Friday, 16 July 2010

forty-one, thirty-nine, thirty-seven: poirot

the Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (1923)

Hercule Poirot receives a telegraph from France asking for urgent help as a man believes he is in grave danger. But Poirot and Hastings arrive too late, the man is already murdered, a grave has been dug but the body is laying outside of it, and his wife was found tied and gagged in bed. A letter indicating blackmail is found, there is a mistress and clues suggest that South Americans are involved. There is also a famous French detective on the case and the two famous detectives are not very fond of each other. And then a stranger is found murdered in a shed on the property.

This is the best Poirot story I have read so far. It is narrated by Hastings which gives it an interesting personal aspect. And it has such clever twists and of course I couldn't guess the murderer.

the Mystery of the Blue Train (1928)

Miss Grey spent all her life in poverty but inherited a large sum of money after her mistress died. She decides to go to the French Riviera with the famous Blue Train. On board, she talks with a rich woman who is in despair as she has made the wrong choice in a matter of the heart and is travelling with her maid and some famous jewellery. The next day, when arriving in Nice, this lady is found dead. Hercule Poirot also happens to be on the same train and he wants to solve the crime with the help of Miss Grey. They soon discover that not only is the woman's lover on board the train, but also the husband, and why did the maid get off the train in Paris?

I cannot put my finger on exactly why, but I found this Poirot story rather disappointing compared to the rest I have read. Oh well, on to the next one!

Death in the Clouds (1935)

A woman is found murdered on an aeroplane. The murder is extraordinary, she was killed by a dart dipped in snake poison and no one saw anything. Hercule Poirot was on the plane, but he was asleep the whole time. Who had the opportunity to murder her and what was the motive?

Another brilliant Poirot story. And of course the murderer was no one I suspected.

These three stories are found in the French Collection, although Murder on the Links also appears in the Complete Battles of Hastings vol 1.

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