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on 26 January 2003
Yes, despite all Agatha Christie's other top-notch mysteries 'After the Funeral' is my favourite. I have read it several times. The Abernethie family are portrayed with considerable depth and their family home, Enderby Hall, is described in a way that conveys real atmosphere. The events in the story (without giving anything too much away) include a bombshell dropped by an old aunt after a family funeral, an axe murder, poisoned wedding cake and an electrifying climax in the ancestral home courtesy of M. Poirot. An absolute classic!
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on 18 January 2017
Another classic by Dame Agatha. There's enough drama and atmosphere to make you turn the pages until the surprising end. One of her best.
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on 4 January 2006
Richard Abernethie, head of the large rambling and more importantly rich Abernethie family is dead, and the remnants of the family gather together in the family’s large country mansion house for his funeral. The person who makes the most impact at the funeral is Richard’s youngest sister, Cora, whom the rest of the family have not seen for years, who in her very own way of making inappropriate remarks, comments that “But he was murdered wasn’t he?”
Richard’s death which up until that point hadn’t been considered suspect is closely analysed by the members of the family and especially by the family’s solicitor Mr Entwhistle, whose suspicions are substantially increased when only a day after the funeral Cora herself is murdered in a frenzied hatchet attack.
The obvious motive is money and with Cora’s share of Richard’s will now being split amongst the other family members, Mr Entwhistle begins to make enquiries as to everyone’s whereabouts on the day of Cora’s murder. When he feels he has taken things as far as they can go he calls in a favour of an old friend, a certain M. Hercule Poirot.
The novel is very typically Christie with the various members of the family all having their own little secrets as to their real whereabouts and motives. Poirot poses as the head of a foreign charity planning to buy the house for refugees and thereby gains access to their movements.
It’s always quite hard to say when a Christie novel is set, as she very rarely mentions dates. Published in 1953 the book takes great care to mention how times are changing for the Abernethie family, they must sell the house knowing it will probably be bought by a company for redevelopment, much is made of the problems of securing “good staff these days” and poor M. Poirot, very much a celebrity in his day is now unheard of by the younger members of the family.
But these are all interesting and entertaining subjects to read of in a Christie book, along with her very un-PC writing about foreigners and the mental state of Cora, it is for these very outdated attitudes that make the books still so much fun to read. The actual hinge of the plot and crime is, as in many of her books, quite farcical and could never happen in real life (surely) but is still intriguing and lots of fun to read.
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on 7 November 2013
After the Funeral has some novel twists that turn it into a much more interesting Poirot investigation than I had been expecting, and it's one that I felt could benefit from being re-read to pick up on just how masterfully it has been crafted.

The mystery begins with the seemingly natural death of Uncle Richard, but at his funeral one of the mourners casts suspicion that he may have been murdered, and the deceased's lawyer turns to Poirot to find out the truth.

Like several of the series, Poirot is introduced quite late to proceedings and another character plays the part of protagonist for the opening chapters. This still feels slightly uncomfortable when the point of view shifts, but it enables Christie to write a narrative that seems more realistic and which reveals more to the reader than even to her detective, yet still leaves the reader grasping at straws and not seeing the coming conclusion.

The usual comedic asides, particularly around Poirot's affront at not being recognised, seem to go a step too far in this book, and break the flow of the narrative a little more than usual. Overall though it's a good strong mystery and one which I completely failed to solve despite spotting all of the major clues.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 January 2014
I saw that this was being included in the 2014 World Book Night selection, so I thought I'd try it. I'm not much of a 'whodunnit' fan, spending the whole book on the lookout for clues.

In true Christie style, a detective is called in to assist after a funeral of the head of a wealthy family appears to lead directly to his sister's brutal murder. The sister who was heard to say quite clearly that her brother was murdered. But with such a large family, who could be guilty?

Poirot himself only makes his first appearance halfway through, much of the initial detective work done by a family lawyer and an employee of Poirot. The famous detective only plays a larger role in the third act, when he (surprise surprise) brings all the suspects together for questioning and revelation.

It all seems to follow convention, and is quite enjoyable to guess and find the clues. As a one-off for me I enjoyed the experience but I'm not going to be reading the genre any more regularly. Characters are fairly flimsy, not a huge amount happens. It all follows a predictable pattern of structure that I think I would find personally a little tedious on repetition.

I wasn't too keen on Poirot, myself. Didn't warm to him as a detective and in this example I didn't find him well-written, maybe in other plots he has more back story and well-rounded appearance. I seem to remember liking him more in 'Death on the Nile' and 'Murder on the Orient Express', and preferring Christie's books with no series stalwart detective.

Still, it's a good way to while away a couple of hours, and as usual, the murderer isn't obvious.
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on 16 December 2012
The elderly and wealthy Richard Abernethie dies, and at the reading of his will his extended family gather to hear the fate of his estate. His eccentric younger sister Cora, famous for speaking out of turn, pipes up "It's all been hushed up rather well hasn't it ... but he *was* murdered, wasn't he?"

The next day Cora herself is found brutally murdered with a hatchet, and it is up to Poirot to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the Abernethie family....

It's surprising that this isn't one of Christie's more famous books - it has all the classic ingredients of a best-seller. Typical English country house murder-scene, with a lot of wealth and intrigue thrown in. I suppose the reason is that it's rather more sedate than other mysteries (Death on the Nile, A Murder is Announced), but this slight difference in style doesn't detract from what is essentially a brilliant mystery. Very cleverly done and if you keep your eyes peeled you might be able to guess it - the solution isn't just plucked out of nowhere. A great whodunnit with a classic Christie twist, at the end, as always! I thoroughly recommend it.
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A funeral is followed by the usual family gathering at which the dead man's sister comments that he was murdered. The remark causes consternation. The family solicitor is worried and the comment stirs his own doubts about the death. He decides to call in Hercule Poirot to investigate.

Then Cora, the lady who made the unfortunate remark, is found hacked to death and the police get involved as well as Poirot. What is gradually revealed as Poirot asks the family some awkward questions is a web of relationships which could have led to multiple murder.

This is a very cleverly plotted book with plenty of clues and red herrings to keep the most observant reader guessing. It certainly kept me guessing almost to the last few pages. If you enjoy classic crime novels then this is well worth reading. The Poirot series can be read in any order.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2009
A perfect example of classic Christie: a large family in decline, all its members at odds with one another, an ingenious plot which leads the reader determinedly in the wrong direction until the dénouement, lots of period detail, and Hercule Poirot to solve the mystery.

Hugh Fraser's perfect reading makes this a recording that can be listened to with real pleasure. Neither Joan Hickson nor David Suchet himself, marvellous actors though they both are, equal him in this medium, in my opinion.
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on 24 October 2016
When an infirm, elderly gentleman dies, there’s nothing about his death that seems suspicious. At least, not until one of his relatives says, “It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it… but he was murdered, wasn’t ?”

At first, Cora’s suspicions are ignored, but when she turns up dead after being murdered herself (with a hatchet, no less!), the rest of the family starts to ask themselves whether they’re really sure about what happened.

Now, you know what you’re getting with an Agatha Christie book, and in many ways they’re the same – she was always consistent, and there isn’t a great deal to mark this book out from the others. Still, it was eminently readable and I felt like I was whizzing through it, which is always a good thing for a murder mystery. I like the story line to be fluid and ever-changing – it’s way better than a jerky narrative where you have to stop every couple of pages to remind yourself what’s happening.

Poirot is here of course, and while he doesn’t feature too prominently in the story line, it’s certainly true that the mystery might not have been solved without him. You’ve just got to love the Belgian with the odd moustache.

Overall then, while this isn’t going to climb the ranks up to being my favourite of Christie’s detective novels, it’s still a damn good read and well-worth adding to your collection.
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on 12 May 2006
Following the funeral of Richard Abernethie, his surviving family gather to hear the will. Discussing the man's sudden death, his odd sister, Cora Lansquanet, opines that the matter has been hushed-up very well. After all, she says, he was murdered, wasn't he? Having set the cat amongst the pigeons, Cora herself is found murdered, presumably to ensure she couldn't name her brother's murderer.

Maybe this is not one of Ms Christie's best, but it is a clever puzzle, and there is a strong sense of times changing, as the ancient family prepares to watch their ancestral home pass into the hands of strangers, perhaps to be redeveloped into apartments. As always with Ms Christie's work, the story is full of clues and red-herrings, with every member of the family having something to hide and some motive for the murder. Poirot is fully the equal of everyone, and anyone who tries to deceive his "little grey cells", is wasting their time. This may not be the best of Ms Christie's books, but it is a very satisfying tale.
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