Top critical review
The same winning formula, but not Agatha's best
on 22 March 2016
Hercule Poirot is remarked on as being nothing like the mighty Hercules, his near namesake. Apropos of this, he takes on 12 cases to end his career that are comparable to the 12 Labours of Hercules. In this case all the labours are metaphorical; the poisonous gossip of a small town takes the place of the Hydra, murky political scandal is the substitute for the Augean stables and an insalubrious nightclub takes the place of the Kingdom of Hades, in which a guard dog named Cerberus must be evaded.
I have read several Agatha Christies and this has all the enjoyable elements of any of them. Again, we are intrigued by the mysteries, suitably impressed by Poirot's deductions and the moral compass always points the correct way in the end. The best, I feel, was one in which a young man is tricked into thinking he is becoming schizophrenic in order to become the agent of a true murderer. However, the stories sound too contrived to ultimately be convincing, fitting as they do around the central theme.