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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2010
Agatha Christie's first published novel also introduces her most famous creation, Hercule Poirot, who appears in nearly forty of her books. What I found especially interesting was how she portrayed him at the beginning of her career, given that new characters tend not to be fully developed. Poirot, it turns out, is almost the finished article. There is one odd moment when, having learned something which helps his investigation, he takes to skipping with excitement down the road. This is out of character, not so much because he is supposed to be rather elderly as because it does not fit in with his usual conceit. As far as I am aware, he never behaves like that again.

As for the story, it establishes Christie's stock in trade: a country house murder in which the main protagonists are drawn from the upper classes. The solution is also typical, being tidy and ingenious, although there is one aspect of it which I feel lacks credibility. Naturally, I will not reveal what it is.

Christie is often attacked, with some justification, for samey characterisation. There is evidence in her early novels, however, that she worked harder on this area, probably because she was not established. In this novel, as well as the memorable Poirot and his incurably romantic companion, Hastings, Christie defines her main characters markedly with gestures and speech patterns. I think this is a sturdy, largely satisfying first novel, although many better ones were to come.
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on 18 March 2013
As an avid Poirot fan since my childhood, I have read many of Agatha Christie's novels. When I bought this I, with some niavity, didn't really think that Poirot's last case would result in his death! In hind-sight, it was the only fitting way for such a genius to end his illustrious career.

The plot is as fulfilling as ever and Christie has once again captured Poirot's enigmatic performance.

A terrific read, although I was left shaken for a couple of days when the reality of no more Poirot 'sunk-in'. try to be brave!! Ha x
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on 11 March 2016
Minor issue with the courier, but the company was great and helped resolve it. No issues with the book's condition.
My mother was very excited to finally get around to reading Poirot and is enjoying herself reading it will sipping the Baileys and eating the chocolates she also got on Mother's Day!
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on 3 December 2009
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.
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on 8 November 2011
As a huge Christie fan, I was surprised at myself that all of the books, I never read the very first case of Poirot. The plot is ingenious and I don't agree with some people saying that there are some flaws in the storyline. Only thing I was annoyed at was the fact that Hastings proposed to a girl he barely knows just to make her happy, typical Hastings and his women lol! Overall, I think this is a good first case to encounter with Poirot and his genious.
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on 14 March 2014
This book is good value for money but a bit different to other Agatha Christie novels. It makes the reader feel tinged with sadness at the demise of Hercule Poirot throughout; even though it has all the usual twists and turns.
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on 29 November 2013
Having read almost all her books many years ago I have decided to reread them, having forgotten the plots. I am astounded at how good a writer she is (succinct, witty, dazzling dialogue) as well as being able to construct such intricate story lines. This story is a great example of her style and form. I was genuinely surprised by the outcome.
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on 9 August 2013
This book brings together everything and is the perfect ending for the partnership of Poirot and Captain Hastings. For all you Poirot fans, this is one of the most beautifully books written. Although with the Poirot books, you don't need to read them in any order, it is advisable that before reading this one, that you read 'The Mysterious Affair at Styles' - Poirot's first case with the brilliant Hastings. Agatha Christie has truly outdone herself this time and no other ending would have been better for the most loveable belgium detective
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on 28 April 2013
I had wanted to read this book for ages and wasn't disappointed. It hasn't been shown yet on TV and so I knew nothing about it and as with all Agatha Christie novels it was very different. I was sorry to read of the demise of Poirot but pleased to catch up with Hastings.
You need to read right to the end to get the full story and I didn't work out what had happened. I did wonder at one point if Hercule himself had been fooled.
A quite easy read but very enjoyable - if you like Agatha Christie then you won't be disappointed
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on 4 October 2001
If you don't already know it, this is Poirot's last case.
I came across this book after I had read MANY other Poirot's cases and I was familiar with the surroundings. Lady Agatha takes us back to Styles Court, where we first met the little Belgian man with the egg shaped head. And so, the circle is closed.
This is, in my opinion, the most mature of Christie's stories. Poirot faces the ultimate assassin: an individual capable of the perfect crime. He understands his methods, but also finds it impossible to intervene. And so he takes the matter on to his own hands, although knowing that no crime can go unpunished.
Maybe the essence of the book is in the last few lines, hidden by a mark on a man's forehead. Don't miss it.
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