on 15 March 2001
This was to be Hercule Poirot's 2nd 'major' case after the Mysterious Affairs at Styles. In this story a man who asked for Poirot's assistance in an unknown matter was found dead before Poirot arrived. Before Poirot has time to unmask the murderer a second body was found, killed in the same way as the first, at the same spot.
The Murder on the Links was a very raw effort, but it is enjoyable because there is not much 'character-building' as in Christie's later works. The clues were straight to the point and you will have a fun time having a go at it too.
One point to mention is that Hastings found the woman of his dream in this story too :o)
If you don't like cerebral problems or dislike reading a period piece (written in the period), you won't like this book nearly as much as I do.
If you have enjoyed any Agatha Christie mystery, I highly recommend this one to you.
Agatha Christie has been a favorite of mystery readers since she began crafting her country-based, upper-crust stories. Murder on the Links is her second novel featuring that polite but elusive Belgian detective, M. Hercule Poirot. Ms. Christie became the first woman to make a dent as a major mystery writer, an important avatar for the many wonderful women mystery writers who entertain us so well today.
It's good to look backward a bit in considering this story. Sherlock Holmes was the reigning fictional detective of the day when the unimpressive Poirot was conceived. As you may remember, Holmes was a student of arcane subjects . . . which always seemed to allow him to take some seemingly unimportant scrap and turn that scrap into finding the killer. It was an early version of CSI.
Ms. Christie, by contrast, was much less impressed by that approach. Her detective instead thinks about human emotions and uses psychology to track down the killer or killers. To make the point clear, she often set up a foil in terms of a Holmes-like detective who obsessively pored over meaningless clues. A good part of the fun in Murder on the Links comes from her satire of the Sherlock Holmes style story.
Agatha Christie was a master at setting up little puzzles which the reader could solve, after leaping across an abyss of false assumptions and red herrings to reach the only conclusion that is possible. Her skill in that regard is very evident in Murder on the Links where the ostensible situation reveals so many puzzling qualities that the reader can only conclude that something is off.
The inimitable foil for Hercule Poirot is Captain Hastings, and you will find Hastings more charming here than in most of the stories in the series. As the book opens, Hastings is returning to England from France when he meets a most annoying and seemingly unsuitable young woman who nevertheless piques his interest. She's worried about her sister who doesn't seem to be on the train. Only later does Hastings realize that he doesn't know the young woman's name and where she lives.
Arriving in the rooms that Hastings shares with M. Poirot, they are soon discomfited by a desperate request from a wealthy man in France, M. Renauld, to save him from a threat. Taking the next available train, they are surprised to learn that the promised chauffeur is nowhere to be found. Hiring a car, Hastings is dazzled upon arrival by seeing a gorgeous young woman, Marthe Daubreuil, whom Poirot insists is not for Hastings to marry. Seeing that Hastings has been taken by the attractions of two young women so recently, Poirot offers to find Hastings a suitable wife. Hastings' vulnerability to the fairer sex provides for much good humor and some complications in the story.
All that amiability is soon dispelled as Poirot and Hastings discover that Renauld has been murdered and buried in a sand trap on the nearby golf course. Poirot is quickly alerted that the story of the death seems familiar . . . as does the appearance of a neighbor.
There are many hidden currents which are revealed in piecemeal fashion. You'll do well to keep notes on what has been observed and by whom.
The mystery is actually not hard to unravel, but you'll have to await more clues before getting beyond the initial appearances. Keep motive, opportunity, and method in mind.
The beauty of the story is found in the way that Agatha Christie muddles up your clear thinking by having Hastings try to solve the matter. It's as though a magpie were shrieking in your ear. See if you can concentrate. It's good discipline for becoming more able to solve mysteries before the author reveals the solution.
on 4 February 2014
The Murder on the Links is Agatha Christie's second Poirot novel, and what a cracker it is - the great crime writer never needed to improve, she was at the top of her game from the start. Poirot here is the Poirot that we know and love, and his keen eye for the details that matter is put to the test again.
Here's the deal - Poirot receives a desperate cry for help which summons him to France. Unfortunately, he arrives too late - his client has been found dead on a golf course. Then a second corpse is discovered.
I don't want to say too much because it's a great little read and I don't want to spoil it in case you decide to read it (hint: you should). The novel's characters are larger than life and believable, even if they're hard to relate to and occasionally unlikable. That hardly matters, considering it feels as though any one of them could die at any moment - if anything, it makes it even more interesting.
Christie keeps you guessing right until the last page, lulling you in to a false sense of security and making you feel as though you've finally cracked it, right before proving you wrong and sending you back to square one. Then, at the end, everything comes together like the pieces of a jigsaw and your eyes are opened, forever.
This is a great book to read whether you're a crime aficionado or not - I'm certainly no more interested in crime novels than the average man, but Christie is one of the greatest writers ever to have lived, and while this might not be her magnum opus, it's a formidable piece of work that will leave you deeply satisfied and ready to read more.
on 29 July 2012
Originally reviewed at:[...]
Rating: 5 out of 5 biscuits
The Murder on the Links is Christie's third novel and the second Hercule Poirot mystery. I had some vague memory of watching the film adaptation on telly a few years ago but funnily enough, the story was completely new to me and apart from the fact that it's set somewhere in France and there's a golf course involved, I didn't remember a thing. And how grateful I am for that! Had I remembered anything else, I'm quite sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did. And in spite of the fact that I don't think any of her books can top And Then There Were None, it was definitely one of the best mysteries she's ever written.
I don't know if you remember but I mentioned in my review of The Mysterious Affair at Styles (the very first Poirot novel) that I found Hastings's narrative a bit monotonous and dry and it took me a little while before I got into it and got used to his style. Well, this was definitely not the case here. I was drawn into the story from the very first page and even though I'm a relatively slow reader, I devoured half of the story in one sitting. As opposed to book #1, The Murder on the Links is more fast-paced and less concerned with family affairs, family history than the first book was, which is something I'm quite happy about. (Three chapters and 30 pages in we already have our first victim and Poirot is already working on the case so if this is not fast paced then I don't know what is. :) ) Hastings is funny, incredibly naive and as always, hasn't a clue about what's going on, just like us readers. His friendship with Poirot is both charming and entertaining, and it's one of the things that make this book as good as it is.
In addition to the usual investigation process and Poirot's tales about his little grey cells, The Murder on the Links is spiced up with a great deal of humour as well. There's a Parisian detective called Giraud involved in the investigation who soon becomes Poirot's rival as they're trying to solve the mystery separately. Their methods are entirely different and the fact that they're trying to outdo each other had me in stitches many times throughout the story.
Once again, the Queen of Crime manages to give us readers all the necessary details we need for solving the case and still, when you think you've seen it all, she twists the whole thing around in the very last minute and you find yourself staring open-mouthed, completely speechless and wondering how the heck all this happened. Brilliant ending, gripping plot and engaging narrative - it really is a fantastic read. Do read it if you can, it's worth it!
This is the second major case for Poirot, following on from "The Mysterious Affair of Styles". For some reason I had never read this one - perhaps the link with golf put me off when I was younger and beginning to read Christie's novels. However, the link with golf is tenuous and it is, thankfully, hard to imagine Poirot wishing to indulge in sporting activities! The story begins with Hastings meeting a young woman on a train on his way back to London. He barely arrives than Poirot receives a letter calling him to the aid of a millionaire in France, frightened for his life because of a 'secret' he possesses. Poirot, with Hastings, immediately leave England, only to find on arrival that Monsieur Renauld has already been killed and his body found on the golf course next door.
There follows one of Christie's most enjoyable plots. There is a tragic widow, a son about to be disinherited, a mysterious Madame Daubreuil and her anxious daughter and the lovely lady on the train. The crime reminds Poirot of an earlier case and he sets off in pursuit, while M. Giraud, a modern detective with new methods crawls around looking for clues and sneers at our hero. Although Hastings is impressed by poking around in the shrubbery, we know that the 'little grey cells' are all that is needed. Poirot, of course, comes out the winner and Hastings even gets his girl. Total enjoyment from the ultimate crime writer. Whatever came before her, or after her, Agatha Christie will always be my ideal crime author and Poirot my favourite detective.
on 19 September 2007
In her second novel featuring Poirot, the peculiar private investigator from Belgium, Christie fails to illustrate the main trait that made her famous. The author had the ability to constantly "fool" us in connection with who the culprit was in each case and at the same time dangle the truth in front of our eyes, without us realizing it. In this novel, that is not the case, and as the story progresses we are immersed into a tangle of complicated connections that go against the aforementioned simplicity.
As is usually the case in Poirot's novels, the events are described by Hastings, a charming character, who serves as the punching bag that tries to make sense of things, only to be beaten down by Poirot's brilliant deductions. The Belgian detective is bored out of his mind, with obvious cases that present no challenge to him, until a letter from Monsieur Renauld arrives. The missive comes from France, and carries a palpable sense of urgency. The sender is convinced that his life is in danger and requests that Poirot gets there to assist him as soon as possible. Thus, the detective, together with Hastings, embarks on a journey to France, towards a new challenge.
Upon their arrival at the villa, they face the news that they got there too late, and that Renauld was murdered the night before. Naturally, Poirot offers to stay around and help solve the case. There are a good variety of suspects, including a lady that had visited the victim frequently, a wife that may feel disrespected, a son that fought with his father shortly before the murder and a mysterious young artist that had crossed paths with Hastings before.
As I already mentioned, the only drawback I found with this novel is the way in which the author twisted and turned the plot, but I understand that she was still at the beginning of her career. She does a few things very well though, like for example the way in which she continues to develop the character of Poirot. The detective's worship of the little gray cells and his preference for method and order over running around after clues make him a very special character; especially since in this case, he is pitted against a French detective from the Surete, Giraud, in a competition of contrasting styles that is exciting to witness.
Even though this is a sub par effort for Agatha Christie, it is still a decent novel. If this is by any chance your first attempt at reading her work, I recommend that you stick with it. The rewards are going to be worth it! - 3.5 stars
(3.5 stars) Written in 1923, Agatha Christie's third mystery features Poirot working with Capt. Arthur Hastings, who acts as his assistant, despite Hastings's greater interest in pursuing charming young ladies. In this novel, Poirot is summoned to France by Paul Reynaud, a wealthy businessman with interests in Chile. By the time Poirot arrives, however, Reynaud is dead, stabbed and then pushed into a makeshift grave on the golf course beside his house. Mme. Reynaud bears bruises from being tied up by two intruders, who, she says, forced her partly clothed husband from the house and then killed him. Soon another death takes place.
Poirot, investigating is not the Poirot of later novels. Here he is not so much a caricature as he later becomes, even poking fun of his relationship with Hastings, as in the title's quotation. His contempt for the local police is typical, as is his arrogance, but he seems somewhat more human than usual here. Unfortunately, the nature of the mystery prevents much character development for any of the characters. Three young women, all with dark secrets (slowly revealed in the conclusion), act as the love objects of Capt. Hastings and Jack Renaud (the victim's son), while the secret histories, going back twenty years, of several other characters, including the victim and his wife, complicate relationships and hide the solution to the murders.
The plot strains credulity, though that is not necessarily a fatal fault with Christie, whose primary interest is in developing devious plots with minimal clues which still allow Poirot to deduce the murderer. This mystery is so complex and has so many characters, however, that readers will be hard pressed to keep track of them, their secret identities, their look-alikes, and their past histories. Though the plot is clever, there is too little characterization to keep the reader involved in Poirot's adventures here. Not one of Christie's most memorable novels. n Mary Whipple
Agatha Christie's second novel is an entertaining read, but is spoiled by the trap that so many novels fall into, that of the incredible coincidence. I won't say what that is, but it was probably an unnecessary one.
Despite the book's title, golf doesn't play any part in the story, other than the victim being found on a course under construction. The novel has two major strengths: Christie's ability to drag the reader along every conceivable garden path and the rivalry between Poirot and the Surete's detective, Giraud. Christie's vivid and repellent portrait of the latter is also at odds with the frequent criticism that her characters are all the same. It is true that many appear to be stock figures, but there are always at least one or two jokers of interest in her novels. 'The Murder On The Links' is worth a read, but it ought to have been better.
on 19 October 2012
One of her best, here we find the duo of Poirot and Hastings hot on the trail of murder most foul in France. A wealthy buisness man is found dead, his wife tied up in their bedroom, she claims it was intruders and her husband has been kidnapped, but is she telling the truth? With a cast of colourful characters and a wonderful setting, Poirot and Hastings find themselves pitting their wits against Monsieur Gerraud of the Surrete, an old rival of Hercule's from his days in the Belgian policeforce. The dialogue in this makes it worth a read alone but the plotting is deft with all the usual twists and turns which make Ms Christie such an incredible author. The thing which made it so memorable for me was Hastings and it is here that he first sets eyes upon someone who will change his life forever! Simply wonderful.
on 19 December 2009
In my opinion, a good mystery novel is one where you spend the entire narrative scratching your head, only to suddenly realise 'Of course!' as soon as the final revelation is made. That's not the reaction I had to this book. Although I did a lot of head scratching, there was no way I could have followed Poirot's deductions this time, particularly with the circuitous route of revealing the guilty party.
Captain Hastings' narration can be a little grating at times - he seems surprisingly incompetent and completely ignores Poirot's hints. I would imagine that if I were in his place I would have the time to think about the comments I were fed - although as I read through the novels in a couple of days I generally don't take the time out to think objectively about the case.
An interesting facet of this novel is that it is set in France. Strangely though all of the characters still speak the same language, and nowhere is it mentioned whether all French people speak perfect English, or the English perfect French. I found that an odd omission from a writer who pays such careful attention to the details of crafting her plots. The characters however are exactly the same as they would be in a Christie novel set in England, with the possible exception of Poirot's rival - a French detective who tries to solve the case in a more modern manner than the Belgian's.
I'm hoping that the problems that I had with this novel are because it's one of the earliest of Christie's writings, and that with time her style will mature into something I find a more satisfying read.