissing match with another detective named Giraud who hates Poirot and seems him as old and outdated. I did want to shake Hastings a bit here and there since he wants Poirot's deductions to be correct since he doesn't want Poirot to look foolish which would mean he would look foolish. Speaking of Hastings, he falls in love at first sight with a young woman he calls Cinderella. I hope you like that name, because she is referred to as such throughout mostly the entire book. We even have a connection to the murder and we have Hastings acting a fool (IMHO) cause of love. I don't know. I may be heartless, but if I think you committed a crime I am going to get the heck away from you.

 

This is not one of Poirot's locked room mysteries, but it does leave a lot of intrigue into who killed Renauld and why. Also I have to say that once again I was totally in the dark about who the villain was in this one. I guessed wrong (twice) and just gave up on who dun it until Poirot revealed all.

 

The ending in it's own way had a HEA which surprised me.

 

 

Image result for poirot gifs

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review 2016-08-17 09:19
Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) - Sophie Hannah,Agatha Christie

Inspector Edward Catchpool has been summoned to the house of famous children’s novelist Lady Athelinda Playford’s home in Clonakilty, Cork. Also attending the gathering is the inimitable Hercule Poirot. But this is no ordinary gathering for Lady Athelinda has decided to change her will, disinheriting her two children and leaving her estate to someone who only has weeks to live. Poirot believes that he and Catchpool have been invited to prevent a murder. But why is Lady Athelinda determinded to provoke a possible killer? And when the murderer does strike can Poirot discover the motive behind Lady Playford’s actions regarding her will, and deduce who the killer is?

 

I’ll start out by saying that I haven’t read Sophie Hannah before, either her own creations or The Monogram Murders that first resurrected Poirot, so I went into the book with no expectations. Following in the footsteps of the doyenne  of crime fiction is always going to be difficult, perhaps more so, when you are already a highly regarded crime writer yourself.

 

It has been many, many years since I have read an Agatha Christie novel. I have, of course, watched various incarnations of her famous Belgian detective and these have somewhat skewed what I know to be my deep love of the written originals. I did try, however, to ensure this didn’t taint my thoughts regarding this book.

I felt that Poirot didn’t appear as much as I would have perhaps liked. He seemed more distant and often didn’t appear in the story for chapters at a time. Catchpool  features more heavily, understandable perhaps as he narrates the story.  I was soon transported back to the 1920s. The scenes where Poirot featured were treats, just perhaps not as generous as I would have liked. He was partly the Poirot that remains in my imagination, considered, cryptic and clever. I would have simply hoped for him to feature a little more so that his character didn’t appear as fleeting and sometimes lacking in dimension as I found him. As for Catchpool, I thoroughly enjoyed his character. He had a realistic and lovely relationship with Poirot, being both maddened by him and intrigued. There seemed a genuine fondness for his Belgian friend, together with the exasperation and feeling of being in Poirot’s wake that seems an inevitable part of knowing the detective. As for the other guests and residents of the house, many of them are not particularly likeable, with many far from hiding their frustrating character traits and in fact revelling in them. Even the butler Haddon is a contradiction to the usual butler, who has reached the stage where he would rather say nothing to any question, than provide the wrong answer. Some of the time I thought that I was not enjoying this story, as Poirot disappeared again, or one of the characters was being confusedly annoying. But then I realised I was actually enjoying the story, despite the issues I had with it. It was engaging and entertaining and the motive and dénouement was very well played out.

Part of the fun for me with crime fiction is trying to work out who committed the crime so I had a jolly old time discounting suspects and giving random motives to others as I read. I finally figured out the perpetrator about midway through the book. I could therefore sit back and enjoy Poirot exercise those famous grey cells to deduce why the dastardly deed had been committed and by whom. There was the inevitable gathering of the suspects, the circling of the room giving possible reasons why each character could be the murderer, then discounting them before moving on. This is the part where Poirot comes into his own, explaining his methodology, discussing the minutia of the case before the big reveal.

 

I was curious to see how someone follows in the footsteps of one the crime writing greats and now my curiosity has been sated. This was an enjoyable read, and it was lovely to re-engage with Poirot, in a new reimagined setting. Agatha Christie’s estate would only allow the return of the Belgian detective by someone with the suitable skill and flair to retain that character that is beloved by many. I think their faith in Sophie Hannah has been repaid in that she retains the spirit of Christie. She has certainly reignited my love of Christie’s work and made me want to go back and read her novels again. As for Sophie Hannah’s novels, now I’ve read one, I’ll have to try more of her books featuring her own characters in the future.

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review 2016-06-25 18:39
Agatha Christie's The Mystery of the Blue Train
Mystery of the Blue Train - Agatha Christie

A mysterious woman, a legendary cursed jewel, and a night train to the Mediterranean -- ingredients for the perfect romance or the perfect crime? When the train stops, the jewel is missing, and the woman is found dead in her compartment. It's the perfect mystery, filled with passion, greed, deceit. And Hercule Poirot is the perfect detective to solve it... [ synopsis from goodreads ]

 

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review 2016-06-10 18:38
Favorite Agatha Christie & Hercule Poirot Collection...
Five Complete Hercule Poirot Novels (ABC Murders / Cards on the Table / Death on the Nile / Murder on the Orient Express / Thirteen at Dinner) - Agatha Christie

This is a collection of five Hercule Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie. In 2013 I read all of her works and I enjoyed all of them. These five stories are some of my favorites of Poirot's. I normally don't re-read a lot of books but for my 2016 Summer Bingo Challenge I decided to read "Thirteen at Dinner" for my 'Favorite Re-Read' square. I'm so glad I did! It's made me realize I should re-read more often.

 

Thirteen at Dinner is a fun mystery about an actress, Jane Wilkinson, who asks Poirot to help her get rid of her husband so she can marry someone else. After her husband is murdered, she then asks Poirot again for his help when she is spotted at her husband's house, while also attending a dinner party with thirteen other very important guests, hence the title Thirteen at Dinner. I really can't tell you much else without giving too much away so I'll just say if you've never took the time to read Agatha Christie's books, you should put it on your list of things to do before you die! You won't find another mystery writer like her!

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review 2016-05-24 08:57
Hercule in Iraq
Murder in Mesopotamia - Agatha Christie

Well, now that I've learnt a little bit of French I have discovered that Poirot's little sayings make more sense (such as Eh Bein, which means ah good). Okay, it isn't as if the entire book is in French, or that Christie overuses the phrases, but for some reason, until I actually started studying the language Poirot's occasional outbursts were a little meaningless (despite the fact that most of the time logic should probably dictate what those words actually mean, though for some reason when it comes to language logic seems, at times, to get thrown out of the window and we simply close our minds to the fact that while something may be written in another language, it doesn't necessarily mean that we are not able to understand it).

 

Anyway, this mystery is set in Mesopotamia, or as it is now known – Iraq (which I believe is what it was called back then), at an archaeological site. Mind you, this isn't the Iraq of today, with insurgents running around insisting that everybody follow their own totalitarian rule on pain of death (but then again isn't that what most governments do anyway), and bombs going off everywhere. No, Iraq in Christie's day was actually a lot more peaceful to the point that archaeologists descended upon the country in an effort to uncover the past (and to also ship numerous objects, including the walls of Ninevah, back to Europe). In fact Christie was an amateur archaeologist (and being a very successful author meant that she was able to participate in such projects without worrying about the need for funding). Here is a photo of her at a dig at Nippur:

 

Agatha Christie at Nippur

 

 

As such it is not surprising that we find a murder mystery occurring near a dig somewhere in Iraq. However, like the other mysteries that I have read, this one follows a similar pattern – the entire action occurs within a place that is effectively separated from the rest of the world, and the suspects are limited to the few that happen to have been in the compound at the time (as is always the case). Mind you, this does actually make for a rather enthralling murder mystery, especially when everybody in the compound has a reason to kill the victim (and the answer is never as straight forward as one suspects to be the case). However, there are a couple of clues that are left, particularly when Poirot suggests that once a murderer, always a murderer – or more precisely, it gets easier after the first one.

 

I've probably suggested this before, but real life murders never actually come out as they do in an Agatha Christie novel. Usually the suspect is known to the person, and they don't actually go out of their way to cover up their involvement. In reality the police tend to have a pretty good suspicion, it really comes down to actually getting the evidence to make the charges stick (and even Poirot admits here that while he may have worked out the mystery, he doesn't actually have any hard evidence to prove his case).

 

Mind you, in this particular instance, and in some of other other books that I have read, the murderer was also known to the victim.

(spoiler show)

 

However, real murders generally aren't performed in the way that they are performed in these books. They are either crimes of passion (and in these cases there is actually no mystery to solve, the police simply have to collect the evidence, and make sure that the evidence that has been collected is then admissible in court – which means not breaking the chain). Then there is the mob hit, which in some cases, probably go unsolved for a very long time because we are dealing with professional killers that know how not to get caught (leaving the body in the boot of the car means that there actually isn't a crime scene). Still I'm probably going a little bit to deep on this aspect because, well, it is an Agatha Christie novel and it is more about the mystery than actually trying to re-create a real murder – that is what True Crime is for. So, instead, here is a picture of Bagdad from the 1930s:

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Baghdad-Carriage_1930.jpg

 

 

It sure does look a lot more peaceful than the Bagdad of today (though I wouldn't be surprised if it is nowhere near as bad as the media portrays).

 

Anyway, I want to finish off with a quote from the end of the book:

 

You would have made a good archelologist, M. Poirot. You have the gift of re-creating the past.

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1641464910
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