Top critical review
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There are no spoilers in this review
on 26 September 2006
First some bad news for collectors of the Harper Collins Poirot: this volume contains "Murder on the Links" (which is available in the first Battles of Hastings anthology) and it's also one of the shortest of the Poirot anthologies. In fact, it's 200 pages (that's an entire novel!) shorter than the second Battle of Hastings volume for the same price. For this reason alone, I'd suggest that you buy other anthologies before you buy this one.
Murder on the Links (4/5)
There's a lot to enjoy in this book, especially Poirot's rivalry with a French detective who displays almost as much arrogance as he does himself. It isn't too difficult to solve part of the puzzle, but the later convolutions will leave most readers foxed.
The Mystery of the Blue Train (3/5)
This is a rather flat novel, devoid of clues and detail. The basic mystery is okay, but it could easily have been handled as a short story and the absence of a first-person narrator means that the narrative itself has less charm than, for example, the Hastings novels. One interesting side note: this seems to be the first visit by Christie to St. Mary Mead, which was to become the scene two years later of the first Marple novel.
Death in the Clouds (4/5)
A lively and enjoyable novel. Not only is the mystery itself an engaging puzzle, but the presence of detective novelist at the scene of the crime, and some vivid minor characters keeps the investigation ticking along to the conclusion.