on 27 April 2011
This is one of Christies earlier Poirot books, narrated by Captain Hastings. Lord Edgware is stabbed to death, and it looks like a clear cut case against his wife, Jane Wilkinson. However, at the same time she was seen entering Lord Edgwares study she is also at a dinner party, seen by 12 witnesses, and even more strange is that Lord Edgware has just granted her a divorce, removing her motive for the murder........
The book has Christies brilliant plot, with excellent suspense and hidden twists, dead ends and red herrings. There is quite a bit of anti-Semitism, though this is the last book that its really noticable in, and at that time It was the general way of speaking/ thinking rather than Christies particular personal beliefs.
A must read for all Christie fans, or for fans of crime fiction in general.
on 22 February 2012
You might find this difficult to believe, but until this weekend I'd never knowingly read an Agatha Christie novel.
I was in a youth hostel, had finished the books I'd taken and had to pick from their shelves.
Having chosen and then decided against several of the more likely options, I came across 'Lord Edgeware Dies'. On the inside of the cover, it reminded me that 'Agatha Christie' is known throughout the world as the Queen Of Crime'. That was the clincher. It also seemed thin enough for me to get through in a couple of days.
'Lord Edgeware Dies' is a Poirot novel. He's that lovable Belgian sleuth, the one I've seen on the telly so many times and switched over from to avoid the prospect of an ITV interpretation of the early 20th Century. Thought I've never watched the programme, it still gave me a strong image of the man and it seemed to fit pretty well.
Poirot and sidekick Hastings happen upon their latest mystery in the land of London theatre. Whilst taking supper at the Ritz later on, they come across a group of actors and it's not long until Jane Wilkinson (beauty, actress and the current Lady Edgeware) has persuaded the pair to join her upstairs at her private suite to discuss a few matters. Having earlier announced that she'd happily kill her husband, she asks Poirot to intervene with Lord Hastings and get him to divorce her so that she can marry even further up on the social ladder.
Enter a group of theatre cronies that includes Carlotta Adams, actress of some talent and mimic of the stars, including Lady Edgeware.
A brief sketch is given of all the characters and the ball is spinning.
It turns out Lord Edgeware has already agreed to divorce. Poirot is perplexed. He's even more perplexed when his lordship is found murdered in his study, double so when Carlotta Adams is found poisoned.
Lady Edgeware has been seen entering her husband's home on the night of the murder. Following her statements about being prepared to kill him she's the obvious suspect, only she has a cast-iron alibi.
Oh who could it have been? Which socialite could have done the deed? And did I care?
I actually did care rather a lot. Enough to sneak the book from the youth hostel at the end of our stay and to grab reads whenever I could.
The ending was utterly satisfying, too.
It got me wondering about the whodunnit format and about how Agatha had managed to keep me so engrossed.
Many of the books I read have a whodinnit element. It's a great way for an author to create a page-turner if they can hook a reader in by making them care enough. I guess a lot of you will recognise that.
So what was it that AC did for me in this book, one I'd ordinarily have poo-pooed?
First off, the relationship between Poirot and Hastings is a pleasing one. On the one hand there is a need for evidence and a deep desire to understand the psychological elements involved (including the why?) and on the other, an almost naive sidekick who chips in with child-like observations every now and then to give Poirot other angles.
Hastings has a more important role in terms of the structure. He's the voice. As such, he can give us all the information that Poirot is prepared to articulate without ever being able to reveal his deeper thoughts. It's a teasing process that works really well.
Then there's the desire to be smarter than the author. It's as if we can outsmart the writer by working it all out before the end. Better still, right at the beginning. AC plays on this vanity perfectly. Everyone who turns up to see Poirot (and they usually do) is a suspect. They all have their motives, character flaws, loose mouths. We're given clues about them all. When they were dropped I collected them as if it were me on the trail - one for my pocket that I'll bring out later to prove I was right all along.
Now that's where she's really good. She filled my pockets with clues. I had a net full of red-herrings, enough to feed the 5000. In turn, thought Poirot, she showed me that she knew exactly what I'd been thinking, known that I'd picked up on it and rubbed my nose gently in it. Great work.
Perhaps it's her modus operandi - build up each individual as if they'd done the deed, and make them everything but. By the way, I racked up five or six suspects in the end; got the whole thing completely wrong.
The setting, wealthy classes and glitzy settings is also really entertaining and far from the twee irritation I half-expected. It means the butler could always have done it because practically everyone has servants in some form or other.
Telling the vast majority of the story through conversation also helped keep it lively and thrilling. That's difficult to explain. I work on the idea that too much exposition in dialogue is a bad thing. It leaves me wondering if it's exposition she's actually giving thought the dialogue or something else entirely. To answer that, I'll probably have to read more of her books and I fully expect to now that I've dipped in my toe. I even look forward it.
All I need to do now is book another break in Arnside and slip the book back onto the shelf - wouldn't want any mustachioued smart-alec asking me where I was on the weekend of the 19th now, would I?
When Jane Wilkinson, Lady Edgware, contacts Hercule Poirot to ask him to intercede with her husband so that she can get a divorce and marry another man, Poirot agrees reluctantly. Lord Edgware, it turns out, is surprised by this request since he had written a letter to Jane agreeing to end their marriage three months before. Lord Edgware is soon discovered dead, and a woman identified by witnesses as Jane, his estranged wife, has entered his house late on the night of his death. The problem? Jane Wilkinson has been at a dinner party that night, and twelve other guests have seen her.
In this novel, written in 1933, Hercule Poirot is in his seventh outing as Christie's detective, and, joined by his redoubtable assistant, Capt. Arthur Hastings, he "helps" Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard in the solution to this complicated case. The world of theatre plays an important role--Jane Wilkinson and Carlotta Adams (soon the "late" Carlotta Adams) are actresses, and several other characters, notably Brian Martin, have theatrical careers. The world of art also plays a role in the conclusion, and the lives of aristocrats and would-be aristocrats, such as Jane Wilkinson, along with their servants and staff, keep the action high-toned, but not high-principled.
Poirot rises to the ensuing challenges when two more murders take place. Relying on his "little gray cells" as much as on the clues he finds--in a letter written by a murder victim before death, in an engraved gold case filled with Veronal, in secret loves, and in positive witnesses who may not have witnessed what they think--Poirot provides the reader with much amusement, the result of his affectations, and much suspense, since he does not share his thoughts until he the time of his grand announcement. The clever ending contains a tour de force which adds an extra bit of clever amusement for the reader.
Though the mystery is clever and the interplay of the characters allows the mystery to develop in a way that keeps the reader off-guard but believing in Poirot, the casual anti-semitism revealed here may undercut the reader's full admiration for the novel. Though this is not a major part of the novel, the fact that it appears at all--in England, just five years before Kristallnacht brought all of Europe to attention--casts a surprising light on English sentiments, at least among the upper classes. Mary Whipple
on 15 June 2014
Glamorous actress Jane Wilkinson is desperate for a divorce from her abusive husband, Lord Edgware, and declares publicly that she could cheerfully kill him. Poirot agrees to see his lordship on her behalf, only to be told he agreed to a divorce months ago. 24 hours later, lord Edgware is found dead. Jane is the original main suspect, but how can she have killed him when at the same time she was attending a dinner party with twelve other guests? It will take all of Poirot's little grey cells to resolve this case.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story; the way Poirot is forced to painstakingly unpick the tangle of suspects and motives to uncover the murderer while the number of victims gradually mounts held my attention. The story is told from Hastings' point of view and Hugh Fraser does his usual excellent job as the narrator, effortlessly switching voices for the different characters.
on 26 April 2016
You can always be reasonably sure of what you’re getting when you pick up an Agatha Christie book – they usually follow a similar formula, albeit with different characters and circumstances, and Lord Edgeware Dies is no different. Written and published during her relatively early years, when Christie was at the height of her powers in my opinion, it’s a Hercule Poirot story that focuses on the death of the former Lord Edgeware, along with several other victims who serve as collateral damage along the way.
There are plenty of twists and turns to be had throughout the story, some of which I saw coming and others that surprised the hell out of me, as well as one final twist at the end, when the murderer is revealed. Again, that’s pretty much a custom, and a staple of the detective genre. Here, it works well.
I was also impressed by the fast-paced plot – I read this book in the space of a couple of days, because I just didn’t want to put it down, and because there was always something happening and a question which was left unanswered. I’ve always been impressed by people who write detective novels – the story line has to be subtly interlinked throughout for it to work well, which requires a hell of a lot of planning. I was never one for planning.
Overall, then, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that this is my favourite of Christie’s works, but it’s definitely in the top 20% – it was a cracking little mystery which, despite my best efforts, I was unable to solve. I also felt as though the characters stood out strongly here, so much so that I’ll remember them – that doesn’t always happen, which is a good thing in a lot of ways because it allows you to re-read them. Here, I think I’d still re-read it, even though the story line feels like it’s so strongly etched on my mind that I won’t ever forget it.
on 3 September 2010
This is one of my favourites of the Christie novels I've read so far. It's fairly traditional in its set up but keeps the reader guessing.
Poirot is hired by Lady Edgware to obtain a divorce for her, but even after the Lord grants his consent, she is still witnessed to murder him, despite also having a watertight alibi at a dinner party.
The reason I loved this book was because I found it very easy to come up with my own theory, and to adapt it as each piece of evidence came to light - ultimately resulting in my correctly identifying the murderer. Admittedly, in one or two places this made some elements feel a little to obvious for the characters to miss, but then it is written from Captain Hastings viewpoint and so Poirot's thought processes can remain a mystery.
I enjoyed it and can only hope that this signifies something of a return to form for the Poirot novels, which I am working my way through in publication order.
on 6 March 2016
One of the only Poirots in which I've 'got' both the culprit and twists before the big reveal.
Well written and as readable as always this isn't one of my favourite Poirots, I found the plot a little simple and predictable and the characters just a teeny bit bland.
Having said that, I did enjoy the interplay between Hastings and Poirot.
on 11 April 2016
I really like this book as it is very interesting and it makes you want to keepp on reading all the time. It is also very good when you THINK you've found out the murderer, but then, very soon after, you find information that condraticts your previous thoughts.
on 14 February 2008
This is a very good novel indeed ! It involves three of Agatha Christies brilliant creations who were made to go to together i.e. the great Poirot , the lovable Hastings and the dogged Japp . There is a great deal of suspense & drama as one reads it you can imagine messars Suchet , Fraser and Jackson saying the lines . In the end you have the grim satisfaction of the moralist proved right as the murderer gets the inevitable punishment . It must be a very successful novel because it is one of the few that both Sir Peter Ustinov & David Suchet have done for TV . The only others that they have both filmed are Evil Under The Sun & Death On The Nile . Aagtha Christie has constructed some excellent characters - Lord Edgware Dies the novel would have benefited from Miss Lemon's inclusion . But fans of the character need look no further that David Suchets fine adaptation as filmed in the late 1990's . This novel has its own fair share of twists & turns and by having the great sleuth , his lovable sidekick and investigating officer grasping at straws you can see Dame Agatha has learned from Arthur Conan Doyle's way of writing detective fiction ( i.e. for Poirot read Holmes , Hastings is a character a la Watson and of course for Japp Lestrade was an obvious template for Agatha Christie ) . She sets the scene very well and it is wonderfully easy to read and so is handy both for train or coach journey's and rainy afternoons . A great way to relax . I read the novel and enjoyed wathcing both Suchet and Ustinov in their seperate TV movies conveying the same story in different ways . They both do it justice and seeing David Suchet as Japp in Thirteen At Dinner is an absolute hoot . Amazon.co.uk are superb for selling such a great Christie classic at such a fair price !
on 8 September 2013
As with pretty well everything Christie, this is an excellent read. My usual gripes, e.g. all 'locals and servants' speaking "There's them as says..." language is there, as is the usual Poirot expostulation that he has been "an imbecile - I have been an imbecile" about three times before he finally solves it. But - petty when compared to the easy reading enjoyment this book provides. The twists and tricks leave you thinking that first X did it, then Y, then Z, and, as usual, not spotting the real culprit until Poirot reveals who it is. The way he puts the clues together is fanciful, improbable to the poiint of impossible, but, hey, I'm getting petty again! Buy it, read it, it is excellent enjoyment.