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Enjoyable enough but not a classic example of a whodunnit'
on 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.