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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 December 2006
Agatha Christie might be old-fashioned but I still think she's the best crime plotter ever! This is vintage Christie, set in a big mansion over Xmas with all the family gathered - and a murder committed that seems impossible... The suspects all have both motive and opportunity, but Poirot negotiates his way with usual aplomb amongst them, to uncover one of Christie's more 'imaginative' murder methods. Fabulous!
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on 18 October 2012
I know The Murder of Roger Akroyd is supposed to be her masterpiece but for me this was Agatha at her very best. This was unsolvable and so unexpected I had to re read parts to see what I might have missed along the way! A country house at Christmas, a gathering of the clans and the sudden, quite brutal death of the elderly grandfather made this pure vintage Christie for me. Hercule as ever is sublime in his smart observations and dry wit, never missing a trick along the way with his usual ocd worries of disorder and draughts within this ancient crumbling manor. Snow, yule logs and Xmas puds abound to wrap around a yummy festive tale giving the reader a delicious seasonal murder mystery to solve. Simply the best!!
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on 9 January 1999
This book is wonderful, especially to read over the holidays, since it is set at Christmas. The characters are wonderfully developed, and I love how the key to solving the mystery was in the dialogue all along. I wish now that I had paid closer attention to the moustache that Poirot buys and the picture he has placed in his room. Double identity and a great plot twist at the end make this an enticing read.
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Although generally regarded as typifying the cozy murder mystery writer in whose books there is either a murder in a locked room or a murder at a family reunion in a country house, Agatha Christie rarely tried her hand at either of these murder mystery genres. In “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas”, however, she combines both.
The family is the dysfunctional Lee family, summoned to pass Christmas together in the house of old Simeon Lee, the patriarch. During this stressful reunion, a commotion followed by a blood-curdling scream is heard from the room on the first floor occupied by old Simeon. When the locked door is forced open, the furniture is found upended, the safe rifled, and Simeon is found lying dead with his throat cut. The door key is in place, on the inside of the door.
Having depicted how the family members despise, hate, or resent each other up to this point, Agatha Christie next allows the investigations and theories to develop. Poirot is on hand, but she cleverly allows other police inspectors and investigators to do most of the work and make most of the mistakes.
The solution is one you will never forget, but also one that you will probably never arrive at before Poirot reveals all. Agatha Christie is wonderfully clever at laying out all the clues in an arrangement that directs the reader away from the vital ones.
Apart from a few lines of description, almost everything in the text is dialogue. To anyone in the world who has not yet read this 1940 mystery nothing more need be said. To those who are re-reading it, I suggest they notice how cleverly it is plotted and planned.
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on 12 January 2015
My second book in the Poirot series and also my second book by the author. I was a little worried about reading this one as I had seen the tv adaptation and knew the ending. Not the best introduction to a whodunit....

But I needn't have worried. As expected the writing was so good that it really didn't matter, and in a way helped, making me scour the text trying to see where the trail was left to lead me to the culprit.

Most people are familiar with the traditional Poirot novel and this is no exception. A number of family members descend upon a mansion at the request of multi-millionaire Simeon Lee for Christmas. Simeon is a cruel man and in the past has upset all of his children, but now, crippled and old he appears to want to make amends.

When the old man is murdered, seemingly there is no way the killer could have left the room after committing the deed. The police are baffled, but luckily Poirot is in the neighbourhood and puts his little grey cells to work.

Well worth a read, whether you are new to the novels or not.
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on 5 February 2005
Hercule Poirot is spending Christmas in the country with his friend Colonel Johnson, Chief Constable of Middleshire, and suffering terribly from the lack of central heaintg ("Nothing like a wood fire", says Colonel Johnson, but Poirot disagrees). Disagreeable wealthy old tyrant Simeon Lee is bloodily murdered in mysterious circumstances, and Poirot is called in to investigate.
The house is full of Simeon Lee's put-upon sons and their put-upon wives, any one of whom might have had reason to do Simeon in, especially as he had just announced that he was about to change his will to include his beautiful young granddaughter Pilar, just arrived from Spain, whom none of the family had ever set eyes on before. The family are anxious to insist that the murder was an outside job, but Poirot is equally convinced that it was not.
This is one of the best Poirot mysteries, with lots of interesting characters, especially the delightfuly vivacious, high-spirited and unconventional Pilar, and a cunning murderer to unmask. A real Christmas treat.
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on 25 December 1998
I'll have to agree with the first reviewer of this novel. The title is a bit misleading. However, I do believe that Agatha meant it to be that way. I have studied literature for a while and know that the everything that is in the novel is meant for something. To all the people wanting to read this novel, here's a tip: Everything that is stated in the book, diaglogue, details, etc. are all key to solving the mystery. To all of us Agatha fans, it proves to be true. The characters are very well developed, much better than any other Agatha novel I've read to date. The plot is priceless, the identities confusing (deliciously so!), and the conclusion is a shocking. Agatha knows how to lead her readers on, and proves so with this tale of murder and mayhem around Christmas time. At the beginning of the conclusion, who think it's Suspect A, but then you lean towards Suspect B, and at the end, Poirot reveals in all grandness the killer, and you're sitting there kicking yourself saying, "Why didn't I think of that!" The pacing of the book is good and I read it in two days. The suspense builds and the storytelling is at it's finest. For those of you waiting for a plot summary, read the synopsis above. I won't reveal anything for it'll ruin the surprise of the novel. Though not one of her famous books, it's one her best, this one definitely deserves your money!
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on 10 July 1998
Although this book does not compare to Agatha Christie's more famous ones such as "Murder of Roger Ackroyd", "A.B.C. Murders" and "The Man in Brown Suit", however the plot in this book is definitely intriguing. The murder is quite an orthodox one. A tyrannical and wealthy old man is murdered whilst all his family had gathered for Christmas at his invitation. It appears to be a case of murder for monetary benefits by one of the family members. Almost all have a motive and a possible chance to kill the old man. Yet, the end is quite interesting. I found the story so exciting that I finished it in one go.
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Hercule Poirot is spending Christmas with a Chief Constable when a murder takes place not far away. Naturally Poirot's expertise proves invaluable in solving the crime and bringing the murderer to justice. Simeon Lee is a particularly dislikeable corpse and anyone in the house - and many outside it - could have had the motive to do away with him. He has invited all his relatives to spend Christmas with him and then he plays one off against the other.

There are two strangers in the house - Stephen and Pilar - the son of Simeon's former business partner and his only grand daughter respectively. Are they really who they claim to be and what are their reasons for spending Christmas in a house full of strangers? Naturally the family suspect the strangers.

I became totally engrossed in this well written and well plotted story and had to keep reading until I found out who had committed the crime. The answer was not at all who I thought it was either though the clues were there if I had read them correctly.

I have yet to read a bad Agatha Christie crime novel - they are all of an excellent standard. Background, characters, plot are all first class.
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on 3 October 2001
Isn't it great to read one of Christies books for the first time and know you've found a real gem. Her clues and red herrings have led you to so many theories along the way that you've lost track, given up, admitted you're beaten. All you have left to do is read on where all will be revealed, and you know it's going to be worth the wait. That is how I was with this book. What a great story! A brilliant atmosphere, clues staring you in the face, and a solution that I couldnt have been more satisfied with. Who'd have thought.............well, that would be telling! If you are at all into her work, you are probably going to love this. I think it deserves to be more famous than it is.
Go on, read it! I defy you to work it out.
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