- Author: Sophie Hannah
- Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #2
- No. of pages: 371
- Dates read: 09.03.20. – 14.03.20
- Rating: 5 stars and a FAVOURITE!
- Reading Challenge: 2020 Sequels
Plot: Lady Athelinda Playford has planned a house party at her mansion in Clonakilty, Co Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will – one she intends to announce at dinner that night. She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who only has weeks to live, and she refuses to explain why…
Among Lady Playford’s guests are two men she has never met – the famous Belgian dectective, Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited…until Poirot starts to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murderer to strike. But why does she seem so determined to provoke, in the the presence of a possible killer? And why, when the crime is committed in spite of Poirot’s best efforts to stop it, does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?
This is another book which comes under my list of “Books which avoided second book syndrome and actually made me continue the series”. Other books include The Girl in the Tower and Gemina. I enjoyed the first book but there were certain key elements of the story which made me struggle to understand what was happening or pulled me out of the story all together. In this book it was like the author had heard my prayers and answered them for me.
My main focus is the psychology in this book. It is amazing, the layered characters and the motives for decisions they make in this book were so interesting and were blowing my mind. I really liked analysing each character we meet and I felt that Hannah created very detailed and very realistic characters. I also loved to hate some of these characters, because these characters were so realistic I ended up disliking them a lot. But that just led to me admiring the authors writing which then led to be loving them. I hated the person but loved the character if that makes sense.
I really enjoyed reading a story with a mystery writer involved I thought that added a really interesting dynamic. Having a character to solves mysteries from the very beginning and how that shaped her as a character and influenced important decisions she made in this book.
Some of the things that I felt were improved upon were, Poirot’s characterisation. In the first book I couldn’t really connect to him as a character and some of his pieces of dialogue or actions pulled me out of the story because I wasn’t a fan of what he said or did. It just didn’t really feel like Poirot for me. But in this book I enjoyed his character a lot more. I don’t know whether this is anything Hannah changed or just me reading more original Poirot books and seeing a pretty faithful comparison this time round.
The other thing that was improved on was the structuring of the story. In the first book, reveals at the end like motive, murderer and how they did it etc. was repeated numerous times, sometimes with subtle changes which led to the Poirot repeating what we already know again but with the added subtle change. This left me feeling confused and looking back at the book I can’t really remember how or why the murders happened. With this book the whole story was just laid out better, if that makes sense, the structure was easier to understand and I had a firmer grasp on why things happened in the story, etc.
The next book I plan to review is The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan. Yes, another Wheel of Time book. This is due to the TV show covering 2 books in one season so I had to make sure I was up to date with all the reveals and I wasn’t spoiled for anything. Plus, I need to know what happens next.