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.