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Overwritten characters, unbelievable solution.
on 5 January 2015
(No spoilers here as regards outcome)
To me, this is far from Christie's best work. With a solution so convoluted that it defies credibility. And a murder method so not-guaranteed of success that it beggared belief. So much so that any murderer entertaining it for more than a moment would deserve the gallows for his halfwittedness alone.
The first third or so drags uncharacteristically. Written in the first-person by a minor character who is as much an onlooker as a participant in events, it's an unusual format too, but that didn't affect the story's quality. With this one I really do feel that Christie way-overreached the bounds of - everything really. The book itself has a number of typesetting errors, which I haven't noticed in others but those weren't sufficiently numerous to rankle overmuch.
An annoying feature of so many of these books is having a culprit who (at the finale-always-compulsory-assembly of all possible perpetrators) bows to the detective's sleuthing rather than just deny everything. So very many of them in Christie hoodunnits do just that, when outright denial would most likely mean that the reasoning used to work out the solution would in itself not prove a full suite of proof necessary to convict.
In this one, Poirot's reasoning was quite unbelievable and so in my mind Christie failed to carry things through in her usual way.