Top positive review
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Listed on a website as one of Christie's top 10 books
on 25 November 2015
This was my second Agatha Christie book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It starts with you wondering what is going on as it is told in the first person. That person lives with his sister, Caroline, a terrible gossip who is always fishing for information and sticking her nose into other people’s affairs. If you dislike gossips, this book is worth reading for the description of her character alone e.g.:
'...The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr Kipling tells us, is: “Go and find out.” If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home…'.
Christie doesn’t let up – Caroline appears throughout the book and the descriptions of her are pithy.
In this book, Poirot is semi-retired. A murder unfolds and there are two oddities – two things that don’t make any sense. One of them is that the murder scene has been slightly changed. “Surely it isn’t important?” says one of the characters to Poirot. Poirot replies: “It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting”. For the rest of the book, you are left trying to figure out why it might be important, before Christie’s hallmark ‘grand reveal’ at the end of the book.
I found the mystery intriguing. I also smile at how things have changed since the book was written e.g. ‘It was Friday night, and on Friday night I wind the clocks…’; the arrival of the ‘evening post’; and a number of references to ‘the electric light’ - I find it interesting that back in 1926 when this book was written, they called a ‘light’ an ‘electric light’.
This was listed in the Guardian as one of Christie’s Top 10 books. However I would not read the synopsis on that web page as it hints at something which you don’t want to know (i.e. what the Guardian says is a bit of a spoiler).
I found the book a bit slow at the start but it gets better. Very much recommended.