I first knew of Hercule Poirot from David Suchet’s portrayal of the Belgian detective with that snappy mustache. I think it was my Mum who enjoyed watching this series, well, whatever the reason, I remember watching some episodes as a kid.
And here I should add that for many years I (silly me!) scoffed at Agatha Christie and other mystery writers and never went anywhere near the ‘Mystery’ sections in libraries or bookstores at all.
I have since learnt what a fool I’ve been! Today I read far more widely than I used to, thanks in part to all you wonderful book bloggers out there! And have been poking around quite a few mystery/crime/detective series, and not just liking but loving them! Among those I’ve enjoyed are Laurie R King’s Mary Russell and Kate Martinelli series, Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, Colin Cotterill’s Dr Siri Paiboun series, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. In the past couple of years, I’ve even read Sherlock Holmes! This was largely due to the excellent BBC series. And that was a huge step for me, as my sister and I were given a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories when we were kids and that book was nothing more than a bookend to us!
But yes, Agatha Christie. She of the 66 detective novels, of which 33 star Hercule Poirot.
Of which I have perhaps read four? I hope to slowly increase that number, because they are a delight to read.
But this one, this latest Hercule Poirot mystery, is written by crime novelist Sophie Hannah, who, in an interview with The Telegraph, said that she decided to construct “the most intriguing possible mystery and bring it to Hercule Poirot”.
It must be HUGE shoes to fill, writing such a book. And Hannah has done a pretty good job at it. Here’s the plot summary:
“Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…“
From the young woman’s “I’m already dead, you see, or I shall be soon”, the mystery intrigues. And Hercule Poirot is on the case. A large part of the narrative is told from the point of view of a Scotland Yard policeman, Catchpool, who is intelligence but lacks confidence in himself. Poirot takes on the role of mentor here, encouraging Catchpool to figure things out but it is Catchpool, or at least something crucial he says, that leads to Poirot eventually solving the case. (Hannah found the name ‘Catchpool’ – as well as several other names she uses in the book – on a headstone in an old cemetery!)
And while I’m not as familiar with Poirot as others may be, but not long after finishing The Monogram Murders, I read Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot #23), which I selected at random to get a better feel for Christie’s Poiroy, and it feels like Hannah has captured his mannerisms well. However, after reading Evil Under the Sun, Monogram Murders felt too lengthy, so I checked Goodreads: At 352 pages (hardcover version), The Monogram Murders is longer than many of Christie’s books, which seem to have fewer than 300 pages. For instance, Evil Under the Sun is 220 pages long. What is with all these book lengths these days? The book felt like it went on too long here and there, especially after I read Evil Under the Sun which seemed more crisp and efficient.
Still the mystery was rather an enjoyable one, a tricky one that Christie herself might have thought of (please don’t yell at me for saying that, any Agatha Christie fans out there!). I’m still a rookie when it comes to this genre so I’m going to have to study up by reading more by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie – and whatever other crime/mystery/detective/thriller series/novels that you would recommend.
So recommend away!
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.
Learn more about Agatha Christie through her official website.
About Sophie Hannah
Internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah breathes new life into the incomparable detective. In this thrilling tale, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London—a diabolically clever puzzle that will test his brilliant skills and baffle and delight longtime Christie fans and new generations of readers discovering him for the first time. Authorized by Christie’s family, and featuring the most iconic detective of all time, this instant Christie classic is sure to be celebrated by mystery lovers the world over.
I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours
Check out the other stops on the tour:
Monday, September 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, September 17th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, September 18th: The Road to Here
Thursday, October 2nd: From the TBR Pile
Friday, October 3rd: My Bookshelf
Tuesday, October 7th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, October 8th: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, October 9th: BoundbyWords
Thursday, October 9th: Wordsmithonia
Friday, October 10th: Books in the Burbs
Wednesday, October 15th: Olduvai Reads