This week’s Agatha Christie isn’t quite the romp of the previous entry, but like all her tales, is wonderfully engaging and entertaining as she weaves a tale of murder, secret marriages, servants, doctors, drugs, wayward sons, and hidden secrets and truths.
And in the middle of it all, Hercule Poirot.
This one is a bit of a shorter read, but nonetheless very engaging, and for the first time in one of the Poirot stories I was a little confounded on who the murderer could be, to say nothing of their motive. We are introduced to a variety of characters, with Dr. Sheppard telling the tale through a first person narrative.
His interactions with his sister, one of the local town gossips, who seems to know everything are delightful, and sets a wonderful image of a small village. A village where Poirot has decided to retire to. He is asked to look into the case by one of those involved, which slightly miffs parts of the local constabulary, but pays off in the end, because Poirot is tenacious, and Christie lays out the clues for us, but doesn’t let you see the truth of the matter.
The reveal on this one explained why I couldn’t deduce who had done it, and I won’t spoil it for anyone else who is going to venture into this tale, but I was delighted by it, and it shows how Christie plays with expectations and the story itself.
One truly has to pay attention to every detail she doles out, because they all matter, each in their way, and while I was pursuing the red herrings that sprang up around alibis and suspects, the truth was right there the whole time.
These books continue to give me a measure of delight I would not have had when I was originally introduced to them, and Christie’s wry sense of humour often has me exclaiming out loud, and then proclaiming to all in range how enjoyable, and damned funny her writing remains.
This one was highly enjoyable, and while not the romp the previous tale was, it was still incredibly entertaining and a rapid fire read.
It was nice to spend some time in Poirot’s company again (I do delight in how she writes that engaging, polite, and so on the ball, Belgian detective), though by the time he got to the denouement I was feeling quite imbecilic – I had no clue this time around! Incredibly clever, lots of fun, and there are so many more to come.
Next time I dive into her first collection of short stories, Poirot Investigates!