Customer Reviews


89 Reviews
5 star:
 (45)
4 star:
 (30)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant debut
Agatha Christie's first novel, written in 1916 during World War 1, set the pattern for many of her classic books - it is told in the first person by Hastings, set in a large, isolated country manor, has half-dozen suspects, most hiding secrets from their past, and the plot teases us with surprise twists and red herrings. It met with critical acclaim for its ingenuity and...
Published 8 months ago by Aletheuon

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Poirot
Any Poirot fan will love this if only because it's the world's first glimpse of the Belgian hero. I was quite surprised at how 'complete' he is - I expected to find him rather different from the character he grew into but, no, he's pretty much all there, right from the start. Hastings is here too and it's nice to see how their partnership came about. Poirot is a refugee...
Published on 6 Jun 2012 by daisyrock


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Poirot, 6 Jun 2012
Any Poirot fan will love this if only because it's the world's first glimpse of the Belgian hero. I was quite surprised at how 'complete' he is - I expected to find him rather different from the character he grew into but, no, he's pretty much all there, right from the start. Hastings is here too and it's nice to see how their partnership came about. Poirot is a refugee from Belgium during the first world war while Hastings is the guest of an army buddy and a poisoning takes place during his stay. Bad timing bad guys!

Christie uses all her devices and tricks from the off - mistaken identity, tangled love affairs, coincidences, secret alliances and red herrings galore. It's a nostalgic, cosy read and - as with all Christie - you have to take the antiquated opinions of some of the characters with a pinch of salt as products of their era. For me, not Christie's best, but a great start to a fabulously fun series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant debut, 1 April 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Agatha Christie's first novel, written in 1916 during World War 1, set the pattern for many of her classic books - it is told in the first person by Hastings, set in a large, isolated country manor, has half-dozen suspects, most hiding secrets from their past, and the plot teases us with surprise twists and red herrings. It met with critical acclaim for its ingenuity and plotting and for Christie's knowledge of drugs.
Hercule Poirot, Inspector Japp, and Arthur Hastings are all introduced in this book. Poirot is a Belgian refugee who, helped by Emily Cavendish, sets up home near her, in England. Hastings, an old friend, arrives as her guest. When she is murdered, Poirot demonstrates that he is a skilled detective by solving the mystery. The main suspect is her new and much-younger husband, Alfred Inglethorpe, but it emerges that the evidence against him is contrived. He is, it seems, hated by Evelyn Howard, Emily's paid companion and disliked and mistrusted by her children and the rest of the household. Who would fabricate evidence against him?
This was widely recognised as a very good first novel and, of course, Agatha Christie went on to a sixty year career as a detective story writer. She wasn't the world's greatest literary writer but her plots and her two famous detectives, Poirot and Miss Marple, kept people hungry for more. Her books translate very well to the screen, showing how strongly structured her stories are and how good her characterisation. To be absolutely honest, I prefer the television adaptations of her books to the books themselves, which may just prove that I am a Philistine. However, this is a very good detective novel for its time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST, 16 Dec 2002
After reading many of Agatha's books before, i was expecting this to be just as enthralling. But as the first book she ever wrote, i found it to be the best i have ever read. Meticulous Hercule Poirot is at his finest along with sidekick Hastings and the plots and twists of the book are simply brilliant; Christie is a genius. The only downside to the book is the slightly slow beginning but after the first few chapters i guarantee you won't be able to put it down! I gave it to my mum to read and she's been hooked on Agatha Christie ever since! A good read for young and old fans alike.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hercule Poirot's first appearance, 17 Feb 2011
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first book featuring Hercule Poirot and very good it is too. Hastings is invited to stay in the country with his friend John and is pleased to discover Poirot staying nearby. John's step-mother is murdered and Hastings suggests that Poirot should investigate. There are plenty of suspects and more than enough motives and the twists and turns in the plot will keep even the most observant reader guessing until almost the last page.

I liked the characters and the dialogue and there are plenty of clues and red herrings to divert suspicion. I'm never sure whether I like Poirot himself but I did enjoy this story which is probably one of the best examples of the classic detective novel. There is no violence or graphic descriptions of battered corpses. The victim is poisoned and the plot hinges on who could have obtained the poison and who had the opportunity and motive to administer the poison.

If you have not read any of Agatha Christie's plentiful output then this book - her first published - would be a good place to start.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opens the Golden Age of Detective Fiction., 25 Sep 2003
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Thirty-year old Mrs Agatha Christie turned a nice little profit with this, her first book, in 1920. It introduced Hercule Poirot. Wisely, she gave him many flamboyant, eccentric characteristics to leaven the depiction of detection work, but unwisely she created a character of advanced age that she subsequently needed to preserve for a further fifty years.
What became the regular Christie recipe for a whodunit is found here. Perhaps there is a tad more reliance on the dispensing of medicines, reflecting the author's occupation during World War One. A formula that she later discarded was the use of a narrator - Hastings - who presents one of the "cases" on his friend Poirot. 1920 and the publication of this book marked the opening of the "Golden Age of Detective Fiction". Expect that there are plenty of servants, plenty of drinks at bedtime, much making and re-making of wills, and characters - including Poirot - who walk everywhere.
This rates highly in the Christie collection for classic charm, readability and ingenuity. Few of her books from the 1920s excel it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant debut, 23 Oct 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Agatha Christie's first novel, written in 1916 during World War 1, set the pattern for many of her classic books - it is told in the first person by Hastings, set in a large, isolated country manor, has half-dozen suspects, most hiding secrets from their past, and the plot teases us with surprise twists and red herrings. It met with critical acclaim for its ingenuity and plotting and for Christie's knowledge of drugs.
Hercule Poirot, Inspector Japp, and Arthur Hastings are all introduced in this book. Poirot is a Belgian refugee who, helped by Emily Cavendish, sets up home near her, in England. Hastings, an old friend, arrives as her guest. When she is murdered, Poirot demonstrates that he is a skilled detective by solving the mystery. The main suspect is her new and much-younger husband, Alfred Inglethorpe, but it emerges that the evidence against him is contrived. He is, it seems, hated by Evelyn Howard, Emily's paid companion and disliked and mistrusted by her children and the rest of the household. Who would fabricate evidence against him?
This was widely recognised as a very good first novel and, of course, Agatha Christie went on to a sixty year career as a detective story writer. She wasn't the world's greatest literary writer but her plots and her two famous detectives, Poirot and Miss Marple, kept people hungry for more. Her books translate very well to the screen, showing how strongly structured her stories are and how good her characterisation. To be absolutely honest, I prefer the television adaptations of her books to the books themselves, which may just prove that I am a Philistine. However, this is a very good detective novel for its time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The red herrings go a touch too far, 3 Dec 2009
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
The very first novel in Christie's Poirot series serves as an excellent introduction to the Belgian detective and his extraordinary investigative skills. A suspicious death occurs in the family with whom narrator Captain Hastings is staying, and by happy coincidence his old detective friend is also staying in the village and able to investigate.

Like usual, coincidence plays a big part in the set up - getting the detective in place, but the rest of the story unfolds with genius. Poirot carefully peels back the layers of mystery, remarkably leading Hastings and the reader through every step. Each discovery that Poirot makes the reader think Aha! but still Christie leaves you unable to work it ot until the very end.

It does however follow the traditional Christie formula of upper class toffery, set mainly in the family mansion, with an over abundance of characters, any of whom could be the killer. But when Poirot finally explains all, it is clear that he is correct - all of the clues have been there to see all along.

My one major gripe with this novel is that in one case the red herrings went too far, to the point where the reader is absolutely convinced that one suspect is guilty, only to have it all turned on its head - I found this a little annoying, and would have preferred to have been left with an open mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The mysterious affair of the coffee cups, 25 Oct 2013
By 
T. Bently "tbently" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Spoilers! I really enjoyed this Poirot story once I'd got into it. It was Christie's first book and the scene in the hospital dispensary is an added interest since it mirrors the author's own life.
There are real frustrations however. It's supposed to be the First World War yet there are lots of people either loafing around or arranging cushions for rich Mrs Inglethorpe, plus three gardeners planting begonias in the garden. And the crime itself doesn't make sense. The victim dies after drinking strychnine at five o'clock in the morning from a large bottle of tonic. Why is she having a tonic? We're told her assistant usually pours it for her at lunchtime. And no-one even mentions she's regularly takes strychnine until page 133. Grrrr!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left me wanting more!, 10 Aug 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I chose this book as it was the first in the series and an introduction to Hercule Poirot. I was not disappointed. The plot kept me guessing, the characters were interesting and well portrayed - particularly Hastings - and it left me wanting to read more of Poirot. I've since read two more books in this series and recommend this as a starting point. You will want more!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I had a premonition of approaching evil", 22 Jun 2005
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Readers everywhere are grateful to the sister of Agatha Christie for placing a bet with her, claiming that the woman that nowadays is known as the Queen of Mystery would not be able to write a good detective story. That is actually how this novel and the character of Hercule Poirot came into existence. In this first effort we can see the basic traits that later established Christie as one of the best mystery writers ever, though some of her technique is not yet completely polished. For example we get only a brief description of each of the characters, except for Poirot, so it is hard to picture some of them clearly. Nevertheless, the story deserves high praise, and I am pretty sure Agatha won the bet!
The story is narrated by Hasting, who gets an invitation to spend some time in the country place of John Cavendish at Styles Court. Upon his arrival, Hasting notices that there is a certain level of tension in the family, since John's mother, Emily, has recently married a younger man, who the family considers to be a fortune hunter. Meanwhile, John and his brother Lawrance are having financial trouble, and a set of interesting characters surround Emily and have all kinds of suggesting exchanges with her. When the lady of the house is murdered it comes as no surprise. There is a main suspect, but also a myriad of possible candidates for the role of the killer.
Luckily, Hasting runs into Poirot at the time of these events, and the small man with the peculiar moustache, who has retired from the Belgian police, is more than happy to help solve the baffling case. Those that have read other novels by Christie know that the author has an outstanding ability to mislead us into believing we have discovered the culprit, only to turn the tables on us and leave us dumbstruck. This case is no different...Ahhh, those little grey cells!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews