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4.5 out of 5 stars32
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2012
Hercule Poirot returns (eventually) for a small part in this murder mystery, set in the classic surrounds of an upper-class country home.

It's a good, complex mystery which I only had the slightest inkling of the solution for by the time of the big reveal, and a great and varied set of characters. The clues are well hidden and the narrative moves at a fair pace, though there were places where the narrative seemed to jump erratically and I wondered whether my copy was missing some paragraphs.

It's interesting to follow the series as Christie's writing progresses. Poirot himself returns to being a minimalist presence in this book much as in some of the earlier adventures (though without Captain Hastings' narration) and much of the story is around the characters he is investigating, who live much more modern lifestyles than some of the previous residents in country houses.

The characters certainly make the novel for me and I hope there is more to come in a similar style as I continue reading through Poirot's adventures.
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VINE VOICEon 5 April 2006
If I was to give a general overview of this novel it would sound like a classic Christie whodunnit: the big country house, the strange upper-crust family who all suffer from chronic emotional repression, tortured relationships, the victim found dying by the swimming-pool, and his murderer found standing over him with the gun in her hand. And, of course, M Poirot is conveniently staying down in the village. But all that would be doing Dame Agatha a disservice. Because in 'The Hollow' she has created something much more complex than that. The characters are far more multi-dimensional than you would think at a first glance (except perhaps for Veronica Clay, who is just a stereotypical selfish movie diva). The most striking example of this is her portrayal of Lucy Angkatell, the eccentric matriarch of the family. At first it looks as though Lucy is just going to be a tiresomely loveable "batty" character, but there is a disturbing, almost inhuman, darkness just below the surface, which confuses and unnerves her family when they glimpse it. (And let's face it, there is something decidedly odd about a person who views somebody being murdered in their garden as a bit of welcome light-relief to the usual daily round!). Also, in her portrayal of Henrietta Savernake, the sculptress, the author shows how single-minded the creative person often has to be. Poirot himself seems rather subdued in this story. Dame Agatha herself reputedly hated this book, because she felt Poirot ruined it. He doesn't of course, but he does seem strangely lost and ethereal without his usual good friends, Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Inspector Japp around him. There is a peculiarly haunting quality to this novel.
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on 25 January 2008
A typical Agatha Christie novel - murder, suspects, hardly/no witnesses and of course genius in the form of Poirot. Murder of an adulterous husband whose both mistress and wife are part of the key suspects and a large group of party. Yep you've guessed it. It's much more complicated than that this being an Agatha Christie novel. As Poirot starts to unravel the mystery and characters we see a side to Christie's novels rarely seen before. Here, she sets out not just analysing motives of a murder but looking at the nature of victims and how they lead to such mistakes. It is therefore I think I great book to read that Christie doesn't justify anything but lays down possibilities more rigorously than ever. Recommended if you want a psychological mystery.
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I am, like many people very familiar with adaptations of Agatha Christie stories on television; I have watched countless versions, often of the same story. However, I do not think I have ever seen a screen adaptation of this story.

This is only the second Agatha Christie novel I have actually read. I must say that the experience reading the stories is very different to watching them on TV. The thing that struck me with this one was that Hercule Poirot appears to be almost a walk on part rather than the central character. This was the experience I also had with the other Poirot novel I have read, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

The other thing that surprised me was how competent the police were. In terms of the proper nitty gritty of policing, they were well ahead of Poirot. It seems to me that Poirot's role was a more intuitive one. The case is perplexing because all the clues and information lead away from the truth.

The interesting question posed by the victim's son was not so much, "who killed my father?" but "why was my father killed?" I must say that this question doesn't get a satisfactory answer in this story and it makes for a curious detective story.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading it very much and would recommend anyone who enjoys watching Agatha Christie on television to switch to reading the books, the pictures are so much better.
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on 10 December 2006
The Hollow is bordering on the classic murder mystery style (there's even a suspicious butler. The plot puts nearly every character in the light of suspicion. This novel is stylishly brought to life in the fantastic ITV dramatisation, as an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.
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on 2 May 2012
Loved this book. Loved the language, the description / juxtaposition of cold and warm persons, of Midge and Edward being the salt of the earth, and John's devotion to his patients and medical research for Ridgeway's disease. I love Henrietta, her intelligence, her wit, and her courage. I think reading Agatha Christie is such a wonderful thing as it's not just about murder, or solving mysteries, but the psychology of people, their hidden secrets, their fears, desires, loves, and their despair. It's a sad book. It made me cry a lot. Agatha Christie doesn't judge, she doesn't say, Henrietta or John are terrible people for having affairs. Both are great people with faults and flaws. It made me so sad to think John was killed because it meant a stop/intervention at the further development of Ridgeway's disease, and perhaps Mrs ... will die. It's sad as Henrietta really loved him, and will have no one else to love and be close to. But death often makes people stronger, and wiser. Like Edward, he realised that without John Christow Henrietta will still not love him. And brave, warm Midge was able to escape her impoverished life and find Edward her protector and love. I love it when good people get together! Lucy is just crazy ... Anyway, one of my favourite books that describes love and people more than the murder. My other favourite Poirot book is 'Death on the Nile'. Enjoy!
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on 20 December 2015
This unique Agatha Christie novel is closer to a psychological study than a regular by-the-numbers mystery. The great author of whodunits relegates the criminal layer of the story under a very believable portrayal of main characters, especially three of them - Dr John Christow, his wife Gerda, and sculptress Henrietta Savernake. Still, the ever-dependable Hercule Poirot is able to see through a rather ingenious scheme pitted against him and acts before a killer commits another murder.
A different Christie, and definitely one of the better ones.
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on 6 June 2016
I'm a huge fan of Agatha Christie, and Poirot is probably my favourite fictional detective.
This though, was a rare disappointment.
The "whodunnit" element was obvious from the start. The characters supposedly eccentricities simply made them all very unlikeable, and worst of all, Poirot barely features, and when he does, he is merely a bystander, watching the events unfold.
Not one of my favourites!
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on 14 February 2016
This is one of Dame Agatha's better crime stories; there's not the feeling of the ridiculously over plotted instances that exist in A Murder is Announced or One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. The odd thing about this story is that everyone, including the victim, are not very nice people and Dame Agatha's tiresome anti-Semitism crops up in the character of Madame Alfrege.
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on 3 May 2016
One of the very very best Christies, from her most productive period of writing. Even if you can remember who did it, worth re-reading to see how she does it.
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