- Author: Agatha Christie
- Series: Hercule Poirot (Book 2 of 41)
- Genre: Murder Mystery, Crime
- Date Read: Nov 25th -3rd Dec 2018
- Rating: 5 stars
“You may know all about cigarettes and match ends, Monsieur Giraud, but I, Hercule Poirot, know the mind of man.”– Hercule Poirot
I am a massive fan of Agatha Christie’s work that being said I have only read 4 of her books, including this one. I have mainly consumed her work through TV and film and only now as I am older have I started to read her books instead of watching the mystery unfold on the screen.
Plot: Poirot gets sent an urgent letter by a man called Mr Paul Renauld upon urgent matters he would tell him about upon his arrival but when Poirot arrives to France per Mr Renauld’s request he finds that he is too late. Mr Renauld is already dead! With a mysterious past and the rumour of affairs, Poirot finds himself in a truly complicated case.
The characters were incredibly fleshed out which I really appreciated as my first thought was they were going to be walking stereotypes. My personal favourites were Poriot himself and Giraud, the French detective bought in to solve the case. These two characters are complete polar opposites to each other. Poirot is more calculating and takes his time while Giraud was like a puppy on a scent and was boisterous in his approach, overlooking certain elements. Poirot’s dialogue was perfection throughout the whole novel especially in the scenes between him and Giraud. I loved the scenes where they butted heads and had differing opinions.
Hastings as a character was quite infuriating especially near to the end of the novel, he was naïve and at times just plain stupid. I had moments where I wanted to shout at him because he was clearly making mistakes and had a constant lack of judgement. But as a narrator I loved him. This novel wouldn’t have worked if it was Poirot as the narrator or a random member of the accused party. We got to be as close to Poirot’s brain as possible but because Hastings didn’t fully understand certain elements of the case or what Poirot is saying as a reader we aren’t given all the information like we would be if Poirot was the narrator.
The plot was incredible. I can’t put into words how intricate and complex it was, just when you thought it was all sorted another twist or turn or point to consider was thrown into the mix and you are never fully settled until the last page. I was kept on my toes throughout the entire book. Christie has a really good ability to hand you loads of vital information but without revealing the core question which is, “Who killed Mr Renauld?” And that’s what kept me going as I was still waiting for this key question to be awnsered.
The plot is the main driving force on this book, the writing is average I was astounded by the writing style and you don’t need to be as the plot is so smart you forget about the writing and are waiting for the next big moment or reveal.
One part where I wasn’t sure if I liked or hated it was halfway through the book Poirot and Hastings just summarise points made in the last couple of chapters. This was good from a wrap-up point because if I was confused by anything it was explained but also felt slightly out of place to the rest of the narrative. But I can’t pinpoint my thoughts on it.
I loved the book for keeping me on my toes throughout the it’s entirety and being utterly unique. I don’t think anyone can match Christie’s work, I cannot wait to read more.
Next book: The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis