What’s it about?
Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…
In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.
I’m a fan of Agatha Christie but have only ever read one Poirot, as I prefer the Marple stories. I bought this signed copy from Greenway in Devon; Christie’s holiday home. Coupled with the fact that my only experience of Sophie Hannah was The Carrier which I didn’t love, I wasn’t sure about this but I’d bought it for the Christie characters and because of where I’d visited so gave it a go.
This was Hannah’s first stab at a new Poirot, and as I said, I’ve only read the one Poirot novel but have seen many TV and film adaptations, I thought that this was very in-keeping with the style and what we would expect from a regular Poirot story. I suppose die-hard readers of Poirot might disagree but I rather enjoyed it and in fact, if I hadn’t have known it was written by Sophie Hannah, I wouldn’t have thought otherwise.
The setting, the murders, the back story, red herrings and twists are all as you would expect from the great Poirot and his ensemble. The book comes with its usual cast of shady characters but I wasn’t really convinced by Poirot’s sidekick Catchpole; he was a bit of a wimp and not very authoritative, but then I guess he can’t be more intuitive or overshadow Poirot himself.
This book did have a darker feel to it than other Poirot’s I’ve experienced but I thought it worked and potentially makes it more appealing to a modern market.
However, I totally lost the plot with the ending which I found quite complicated and long-winded. That said, I’d definitely read more of Hannah’s Poirot…but I also have a backlog of the originals too 😉
Small print for info
No of pages: 374