The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot #13), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Agatha Christie pens perhaps one of her most exciting pieces yet with this story, tossing Hercule Poirot into the middle of an investigation with a serial killer on the loose. The story takes many twists and keeps the reader enthralled until the very end, as Poirot is up against his most dashing criminal yet in a piece that offers no reprieve from the action. Some call it Christie’s best work and I would say it is one of the best I have read to date!

After Arthur Hastings returns to see his longtime friend, Hercule Poirot, the retired detective gets a letter in the post from a mysterious individual. The letter states that there will be a murder in the coming days and signs it with the elusive ‘A.B.C.’. Intrigued, Poirot waits and soon a report that Alice Asher has been bludgeoned in Andover comes across the wire. At the scene is an ABC Railway Guide, as if it is a clue to the foreboding letter. Poirot and Hastings can only wonder if there is more to come and how they will track this killer down.

While it is a while after Alice Asher, another body emerges with the same ABC guide next to it, similar alliteration accompanying the murder scene. Poirot is baffled and wonders if this will continue throughout the entire alphabet. While Hastings watches his friend work, he cannot help but wonder if Poirot has met his match.

After another murder, the police remain on edge and Poirot is stymied. More mocking letters arrive, but no clues accompany them, leaving the Belgian to grasp at straws. Still, there must be a connection to the victims, the locales, and the killer, even if Poirot cannot connect the dots. Twenty-six potential victims is too many and with four already complete, it will be a bloody mess should Poirot not clue in soon. Christie pushes her protagonist to the limit with this one, perhaps the most challenging piece to date.

Agatha Christie has rarely disappointed in the Poirot series, though her stories can sometimes ebb and flow as the novels pile up. This was a great one that had all the elements of a successful story and keeps the reader engaged until the very end, with a most mysterious murderer on the loose. A strong narrative with some interesting twists embedded in the telling, Christie delivers just at the right time to keep the reader wanting more.

As I have said many times before, Poirot is a great detective, but the reader learns little about him as a person or his life throughout these novels. While this is not turned on its head in this piece, there is a degree of testing the man’s mettle by developing a strong game of cat and mouse in this story. Poirot is not used to being toyed with, but there is no way he can escape the game set out for him. How he reacts provides the reader with a little more about the man’s patience and determination, even if one cannot call it true character development. Christie has certainly upped the ante when it come to her prized detective and I hope there is more pushing him out of his comfort zone soon.

Serial killers play such a prominent role in modern crime thrillers and mysteries, but this was the first time Agatha Christie used one for Poirot. It worked well and allowed for some interesting developments throughout. Christie’s narrative is strong and Arthur Hastings takes over for his first person telling of events, though there is an odd set of chapters that profess a third person, offering the reader insights not found in past books where Hastings led the recounting. I am not sure how I feel about it, as the overall story was great, even with these awkward moments. Short chapters propel the story forward and the characters found on each page provide some entertainment for the curious reader. I can only hope that there will be more of the recurring characters, as they bridge past novels with this one, though it is always worthwhile to see new faces add a certainly flavour to the piece. I am eager to see if Poirot will find more serial killers as the series progresses, or if a single killer and a key event will again be ruthless recipe for success.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for a new perspective. I am eager to see what’s coming and how you will top what you have already written.

Death in the Clouds (Hercule Poirot #12), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Taking to the skies, Hercule Poirot challenges himself in this next Agatha Christie mystery. Having utilised her protagonist in so many ways, Christie pushes the envelope and places the Belgian in a contained airplane when someone is murdered, forcing him to show that sleuthing is not just something done with feet firmly affixed to the ground. Christie uses her skills once again to dazzle the reader in this piece, sure to impress many.

During a flight from Paris to London, a passenger is found dead on board, a tiny puncture in her neck. While some might think that it could be the result of a wasp sting, Hercule Poirot can tell that it is more nefarious. While seated onboard, he has the perfect view of a number of the passengers and helps deduce that it was no sting.

When a blow dart is discovered in the plane, it is presumed to be the weapon used for the murder, Tipped with a deadly poison, the dart could have easily killed the woman before she had a chance to take her next breath. But who could have the motive to do such a thing? Poirot is not entirely sure, but he is ready to begin sleuthing, given the chance.

While the entire group is put through a coroner’s inquest, evidence emerges that helps put things into context. Using what is discovered to his advantage, Poirot pieces it all together and begins to get a better understanding of what happened and how the victim might have been one who was not liked by all. Slowly, the truth comes to the surface, where Poirot awaits to connect it with what he has discovered, all while using his little grey cells. Christie does well with this piece, pushing into new technologies and ideas in this piece that has a little of everything.

Agatha Christie does well to create new and exciting ways to impress readers of this detective series. She is able to use technological advances, as well as unique murder options, to keep the reader on their toes. While those who sit to enjoy the book in the 21st century may not feel as ‘electrified’ by the events, they are surely on point and mind-blowing for the time of original publication. Christie checks all the boxes with this piece, which uses a great narrative and some wonderful plot twists.

Poirot remains a alluring detective, able to pull theories out of the air, only to show how they are established as foundational. His egotistical nature is surely something that not all will enjoy, but Poirot is nothing if not a tad stuffy. He uses his silence to absorb all the clues before standing on his soap box and showing how all the pieces come together effectively. Once again, there is little outside the current events of the story that shape Hercule Poirot, which baffles me in a way. Perhaps some other readers echo my sentiments about wanting more depth and story related to this unique Belgian, rather than sticking to the periphery. Oh well… it does little to ruin the story, which I did enjoy a great deal.

Air travel is new and exciting for this novel, which Christie explores effectively. She pushes some great plot ideas for the reader and develops a strong story that develops in short order. A well-paced narrative keeps the reader engaged throughout, which is complemented by a handful of unique characters, all of whom could be the killer at one point or the other. As the story gains momentum, the plot finds itself developing at a pace perfect for the reader who have come to enjoy past mysteries. I am eager to see what else Christie has to offer and will delve a little deeper as I locate the next in the series.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for another great piece. Let’s see if you can keep pace with the next story, as Poirot is surely ready to show off once again.

Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot #11), by Agatha Christie

Seven stars

Another Agatha Christie mystery is sure to bring out my sleuthing side. The Hercule Poirot series serves to challenge me on a regular basis, forcing me to think outside the box and use my “little grey cells” repeatedly. While not the best of Christie’s pieces in this series, the story is strong and flows well, making it an entertaining piece to pass the time.

The town is abuzz when Sir Charles Cartwright assembles a small dinner party at his home. The one-time leading start of London’s theatre community, Cartwright is sure to make all the effort to entertain his guests in Cornwell. Especially with the guest list he has in mind.

The assembled thirteen are from a number of professions, making the gathering all the more exciting. While some would presume the number of guests will prove unlucky, it is not until Reverend Stephen Babbington chokes on his cocktail and dies that things take a true turn. After a fit of convulsions, Babbington toppled over and questions arose as to whether one of the group could be a murderer. However, laboratory analysis proved that there was no poison, leaving the official cause of death as being natural, at least for a time.

With one of the guests being the famed retired Belgian police detective, Hercule Poirot, clues are sought and relationships unveiled. Trouble is, Poirot cannot find a motive for anything and is left baffled. It is only later that pure nicotine is fingered as the untraceable poison used, and another body turns up dead at a similar party. Might the killer have struck again, perhaps to silence someone, or even readjust the target?

When Poirot returns to compare the two murders to one another, he begins to find subtle clues as to what they could both mean and how a motive could soon emerge. It will take Poirot’s intuition and dedication to the truth to learn everything there is to know and catch a killer before it’s too late. Christie uses many of her skills to plot this piece out and entertain her reading public.

I always enjoy challenging myself when Agatha Christie has another Poirot novel for me to read. I find myself learning a great deal, not only about England at the time, but the nuances of detecting, while I read through these books. Christie is sharp with her delivery, succinct in her storytelling, and poignant with the characters she uses. I’ll eagerly continue the series to see what other mysteries I can uncover and how Poirot grows on me.

As I have said in past reviews, Hercule Poirot is quite the character, though he prefers to live in the present. His detective work is second to none, though the subtleties can sometimes be a little too slow going, as I want answers in short order. His impact in this book was the presence and discovering the murderer, rather than offering added backstory or development of his own character. I’m hoping for something more in the coming novels, as I do like my characters to have depth and no remain static for long periods.

This novel was divided into three acts, a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that one of the main characters is a popular London stage actor. While the book’s division seemed intriguing, it did not properly separate things as I would have liked. I hoped for something more symbolic throughout. All the same, the narrative did flow nicely and moves from one scene to the next, offering up a handful of strong characters who did their jobs effectively. Mid-length chapters served to keep the reader engaged with the piece and did not deter me from reading larger chunks at a time. I’m ready for more Poirot and whatever adventures he discovers.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for proving that you are the Queen of Mystery. I hope there is more action to come soon and Poirot can make a great impact.

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10), by Agatha Christie

Nine stars

All aboard! Perhaps one of Agatha Christie’s most popular books in the Hercule Poirot series, this is one novel I have been eager to reach in my exploration of the collection. Christie excels in this story, offering a deeper and more complex mystery that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats. I can see why it got so much hype, as it is well well written and offers the reader an in-depth look into the analytical brain of Poirot. If there are other books int he series of this caliber, I am eager to find them, as Christie had me from the opening paragraph.

As the Orient Express makes its way across Europe, a snowstorm creates havoc. The passenger train, full of people from all over the world, is stuck in the Balkans with no clear guarantee of moving anytime. By morning, the luxury liner has more than snow to contend with, as Samuel Edward Ratchett is found murdered in his private compartment. While many of the passengers are in a panic, one of them is ready to lend an hand to find the murderer. Hercule Poirot is on holiday, having hoped to enjoy his trip from Istanbul to London.

The narrative develops and the reader learns much about the victim, many of the suspects (surely, it has to be one of the passengers), and the clues that Poirot is able to deduce throughout the investigation. Ratchett was not a popular man, having been responsible for a crime back in America. All that being said, there is surely a deeper motive for at least one of the suspects aboard the Orient Express.

By the latter portion o the novel, Poirot is narrowing the list of potential killers and runs through some of the suspects a second time. He is almost ready to finger someone, but a twist in the tale takes things in a new direction and leaves the reader gasping by the end. Who killed Samuel Edward Ratchett and for what reason? All will be revealed in time, though some will surely wish the story could have gone on forever, with its gripping aspects. Agatha Christie at her best!

The series finds new ways off getting better with each passing novel and I cannot devour them fast enough. Poirot makes a wonderful impact yet again as the narrative flows with ease. I would say that this was my favourite book to date, pulling on all the best parts of a mystery novel and keeps the reader guessing until the final page turn. I cannot wait to see what is to come in this sensational series.

Poirot shows how great a character he is and presents himself in top form throughout the book. His ego, while usually front and centre, appeared to be somewhat muted, which made for a more enjoyable read. With little backstory on which to base the character, Poirot lives in the present and uses his interactions to add depth to his personality. His sleuthing in this piece is some of the best and most on point, leaving me to hope there are more like this to come.

Christie delivers her most sensational novel to date, providing readers with a stunning mystery, well worth the praise it has received over the years. Christie’s writing is free from the extemporaneous details found in many books that supersaturated the genre to date. Strong narrative aspects provide a strong foundation for a novel that has so much going for it. Wonderful characters prove to be the cornerstone of this piece, which is full of personalities that will either impress or anger the reader. I could not get enough of the plot twists and surprise ending. I cannot wait to get my hands on a movie version of this to see how it compares. I’ll take a short break from Poirot, but will return, energized and ready for more!

Kudos, Dame Christie, for your most intense novel to date. I am super impressed.

Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot #9), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

I am still working my way through the Hercule Poirot series and find myself impressed with each passing novel. While each story stands on its own, Agatha Christie offers small nuggets that can connect the novels, which attentive readers will discover throughout the adventure. Poirot is again presented with a unique situation and uses his ‘little grey cells’ to help unravel the crime. Working alongside his longtime friend, Captain Arthur Hastings, Poirot fingers the killer by the final chapter as readers watch in awe. Christie offers a stunning novel, sure to entertain all those who take the time to read it.

While Hercule Poirot and Captain Arthur Hastings are out one day, they are approached by none of their than the famous American actress, Jane Wilkinson. While she expects them to be in awe, she admits that she needs help trying to ‘get rid of’ her husband, Lord Edgware. Wilkinson wants a divorce, hoping to marry someone who can love and respect her without leaving her feeling controlled. Baffled and yet not interesting in getting in the middle of a marital spat, Poirot declines and continues on his way. He and Hastings are left to discuss the gall of Americans and their forward nature. However, soon things will take on a new urgency when Lord Edgware turns up murdered.

Jane Wilkinson was seen leaving the marital home around the time Lord Edgware was said to have been killed, making her the prime suspect. However, Wilkinson has a solid alibi, having been in the middle of dining with friends at the same time. Poirot is flummoxed, but not ready to give up on the mystery. Slowly and thoroughly, the retired Belgian detective begins building a case, learning more about both Wilkinson and her late husband, as well as those both had confided in leading up to the murder. When more bodies turn up, Poirot is sure that he will have to act swiftly to neutralise the killer.

Was someone trying to stymie a chance to ensure a smooth divorce between the two? Could there have been someone trying to pretend to play the role of Jane Wilkinson in order to frame her? Poirot cannot be sure but slowly learns that there is a deeper and much darker narrative taking place here. He will have to use all his grey cells and ask for the help of others to put all the pieces together effectively. Agatha Christie does a brilliant job making this one of the best in the series to date.

The series keeps getting better as I learn more about Poirot and the writing style that Agatha Christie made popular all those years ago. The narrative flows so well and keeps the reader hooked as the plot develops through the mystery’s development. Christie has shown herself to be one of the greatest in the genre and makes no effort to lessen the impact. With many books to go, I can only hope that the momentum is not lost as I keep reading.

Poirot remains a great character and uses his ego to his own advantage. Without the need for a developed backstory, Poirot lives in the present and uses his interactions to tease out new tidbits about himself. Readers will likely love much of what they know, or hate his haughty attitude. Either way, there is nothing like a great mystery and a detective who knows how to get to the core of the matter. I am eager to see what else there is to learn about him in the coming novels.

Christie delivers another winner and provides readers of the series with a strong mystery, free of fluff and filler. A strong narrative creates a foundation for a mystery that is full of twists and turns throughout. Wonderful characters provide the reader additional entertainment to contrast with Poirot’s serious nature. With one of the most popular stories in the series next in line, I feel ready to tackle such a popular story and hope that I can revel in all that is set to be revealed.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for crafting so many wonderful stories. I am addicted and reader to push onwards.

Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot #8), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Working through the Hercule Poirot series, I am constantly amazed at the work Dame Agatha Christie has put into the stories. Each seems able to stand on its own, though there is something exciting about reading a series in order, as the reader picks up small breadcrumbs left by the author throughout the experience. Poirot is in fine form, accompanied by his friend, Captain Arthur Hastings, as they explore a unique mystery while on vacation in the English countryside. Christie dazzles once again and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

While on vacation along the coast, Hercule Poirot and Captain Arthur Hastings encounter a young and quite beautiful woman. Nick Buckley is able to converse with the retired Belgian detective easily and reveals that she his the mistress of End House, a massive piece of real estate set up along the cliffs of St. Loo. Poirot is enthralled, both with the description of End House and by Nick herself, which has Hastings wondering if the mighty detective could be falling in love.

Poirot is keen to learn that Nick has been full of luck lately, having dodged numerous accidents that came close to killing her. After another occurs while they are seated together, a shot rings out in her direction that passes through Nick’s hat. Poirot is all but sure that these are anything but accidental happenings. Rather, they are likely clues that Nick Buckley is the target of some crazed killer.

Poirot takes it upon himself to investigate End House a little more and to learn precisely what’s going on, as well as how Nick Buckley could play into it all. He learns of the property’s darker side, including many who live there. As Poirot investigates, more goings-on occur that lead him to believe that Nick, and others, could be in grave danger, should he not reveal the killer swiftly. As always, Hastings is sure that if anyone can find the culprit, it will be Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie does a fabulous job at spinning yet another story for all to enjoy!

I have become addicted to the many stories Agatha Christie offers up in this easy flowing series. A well-developed plot finds itself within a strong narrative. Poirot’s encounter with many characters keeps the reader entertained, while forcing them to wonder what awaits them around the next corner. Even though there is a great deal left in the series, I am eager to forge onwards to see how things progress with the stories, the characters, and what clues I might gather as I piece together the larger Hercule Poirot character.

Poirot keeps his ego in check, letting it out only every other page. His relaxed nature is always on offer and there is no shortage of wit flowing from him as the stories progress. With little backstory, the reader is forced to love in the moment with him, as he pushes through to drop small hints about his personality and ideals. This is one Belgian whose keen commentary about the world around him is worth noting every time he speaks.

Christie delivers again with a strong story that does nort take much time to develop. Readers of the series are treated to a strong mystery without too much fluff as things take shape. A strong narrative provides the pathway for a sensational mystery, full of twists and turns that few could have seen coming. A set of worthy characters provides just what the reader needs to remain entertained, while Poirot pieces everything together. I am eager to see how things will progress, as it is only a matter of time before Christie is sure to run out of ideas. Then again, the Dame of Mystery appears to have a great deal to share, so one can surmise that Poirot is far from being a boring old Belgian just yet!

Kudos, Dame Christie, for another strong mystery. I’m reaching for the next to see if it dazzles just as much.

The Big Four (Hercule Poirot #5), by Agatha Christie

Seven stars

Back for another instalment of the Agatha Christie collection, I looked to the fifth book in the Hercule Poirot collection. Christie moves away from the whodunit and into the world of a thriller for this piece, which offers some vastly different things for those who have come to enjoy her sly writing style. Captain Arthur Hastings is back from some time away, only to find his old flat mate, Hercule Poirot in the thick of things. It would seem that he is alerted to the presence of The Big Four, a group of international criminals that many do not believe exist. When members of the group appear in England, Poirot works to identify them and shine a light on their existence, all while Hastings finds himself caught in the web of the Four and must act withou the Belgian’s assistance, at least for a time. A fast-paced story that leaves the reader panting to catch up. A different side to Agatha Christie to be sure.

Colonel Arthur Hastings is back in England after some time away. His first stop is to see Hercule Poirot, his former flatmate, the retired Belgian detective. While Hastings is eager to catch up, Poirot is preparing to depart for the other side of the world on a mystery. However, all that is stopped when mention of The Big Four enters the discussion. Poirot explains that this is an international cabal prepared to do their dirty work whenever time permits. While many governments and police authorities believe they are a myth, Poirot is sure they are real and committing crimes all over them lace, leaving calling cards in their wake.

After an apparent poisoning, Poirot is sure it is the work of the Big Four, noticing a note that has been left behind. Hastings concurs, but cannot simply accept things without more proof. Poirot does his best to provide it, while remaining one step ahead of the killers in hopes of catching them in the act. Hastings is along for the ride, worried about what might happen if the littler Belgian is left to his own devices.

With more bodies piling up, Poirot is sure that he is hot on the trail, only to have something monumental occur. When Hastings is alone, he receives a note stating that someone has his wife and that she will come to great harm if he does not follow immediately, Bringing Poirot could endanger everyone, something that Hastings does not want. It will take some sly work to ensure the Big Four are caught and that Poirot is alerted to the danger, but Hastings cannot be sloppy about it, forcing him to use all the wits he has about him to make the correct move in a timely manner. Christie does well yet again, though purists will surely bemoan the move away from the traditional work she has made popular with this series to date.

Agatha Christie has rightfully earned her title as the Dame of Mystery, though this novel shows how she steps outside the cookie-cutter nature of her writing to test out some new approaches. Some like them, while others prefer the traditional whodunit recipe for Poirot to use to his advantage. Still, it proves to be an entertaining piece that is full of adventure and intrigue. Strong plot ideas develop throughout the story, allowing the reader to enjoy some banter between Poirot and Hastings, who returns after some time away.

Hercule Poirot takes centre stage again in this piece, offering up more of his Belgian eccentricities. Christie has yet to offer a great deal about his past, though there is something offered up here with regards to his family. The reader can see how the suave detective moves throughout this piece, picking up some of the small clues in order to make a name for himself. His ego and pompous nature are, once again, on offer, and the reader must watch how Hastings seeks to wrest control of the situation at various points. I am eager to learn more about Poirot and hope the series offers new ways in which that can be accomplished.

Agatha Christie remains one of the best-known mystery writers of all times, using Poirot to help her keep this title all these years later. Christie uses strong narrative development to propel the story along, capturing the reader’s attention throughout. The characters are clearly defined, even more sinister than usual, and plots gain momentum in a straightforward fashion, yet still requires that the reader to pay close attention. Use of a second-person narrative in the form of Arthur Hastings offered a unique approach and leaves me wanting to learn more as the series propels itself forward at breakneck speed.

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

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Back for more Agatha Christie, I turned to the forth novel in the Hercule Poirot series. Full of the same writing that Christie has made popular over the years, the book seeks to explore a murder like no other with a cast of suspects that only Poirot could analyze effectively. When the well-to-do gentleman, Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered in his home, all eyes turn to those who had seen him in his last hours. From maids to butlers and even a few family members, the list of suspects is high, as are the motives. It will take the keen observances of Hercule Poirot, retired Belgian detective, to piece it all together and come up with the guilty party. That revelation may be a surprise to many, as Agatha Christie proves why she is the Dame of Mystery.

King’s Abbot is a quaint English village, full of wonderful people. However, the locals are left aghast when the widow Ferrars takes an overdose of a drug and ends up dying. If that were not enough, a second body, that of Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered in his home not twenty-four hours later. While the local constabulary begins their investigation, nothing is coming together, leaving more questions than answers.

When someone suggests reaching out to Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian detective, the police jump at the opportunity. Not only has Poirot made a name for himself, but his keen sense of detection is unlike anything many have seen. When Poirot arrives to examine the Ackroyd household, he begins developing some theories that might offer new leads. Roger Ackroyd was involved in many things, all of which could bode poorly for him and leads to a long list of suspects.

As Poirot whittles down the list to something more manageable, he makes a few key revelations that are not readily apparent from the outset. However, it will take some trickery and a little deception to coax the killer out of the woodwork and ensure justice is done for Roger Ackroyd and his family. Agatha Christie does a wonderful job in this, her most intense crime thriller to date. It’s sure to impress those who, like me, have come to enjoy the series.

When I began this series, I was not sure what to expect. Having surrounded myself with many mysteries over the years, I find myself to be somewhat of a expert reader on the subject. However, Agatha Christie takes things to a new level, creating pure and unadulterated stories that truly show crime thrillers as they were meant to be, without all the fluff and extemporaneous aspects to the story. Christie does well to delve deeply into the story and keeps the reader entertained throughout, without losing any of the momentum they would expect of a well-crafted tale.

While the story centres around the mystery of Roger Ackroyd and his murder, I did not feel that anyone stole the limelight in this piece. Poirot was ever-present, offering up his insights and ideas, but did not commandeer the narrative at any point. Rather, Christie offered a well-rounded collection of views and characters who flavoured the writing well and kept the reader informed of what was going on, which only made things better throughout the journey. I can only wonder if this will be the case for subsequent novels.

Those who seek a strong mystery at a time when the genre was just coming into its own will not be disappointed with this piece. Agatha Christie writes with such ease and makes the reader feel as though they are part of the action. She weaves her stories through a strong narrative and great plot lines. The attentive reader will pick up on some of the nuances embedded into the story, allowing them to enjoy things on a deeper level. Chapters are of a decent length and allow the reader to see how things play out effectively. I have read a few of the stories beforehand and so I am aware of how things develop, but I am still eager to see what is to come and how I will continue to enjoy all that Christie has to offer.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for another winner. Let’s keep going to see where it leads us!

Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot #3), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Having enjoyed a few novels by Agatha Christie, I chose to continue with Hercule Poirot. This third novel is actually a collection of stories, used to whet the appetite of Poirot fans and perhaps to pique the interest of those who are not as familiar with the Belgian detective. From a few murders through to some robberies, Poirot and Captain Hastings pursue many a criminal act, in hopes of shedding some light on all things illegal. Poirot and Hastings find themselves traveling around England, into France, and even over to Egypt. Throughout the process, Poirot uses his deductive reasoning to bring answers to the forefront, even if it takes time and dedication. Christie has done a wonderful job throughout these stories, which has me wanting to return for more in the near future.

When I recently discovered the work of Agatha Christie, I found myself fully committed. Of course, I had heard of the Queen of Mystery well before I opened one of her books, but I never took the time to see how well they were constructed. I have decided to stick with Hercule Poirot for the time being, but may branch out at a later time. Each of the stories in this collection flows well with a strong narrative and keen characters, all adding flavour to a great story. Poirot seems to find a number of unique cases that require his attention, which allows the reader to feel that same newness with each page turn. With a large pile of books to go, I will tackle more Poirot before too long, but I like to space them out, like a collection of high-end chocolates, best savoured slowly.

Kudos, Dame Christie for this great collection. I will be back soon and eager to see what else is to come.

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.