My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is difficult to talk about without giving away the end. So I’ll just say that, as with Murder on the Orient Express I had a moment a little ways in where I went: “If she’s doing what I thing she’s doing, then there is a definite reason that Agatha Christie is the Queen.” Sure enough, she did it, and I was not only satisfied, but impressed. Though (sorry I have to remain a little cryptic here) the reason that I didn’t give five stars in this case was the way ‘justice’ was applied at the very end.
Probably the coolest thing about this is the double-mystery aspect of it. You’ve got the physical clues listed in regular Christie fashion, but you also have the literary clues–the clues in the narrative–that create a puzzle on top of a puzzle. It was the language that Christie used that made the little hairs on the back of my neck prick up and say “Hey, something’s up here,” and then the “If she’s doing what I think she’s doing….” So fun. I love it when I get engaged as a reader.
The characters in this book are typical Christie: nosy neighbors, a concerned possible Hastings-replacement narrator, mysterious strangers, secret marriages, clandestine meetings over saloons, and, of course, Hercule Poirot. Then you mix ’em all together, kill someone, and sort out the mess later. What’s not to love?
Side Note: One thing I appreciated, though didn’t necessarily need in this edition (which I found on a dollar shelf at a local used bookstore–I almost bought everything Christie wrote in one fell swoop…but stopped myself), was the translations of Poirot’s French exclamations.
Sorry this review is so short, but…you should really just read it for yourself.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.