Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Originally Published in 1920
Source: bought for my Nook
Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery.
I don't recall knowing when I bought this book that it was the first of the Hercule Poirot series; in fact, Christie's first novel. You wouldn't know that reading it. Poirot is not some young chicken; he and Hastings have known each other for years at the time of this book and Hastings often refers to Poirot being past his prime. In fact, that's one of the fun things about the book, the way Hastings often looks down a Poirot (a character we know now will come to known to readers as a master when it comes to solving mysteries) and the way Poirot uses what he knows about Hastings to aide him.
According to one review, when the book was first published:
"It is said to be the author's first book, and the result of a bet about the possibility of writing a detective story in which the reader would not be able to spot the criminal. Every reader must admit that the bet was won."
Yes, indeed. I frequently changed my opinion about who the murderer was and I was wrong. In my defense, though, this is one of those mysteries where there are some pieces of the puzzle the reader is not privy to until the final solution is revealed. Still, there were so many little pieces and turns of phrase that even had I known it all, I don't I would have solved the mystery. This novel (or, at only 124 pages, more precisely, novella) makes it clear why Christie became such a superstar of a mystery writer. I quite love that she was able to get so much into so few pages and I really did race through this book even though I meant to read slowly so that I might try to solve the mystery. Have you read this one? Did you figure it out before Poirot revealed all?
It's been years since I read any of Christie's books. How silly of me. It won't take years longer for me to pick up another.