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Posts Tagged ‘Hercule Poirot’

Death In the Clouds

Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation when a murder takes place almost under his nose on a flight from Paris to Croydon.  Unfortunately because he suffers from travel sickness he was asleep for most of the flight.  In the confined space of a commercial airliner in the 1930s, the number of suspects is limited but the police of both France and England fins themselves puzzled for quite a long time.

I enjoyed this mystery and thought it was interesting that the author investigated the effects of suspicion on the various suspects – including Poirot himself.  Some of the suspects found their lives changed for the better – even if only temporarily – while others found it brought existing problems to a head.  I got the murderer completely wrong so it was almost a physical shock when the murderer was revealed.

I do like Hercule Poirot as a character though I didn’t particularly like him when I first started reading Agatha Christie and I preferred Miss Marple. Now I like him as much as Miss Marple.  They share an encyclopaedic knowledge of human nature and excellent powers of information.  Both are good at fading into the background. Christie was just brilliant at plots as well as characters which is why these novels have remained in print for so long.

 

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Murder on the links

Hercule Poirot receives a cry for help from a millionaire in France. Unfortunately Poirot and Captain Hastings arrive too late to save him as he has just been found dead when they get there. He had been stabbed in the back.

Poirot soon finds himself on a collision course with a French detective who regards Poirot as the lowest of the low. Hastings has his mind less on the investigation that normal as he has fallen in love.

I had some difficulty following the twists and turns of the plot of this story – possibly because I was listening to it rather than reading it. I did enjoy the rivalry between the detectives and I did like the settings – an embryo golf course in France. The solution to the mystery was intriguing in the end and I certainly didn’t work out what was going on.

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The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Poirot) (Hercule Poirot Series Book 33)

The audio book version of this collection of short stories doesn’t include the final story – Greenshaw’s Folly.  I really enjoyed this quirky collection with ingenious plots, and plenty of humour as well with Hercule Poirot at his most whimsical best.

The title story sees Poirot at a house party over Christmas and receiving an ill spelled and written warning not to eat the plum pudding.  Why has someone warned him?  I loved the ending to this story.

My other favourite in this collection was The Dream in which a very clever murder almost succeeds in being passed off as a suicide.  These stories show Agatha Christie at the height of her powers with memorable characters ad carefully crafted plots.  Poirot succeeds because of his powers of observation and his knowledge of human nature.  This collection would be a good introduction to Agatha Christie if you have not tried her books before.

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The Mystery of the Blue Train

Wealthy Ruth Kettering is travelling to Nice on the luxurious Blue Train but when the train arrives in Nice Ruth is dead. The police favour her estranged husband Derek as prime suspect but Hercule Poirot is not convinced by the obvious suspect. This is a well plotted mystery in which jewel theft, the activities of the hugely rich and the disadvantages of marriages of convenience all feature.

I enjoyed this sometimes sinister story of greed and murder in which Poirot uses his usual talent for understanding human nature and his incredible ability to notice the smallest detail to good advantage to ensure that the right person is finally unmasked as the murderer.

I liked the background to this story and I also liked the fact that one of the characters has actually come from St Mary Mead – Miss Marple’s home village.  I love the way there are cross references between series and how characters flit in and out of each others’ series.

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Murder in Mesopotamia

Set on an archaeological dig in Iraq, this is an interesting mystery.  It is narrated by Amy Leatheran, a nurse who has gone to look after Louise, the wife of a celebrated archaeologist.  She is having frightening hallucinations and has been receiving anonymous letters.  But are they hallucinations?  Or is someone out to get her and are there really people tapping in windows in the night?  Amy isn’t at all sure which is the truth but she does know there are many tensions between the members of the excavation team.

Hercule Poirot is due to visit the dig but maybe there will have been murder committed before he gets there.  This has to be one of the most difficult cases Poirot has to undertake as there is virtually no evidence apart from what people can tell him about the other members of the dig.  Of course he gradually pieces together all the disparate bits and pieces to establish who is responsible.

I enjoyed this mystery and I liked the narrator as she gives the reader a very down to earth picture of the tensions between the members of this small group of people.  She also shows Poirot in a slightly different light from other narrators the author uses in the series.

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One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Hercule Poirot has a dentist’s appointment and he is just as uptight as everyone else is on such occasions.  But even though he is stressed he still finds time to notice his fellow patients, which is fortunate when the dentist is found dead shortly after seeing Poirot.    Was it murder or suicide? Poirot soon finds himself involved in the investigation.

What follows is a complex story of mistaken identity and some very red herrings as well as plenty of clues to keep the observant reader guessing.  I got it completely wrong and picked the wrong murderer so it was a complete shock when the solution was revealed.

As ever the book is well written with plenty of memorable characters and situations.  Poirot is at his most observant best, gradually uncovering secrets which people would prefer to keep hidden.

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The Big Four (Poirot) (Hercule Poirot Series Book 5)

Poirot and Hastings become involved with a gang of international criminals who are very good at working out what he will do next. Have the invincible duo met their match?  It starts with an unexpected visitor and a piece of paper with the number four written all over it again and again.

Gradually a picture emerges of four master criminals who seem to be pulling the strings of a large army of fellow criminals whose lives are expendable.  As soon as any of them come close to revealing any secrets they meet a mysterious end.

I wasn’t so keen on this book as I have been on most Christie novels because I could not quite believe in all the dangerous situations.  It read more like a James Bond novel than a conventional crime novels.

It is more a collection of short stories linked by the theme of the Big Four than a novel.  It could be said to be a forerunner of modern international thrillers though the nationality of the criminals would probably be different today.

 

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