Well, this one left me reeling in the best way. I think I was out of breath at the end! So here are some final thoughts:
1. I like the fact that the murder didn't happen until halfway through the novel. When it happens at the start of a book, we never really get to know the deceased except for hearing about them from outside perspectives. Here, we get to know Linnet, understand her world, and this makes the tragedy hit so much harder.
2. Poirot as matchmaker! I love how he nudged Rosalie and Tim together, and how he helped out Cornelia. He also knows when to show mercy (at the cost of great frustration for poor Colonel Race, who makes such a great foil here for Poirot).
3. Speaking of which, hooray for Cornelia! Bessner is perfect for her; I was going to be really angry if she'd ended up with that egotistical jerk Ferguson. He had all the makings of an abusive gaslighter; Bessner, on the other hand, respects her and is willing to nurture her interests.
4. Jacqueline was an amazing character. I'm glad that her psychology was explored so deeply, instead of making her out to be some crazed killer. Even her final action, shocking as it was, made complete sense in light of the fact that she's always taking care of Simon. Talk about emotional labor!
5. The red herrings were, as always in Christie, wonderful little tidbits. I had guessed at the mystery of the pearls (though not how it would be carried out), but Richetti being the revolutionary was a fun surprise. I also kept expecting Linnet's suitor from the start of the novel to show up in disguise at some point, but that apparently was not in the cards. The battle of the lawyers also helped make the story more interesting by providing another possible motive.
So this is definitely going in my list of favorite Christie novels; was this one of her own favorites too? And, as we've mentioned in post comments earlier this week, I'm now jealous of future readers who will get to discover it for the first time.
Thanks for a great buddy read, fellow Agathytes!