Agatha Christie Review Round Up: Part Five

For my birthday last year, my parents gifted me around 35 Agatha Christie books (mostly from the Hercule Poirot series) and I’ve made it my mission of January and February to read them all!  There are four previous parts to this series that I’ve linked below.

Hercule Poirot #22
Rating: 3 stars

As Elinor Carlisle stands before the Maidensford courts pleading not guilty to murder, her eyes meet those of a total stranger – the only man who believes in her innocence: Hercule Poirot. The case has sparked the interest of the Belgian detective. So have the suspicious events that have doomed Miss Carlisle to an inescapable fate. It began with an anonymous letter, a dying aunt, a handsome inheritance… and poison. Poirot’s investigation is about to draw him into the shadows of a deadly family secret, and a mystery that could save a woman’s life – or end it…


This wasn’t one of my favorites although it was interesting.  There were a much more limited cast of characters and the clues stood out as extremely obvious to me.  Maybe that’s a strange thing to complain about because it made guessing the culprit quite easy, but I love the ones where Poirot picks out seemingly mundane details and is able to explain why they make all the difference.  It was still a very intriguing mystery and it’s framed in a different way with the courtroom being the main structure.  This is different than Christie’s normal settings and while I can’t say that I was overjoyed by it, it did work in a satisfactory manner.  As for the murder itself, I quite liked that as well although it was slightly obvious to me from the beginning the issues with the accused (Elinor’s) ability to actually commit the murder.  Again, maybe it’s not such a bad thing but I found it to be remarkable obvious.
The Final Verdict:
If you’ve read fewer detective novels and seen fewer crime shows than I have, you’ll enjoy this immensely.  I just couldn’t get into it because I knew where it was going.
3 stars

Evil Under the Sun – Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot #24

Rating: 5 stars

Set at the Jolly Roger, a posh vacation resort for the rich and famous on the southern coast of England, Evil Under the Sun is one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing mysteries. When a gorgeous young bride is brutally strangled to death on the beach, only Hercule Poirot can sift through the secrets that shroud each of the guests and unravel the macabre mystery at this playground by the sea.”

I loved this book.  It has a largish cast of characters (which is one of my favorite aspects of Agatha Christie books) and the plot kept spinning you in different direction until you finally arrive at the conclusion which, when you arrive, then seems enormously obvious to you.  Another favorite aspect of Agatha Christie’s books was also included: the dramatic reveal by Poirot at the end when he gathers all the players together and goes through his case.  Poirot has such a flair for the dramatic and it’s really showcased in that moment.  The change of scenery from Poirot’s normal crime-solving atmosphere is also interesting and it serves as a little break from all the monotony of inland Europe.
The Final Verdict:
If you’ve tired of the usual settings of Agatha Christie novels, this is for you.  It has an entirely different feel with the added experience of seeing Poirot relaxing on vacation.
5 stars

Hercule Poirot #25

Rating: 4 stars

It was an open and shut case. All the evidence said Caroline Crale poisoned her philandering husband, a brilliant painter. She was quickly and easily convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Now, sixteen years later, in a posthumous letter, Mrs. Crale has assured her grown daughter that she was innocent. But instead of setting the young woman’s mind at ease, the letter only raises disquieting questions. Did Caroline indeed write the truth? And if she didn’t kill her husband, who did?

To find out, the Crale’s daughter asks Hercule Poirot to reopen the case. His investigation takes him deep into the conflicting memories and motivations of the five other people who were with the Crales on the fatal day. With his keen understanding of human psychology, he manages to discover the surprising truth behind the artist’s death.”

I enjoyed this for several reasons but mainly, it’s focus on psychology and how you have to take into consideration the mind of a person before you can affirmatively say they committed murder.  Poirot has each of the players write an account of what happened just before and during the events of the murder and I found what each of the people had to say fascinating.  They each left something out or emphasized something which can tell you a lot about their motivations.  I do wish that Poirot had discussed this more, however, as I ascertained much of it on my own.  And while it’s pretty easy to see that Caroline Crale didn’t commit the murder (there are several inconsistencies), it’s quite the journey to find out what exactly happened and who is responsible.  Poirot did his typical (yet extremely satisfying every time) dramatic unveiling at the end which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Final Verdict:
Once you dig into the psychology and motives, the answer becomes abundantly clear which makes the journey of the book quite lovely indeed.
4 stars

And that’s all for now!  Have you read any of these?  What did you think of them?  Are you a fan of mystery?

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