March was all about Poirot
First up, I read The Mystery of the Blue Train
Aboard the luxurious Blue Train running from London to the Riviera, pampered millionaire’s daughter Ruth Kettering is murdered, her expensive jewels stolen. But Poirot is at hand to solve the case.
My thoughts: Hercule Poirot is travelling alone on The Blue Train but, as always, becomes the focus of attention of his fellow passengers. When the daughter of an American millionaire is brutally killed, what else can he do but investigate? Of course, there are motives aplenty. alibis galore and a shedload of secrets. The characters’ backstories are intriguing and help to stir the pot, nonetheless I fathomed out who the killer was midway through the story. I’ve seen it said that Agatha Christie herself considered this to be one of her lesser works, and maybe it was a bit too easy to solve … or maybe Monsieur Poirot’s investigation made it that way for all of us. Regardless, Poirot is still my favourite detective from the Christie playbook.
Then I moved on to … Cat Among the Pigeons
Unpleasant things are going on in an exclusive school for girls – things like murder… Late one night, two teachers investigate a mysterious flashing light in the sports pavilion, while the rest of the school sleeps. There, among the lacrosse sticks, they stumble upon the body of the unpopular games mistress – shot through the heart from point blank range. The school is thrown into chaos when the ‘cat’ strikes again. Unfortunately, schoolgirl Julia Upjohn knows too much. In particular, she knows that without Hercule Poirot’s help, she will be the next victim…
My thoughts: For a long time, the story focuses on the behaviour of students and teachers at a girls’ boarding school and seemed to have little to do with the opening scenes of the revolution in Ramat (a fictional Middle Eastern country) … Until a bloody murder occurs at the school where the “princess” of Ramat is now boarding. Is there a connection? Poirot will know!
Poirot, however, is almost outshone by one of the students who manages to identify and connect the dots to a large extent without his involvement.
The detailed descriptions, the sublime turns of phrase that are so very of their time, and the way in which the many subplots are connected to finally make a cohesive whole make it a mystery worth reading, albeit not one where Poirot’s deductive abilities are hugely tested.
To be honest, neither of these were favourites of mine which is why I didn’t go on to read After The Funeral as I intended. Still, you can’t like them all.
April’s official choice is Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
This month’s theme is ‘A story featuring adventure’, and we have chosen to reinvestigate Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? in anticipation of Hugh Laurie’s masterful adaptation hitting BritBox (12th in USA & Canada, 14th in the UK, international TBA). Featuring two young spirited adventurers, it is such a brilliant story which we can’t wait to explore in more detail. Click here to find out more about the TV show.
What’s it about?
Bobby Jones, the vicar’s son, has recently returned from the navy. He’s trying to keep himself occupied and weighing up his options for the future when he stumbles across an unfortunate man at the base of a Welsh cliff. The man looks to have fallen owing to fog, and with his dying breath utters the famous words from the title “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” Bobby doesn’t have a hope of finding out what this means… Unless, that is, his childhood friend Lady Frances “Frankie” Derwent weren’t so keen to find out. What follows is an exciting trip into terrains unknown, and the introduction of some eccentric new acquaintances – the Bassington-ffrench family.
Bobby knelt down beside him, but there was no doubt. The man was dead. A last moment of consciousness, that sudden question, and then—the end.Agatha Christie, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
I’m not sure this one is for me, so I’ll more than likely check out one of the alternative reads. This month, the suggestions are Poirot in The Big Four, Miss Marple in the 4.50 from Paddington, or one I’ve never read before The Seven Dials Mystery. I’m leaning towards the latter as I’m familiar with the other two.
A practical joke goes chillingly, murderously wrong in Queen of Mystery Agatha Christie’s classic detective story, The Seven Dials Mystery.
Gerry Wade had proved himself to be a champion sleeper, so the other houseguests decided to play a practical joke on him. Eight alarm clocks were set to go off, one after the other, starting at 6:30 a.m. But when morning arrived, one clock was missing and the prank then backfired, with tragic consequences.
For Jimmy Thesiger in particular, the words “Seven Dials” were to take on a new and chilling significance…