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At the age of 79, when this book was published, Agatha Christie was not quite capable of producing the tighly-plotted, ingenious puzzle fiction that poured from her pen when she was 39. When one is the world's most published author of all time, however, and when one is still able to hold a pen, the pressure to keep producing yet another 'Christie for Christmas' cannot be discounted. It was to be several years before Agatha Christie's daughter said, 'Now, that is enough, Mum'. This is clearly an elderly author at work here, cunningly presenting characters who are mainly elderly themselves, who can get away lines like, 'You know what young people are like nowadays,' and who tend to end sentences with 'and that sort of thing'. Nevertheless, she provides much of the fun and challenge that you expect in her mystery novels, whatever their date of publication.
Her popular creations Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver get yet another airing here, as they investigate the drowning in an apple-bobbing tub of a thirteen-year-old girl at a children's Hallowe'en party, a girl who not long before had boasted that she had once witnessed a murder. Exploring the possibility that the girl were telling the truth, Poirot probes several local deaths and disappearances. Amongst vague and gossipy eldery characters, and unbelievably articulate and poetic adolescents, Poirot makes his way with waxed moustache and patent leather shoes to a solution to the mystery.
Agatha Christie repeats many of the tricks she tried in her earlier books. You will find echoes of children's nursery rhymes here and a crime that occurs in a familiar domestic setting. You'll also find an especially lyrical few pages in praise of gardens, mid-way through the novel. Agatha Christie, a garden enthusiast herself, never wrote anything better than these few pages.
So expect late vintage Christie here. You may not like the attempt at a nail-biting finish, but you can still respect the author's way of setting up a baffling mystery
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This is very much a later Christie novel – written in 1969 and virtually one of the last Poirot novels she wrote. Poirot is very much, like the author I suspect, feeling his age. We meet him bemoaning the fact that a friend is probably cancelling a visit and contemplating another dull evening, when he gets a call from his old friend, Mrs Ariadne Oliver. Mrs Oliver, a crime author, had been visiting a friend and helping with the organisation for a joint Halloween/11+ party for some children. During the preparations, one girl, Joyce, boasts that she once witnessed a murder. Her words are not believed, but, later that same day, she is found murdered and now Mrs Oliver turns to Poirot for help.

This book reunites Poirot both with Mrs Oliver and the, now retired, Superintendent Spence from “Mrs McGinty’s Dead,” as he lives nearby. There is a little personal complaining from the author about the modern world – boys hair, children’s behaviour and a little repetition, which does show that Agatha Christie is not quite at the peak of her powers. However, even with a few flaws, this is still a very enjoyable novel. Poirot delves into the past to find out who, and why, a murderer would kill a child. As such, this is very much a more ‘modern’ novel – Poirot is constantly told by characters how many unbalanced characters abound, there is no longer a death penalty and the world seems a more dangerous place. As such, it is an interesting novel for Poirot fans, as a glimpse of Christie’s views of the permissive society and, as such, of how Poirot viewed the modern world.
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on 15 February 2011
One of Agatha Christie's last novels, "Hallowe'en Party" is one of her strangest but most fun. I found it thoroughly readable and whizzed through the 336 pages such was the economical plotting and characterisation; I especially thought Ariadne Oliver was great in this book, and Christie's subtle little character tics - such as Poirot's endless complaints about his feet being painful in his tight shoes - added some pleasant depth.

The murder itself is quite macabre but afterwards the novel becomes fast-paced and fun, with some quirky characters like the 'witch' Mrs. Goodbody and the two teenage boys. Christie's descriptions of the party are brilliant and vivid, and there's a section, as another reviewer has stated, in the middle of the book where Christie goes on an extended descriptive passage about the beauty of gardens. It sticks out a bit, but the writing is really beautiful.

"Hallowe'en Party" doesn't rate as highly as some of Christie's other works because it is less ingenious somehow; it's not one you marvel at, or are wowed by the intricacies of Christie's imagination and plotting, but one you can read at a brisk pace and enjoy nonetheless. I also felt it all ended a little abruptly and some of the dialogue in the last few chapters stands out as being rather unrealistic and incongruous. But that does not ultimately cloud my enjoyment of the novel, for which ITV quite recently produced a beautiful adaptation. So, not Christie's absolute best, but thoroughly enjoyable anyway.
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on 3 August 2003
Hallowe'en Party is an enjoyable book that is quite gripping right from the start (except for the first chapter which is a bit on the dull side). The plot thickens (and I say 'thickens' literally because it does become quite complex) making the reader want to keep turning pages. Whilst the storyline is cleverly pieced together- Agatha Christie style- I found that the book was somewhat predictable. I use the word 'predictable' loosely because many things did puzzle me until the conclusion of the book, but the fact that I had been able to guess the basic ending of the book did ruin the who-dun-it atmosphere. To sum up, I would suggest the book for a quick, enjoyable read (the book is only approx. 200 pages) and I would suggest it to anybody who likes detective stories but I do warn potential readers that the book is not in the same league as some of Agatha Christie's masterpieces eg. 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd' and 'Murder on the Orient Express.'
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on 28 January 2002
Christie's vivid depiction of a Hallowe'en party gone wrong is capable of putting caution into the heart of any parent. The charachterisation and Christie's precise judgement of the nature of children are breath taking. However, unusually the book has one or two flaws. The book starts slowly but quickly gains interest and some major hints as to the culprit make it fairly easy to predict the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read another Christie, but for a "first-timer" it could be a bit disappointing in it's sublime simplicity.
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on 6 November 2010
Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver is at a children's Halloween party where rather unpopular girl named Joyce boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her she storms out of the party in a temper, but then her body is discovered a few hours later drowned in an apple bobbing tub. Ariadne calls in her dear friend Hercule Poirot who leaps at the chance to investigate the crime that could be a murder, or a double murder.

As a fan of both Halloween and mysteries I grabbed a copy of this last month in hopes of a seasonal read and was not disappointed. Admittedly I didn't read it until after I had watched the recent ITV adaption, which stuck pretty true to the book, but I still found the book really enjoyable. The plot was well thought-out and full of twists and turns. Some of the descriptions of what the teenage boys wear are particularly amusing 'a rose-coloured velvet coat, mauve trousers and a kind of frilled shirting.'

I haven't read many of Christie's books so I was a little thrown by references to past cases (The Labours of Hercules and Mrs McGinty's Dead in particular) but these weren't too prominent nor did they give spoilers. There are two returning characters: Superintendent Spence and Ariadne Oliver. Ariadne is my favourite character from the book. She teases Poirot continually and makes some great sarcastic comments (the title of my review being one of them).

The one thing I didn't really enjoy about the book was the intermittent references to the relaxed nature of the criminal justice system (it was written shortly after the abolishment of capital punishment) and criminals being sent to psychological institutions rather than prisons. It doesn't detract from the book, but it is a recurring theme that most of the characters express an opinion on at some point.

Oh, and the reviewer that says the book comes in at a little over 200 pages must have a different edition to me - mine is 336 pages.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 48/50
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on 31 August 2013
Agatha Christie books overall are brilliant and I can't read enough of them. Having said that I have to agree with a previous reviewer in that AC's better books were her earlier one's, so although this book isn't bad, it wasn't her best one either.

A child brags while she is helping to prepare for a Halloween party that she witnessed a murder. At the end of the party itself she is found dead in the bobbing for apples bucket. Mrs Oliver, a guest at the party is so shocked that she turns to her faith full friend Hercule Poirot for assistance. Can Poirot solve this case quickly or does he end up digging up the past to find out when this supposed murder took place in order to catch the killer of the most recent victim.

Relaxing read. Would recommend.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2010
It is Hallowe'en and you have been invited to an Eleven Plus party. The house is filled with yellow pumpkins and the broomstick making contest has just finished (first prize: a broomstick). The programme of entertainment continues: Bobbing for apples, flour & sixpence and Snapdragon. Everyone agrees the party has been perfect. No-one has noticed the dead body in the library.

Everyone in Woodleigh Common is bonkers. No-one seems much concerned that a girl has been murdered ('she was always lying') least of all her brother or sister, or that a small Belgian detective with corns is asking them questions. I began to wish that Miss Marple was present, to provide a little normality and human warmth and perhaps to notice that pumpkins aren't yellow and don't look like marrows.

Despite the sinister beginning (the party is very odd), this book soon settles down into familiar Christie territory and I was fascinated to find out the motive for the killing. Perhaps things are a little too familiar for regular readers, who will spot the criminal early on but The Hallowe'en Party still holds a satisfying hour or two for old-school mystery fans none the less.
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on 20 October 2012
Here we have the intrepid two, Poirot and Mrs Oliver, the celebrated novelist teaming up to solve a grizzly murder. At a Halloween party which Mrs Oliver has attended, a young girl dies as she is bobbing for apples. The assembled party are shocked at this terrible accident but Mrs O is convinced it is much more sinister than that. Enter M Poirot who takes up the reigns on this one and here is where this story differs from the norm. It is a more psychological mystery with a strong element of discomfort for the reader as it becomes clear we are dealing with a ruthless child killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want. I found it a little unsettling but I cannot fault the meticulous plotting and planning of this crime. Agatha at her most creative, a well told story with lots of red herrings along the way.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2010
This is about the fourth time I have read this book and I still love it. It was one of the first Agatha Christie's I read as a teenager when I went through a phase of devouring everything I could get my hands on.

I picked it up again this week because of the title. What a perfect book to read in Halloween week, I thought: even thought I have read it so many times now, it has never lost its appeal to me. Spooky? No, not at all. Fun? Yes, absolutely!

The story starts with a famous author, Ariadne Oliver, who is attending a childrens halloween party in a pretty little English village. She is recognised by some of the children who start to quiz her about her books and complain that there isn't enough murder in them. One of the group, a rahter unpoular 13-year-old called Joyce, then pipes up "I saw a murder once" before being shouted down and laughed at by those around her. Trying to explain herself she then adds "but I didn't realise that it was a murder at the time." The party gets into full swing but before the night is out, Joyce has been found murdered face down in a bucket of bobbing apples...

Aridne sets off to see her old friend Hercule Poirot for help as she has become convinced that someone who overheard Joyce's claim to have seen a murder had wanted to shut her up. Poirot then sets about busy-bodying his way around the village, in true Poirot style, asking questions to anyone and everyone about what Joyce may have seen. And as in true Christie style, expect the unexpected!

I'm so glad I read this book again - picking up an Agatha Christie is like meeting up with an old friend; it's a real tonic
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