Friday, 5 August 2011

forty-nine, forty-one, forty: poirot


the Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

Hastings is visiting an old friend, John Cavendish, at Styles. While he's there, the old lady of the house is murdered; poisoned behind locked doors. Everyone in the household believes it is her husband who killed her, but he has an alibi. So who in the family killed her? Luckily, Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee and famous detective, is in the village and he takes the case.

Murder on the Links (1923)


(read in 2010, so copy and paste)
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.

the Big Four (1927)
Hercule Poirot is convinced that an international gang of four members is behind all evil in the world. He is on the right track, but the gang is too smart for him and he and Hastings often find themselves in great peril. And then the gang manages the impossible; to kill Hercule Poirot.

Peril at End House (1932)

Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings are on a holiday when they meet a young woman who has had a few near-death accidents in the past few days. Poirot is convinced that the woman is in immediate danger, but despite their close watch over the girl, her cousin is murdered by mistake at a party. What will the murderer do when he realises his mistake?

It's been wonderful reading about Hercule Poirot from Captain Hastings' narrative. Captain Hastings is not half as clever as Poirot, but his narrative is a delight to read. The Big Four is so different from any other Poirot story, more like James Bond really.

All four stories are found in the Complete Battles of Hastings volume One omnibus.

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