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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 October 2001
Christie's most successful and popular books hold a pattern. Her writing subtely encourages you to suspect everyone except the real murderer, who you ignore. Even when you know the rules of her writing and the tricks she plays, she is so brilliant as to still deceive you. Appointment With Death fits that pattern, and as such is a very pleasing read for fans of classic Agatha Christie. There are a limited number of suspects in an isolated area, and details of times and locations are added to muddy the waters. However, there in the middle of the situation is Poirot, quietly confident. As usual, if you have a mind like Poirot's and are really paying attention, you can work it out. For us mere mortals, there is always the answer at the end of the book, and very satisfying it is too.
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on 15 April 2003
Once again, the BBC does a stellar job on an Agatha Christie book, one of my favorites no less! John Moffat is perfect as Poirot! My only complaint is the music that opens and closes this production. It's too modern a take on middle-eastern music. I'm sure it was done on a synthasizer. Otherwise- top notch.
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on 12 May 2012
Appointment with Death is one of my favourite Christies. It perfectly represents what the best of her craft is: a clockwork plot, subtle clues, simple but effective character sketches, and a logical solution which still surprises. It's a Golden Age detective story down to the last detail, including the atmospheric title.
While in Jerusalem Poirot overhears this chilling exchange between brother and sister: "You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Later, when an evil old matriarch dies, Poirot investigates her stepchildren, a bunch of repressed basket cases who lived under her thumb.
The stepchildren are like caged animals freed by her death. Christie was a staunch conservative who supported the death penalty and believed that the world would be better off without some people, a belief reflected in how her characters here develop after the murder.
As usual there's romantic subplots, which are neatly resolved in the epilogue. They work here because Christie doesn't let them distract us from the puzzle, like she sometimes does (as in the tortuous Murder is Easy). Suspense and atmosphere languidly uncoil like a snake. The announcement of the murder is a beautifully written scene.
The novel's latter half is mostly dialogue, with some chapters containing almost no other prose. This style might daunt some readers, but they're unlikely to be reading Christie anyway. The denouncement is splendid in its grand procession of logic.
Appointment with Death is the embodiment of classic mystery fiction. An excellent read for fans of this genre.
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on 7 September 2000
This was my first Agatha Christie book and it has encouraged me to try another one on my latest excursion to! It had a riveting plot which kept me reading throughout the book without wanting to put it down. I would recommend this to any age and anyone who likes crime novels or wants to start reading some.
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on 17 November 2015
Personally I found the book rather disappointing and confusing with all the comings and goings, though I had no idea at all who had committed the murder. I would like to have known why the murderer had a criminal record which gave her a prison sentence and a reason to kill the person who knew the answer.
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on 31 October 2002
It seems that, though BBC TV are rapidly desappearing down the tubes, Radio 4 can still come up with the goods. That said, this is not the best Poirot story in their repatoire, although it's enjoyable all the same. The ending is ludicrous, but surprsing (the fault of Agatha Christie not of the writer) and it doesn't do such a good job of evoking the Middle Eastern setting as the wonderful adaptation of Murder in Mesapotamia did. Also, some of the acting is a little dodgy, most notably John Woodnut, who is miscast as Colonel Carbury.
That said, if you want to be transported to a world of mysterious old monuments and murder in the desert for an hour and a half, you could do much worse. Hugely enjoyable.
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on 14 January 2010
This is a truly excellent adaptation of one of Christie's most colourful foreign travel books. The actual denoument is unlikely and Poirot's arrival at the correct solution seems more like luck than anything else but that's Christie's fault and not the production. John Moffat continues to impress as Hercule Poirot, Miriam Karlin is just perfect in the small but vitally important role of the evil Mrs Boynton, Jill Balcon (a series regular) as reliable as ever as Lady Westholme and the young Boyntons all better cast than in either of the filmed adaptations. Nothing important is left out and the fact that the play has to condense the lengthy denoument of the book is no bad thing - excellent!
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on 22 April 2013
Poirot is on one of his trips abroad and is called in to investigate the death of Mrs Boynton who is an oppressively odious woman who likes nothing better than to control her family and keep them from mixing with other people. No wander she died.

Poirot has little time in which to investigate this incident, but nonetheless he comes up trumps with a most unlikely culprit until his explanation makes it seem very plausible.

Enjoyable read. Would recommend
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on 4 October 2011
I chose this book to take on holiday with me to Jordan. The murder takes place in the great lost city of Petra and there are passing mentions of Amman and Jerash too so I got a great deal out of reading the book in situ and imagining the characters at their camp in Petra.

However, I found this book lacking. It is my first Christie read, and I am sure she has done much, much better, but I couldn't help feeling she stuck to her tried and tested formula with this one. Murder takes place, many suspects, Poirot is brought in, he interviews everyone then gathers them all together to tell them whodunnit. Furthermore I couldn't relate to the characters. The victim is someone who we have little sympathy with and the suspects are not an inspiring bunch. There is some discussion early on as to whether a murder has indeed taken place and the police came close to letting this one go - the reader can't help but agree and is left wondering why they are bothering. Add to this a very unconvincing love story between a fiesty young doctor and a wet sap of a victim's son and we have a disappointing novel.

Poirot himself is full of self-confidence, bordering on arrogance, and perceptive as always, and that is how he is known and loved. But there is an irritating passage along the lines of "If I was a crime novel detective this is what I'd do" and then goes on to be exactly like the stereotypical crime novel detective, which is what he of course is! I found it neither clever nor funny and did not see the point.

So sorry, not one of her best, but I was pleased to read it in Petra.
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on 17 October 2011
Poirot is on holiday in Egypt (again/still) and once again murder catches him up. Travelling with him are an American family led by a domineering old woman who keeps the rest of the group under her thumbs, and when she's murdered, suspicion falls on almost everyone.

Once again Christie has produced an amusing and human tale - one that really makes you sympathise with all the suspects, spending a lot of time setting the situation up and developing the group more than in many of her novels. Poirot himself only has a couple of cameos in the first half, and is brought in later to investigate.

The investigation however falls back into what has become Poirot's typical style - interviewing each of the suspects and witnesses in turn and then plucking the solution seemingly out of thin air. I didn't find this as interesting as the first half, and perhaps that's why I completely failed to spot the right clues and had no idea who was going to turn out guilty.

Overall, another good quick read - the set-up is one of the best of the series that I've read, but the payoff weakened it.
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