The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot #2), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Having enjoyed a previous novel by the ‘Queen of Mystery’, I returned for another Agatha Christie story, with Hercule Poirot as the chief sleuth. After making a name for himself, Poirot’s assistance is urgently requested in France. When Poirot arrives, he discovers that his client has been found murdered, next to a freshly-dug grave. There are a number of possible suspects, making the case one that is sure to keep Poirot busy as he sifts through the clues and red herrings. As things progress, more twists and another body make this case one that will require all of Poirot’s astute observations. Another winner from an era when mysteries did not need too much fluff to entertain.

Colonel Arthur Hastings has noticed that he and his flatmate, former Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, have been quite busy with cases over the last while. An urgent request comes from Paul Renauld in France, seeking Poirot’s assistance at once, demanding that all over cases be set aside. After some banter, Poirot and Hastings make their way to across the Chanel to see what Renauld might require.

Arriving in the French village of Merlinville-sur-Mer, Poirot discovers that his potential client has been found murdered, stabbed in the back, and left next to a new grave on the outskirts of a golf course. Poirot is intrigued and fuelled to solve the case immediately. Could the urgent plea for assistance be tied to these dire results?

There appear to be a number of potential suspects, as Renauld has impacted many over the last little while. Poirot is ready to explore the evidence before him, teaching Hastings as they seek to make sense of what has been said and left at the crime scene. There are many red herrings and false truths that Poirot must examine, until he is able to piece it all together. A second body proves a distraction, but the killer cannot flee, as long as Poirot does not allow himself to lose focus. When all is revealed, the reader will see just how meticulous Poirot is when on the case and how strong Christie’s writing tends to be, standing the test of time with ease!

I have long enjoyed mystery stories, particularly those that require a moment of thought and reflection. Agatha Christie has long been given the title of stellar author in this genre and I recently took the plunge to try some of these stories penned a century ago. Hercule Poirot, her first detective, proves not only to be entertaining, but also cognizant of how to lead the reader through a complex mystery and keeps things highly entertaining. While this is only my second full-length novel of Christie’s, I can clearly see that she creates a wonderful story, sure to impress most readers. Christie’s clear delivery is unique for readers used to convoluted novels in the 21st century, proving that her work stands the test of time and can effectively entertain. I’ll keep reading Poirot novels (and stories) throughout the year to see if this sentiment remains strong.

Hercule Poirot steals the show yet again in this piece, proving that his Belgian wit fits perfectly into these mysteries. Christie has yet to offer a great deal about his past, though there is a large pile of stories yet to explore. The reader can still connect to him through these early mysteries, as his intuitiveness and deductive reasoning are on point from the get-go. Poirot enjoys the ‘aha’ moments that impress his fellow characters and keeps the reader feeling a part of the larger process.

Agatha Christie is one of the best-known mystery writers of all times, with her Poirot novels surely cementing the moniker. Christie’s narrative development is strong and she pushes the story forward with ease, while entertaining readers at every turn. The characters are clearly defined and plots gain momentum in a subtle fashion, forcing the reader to pay close attention. Use of a second-person narrative once again had me working to wrap my head around this lesser-used style throughout. I am eager to keep learning from Christie and Poirot, happy to know that I have many of these pieces to serve as palate cleaners when I need them!

Kudos, Dame Christie, for a wonderful piece that kept me intrigued.