Let’s talk about the plot:
Okay bookish friends, I must say I knew what I was in for when I started reading this. Why, you ask? It was my third read, this is one of my favourites by one of my favourite authors. The first time I read this book I was so confused, I honestly thought it could’ve been any of the family members or even the outsiders, or the servants.
This plot is, like many other Agatha Christie books, so brilliantly simple but honestly it never gets boring! The reader feels like they are there, alongside Poirot and Hastings, as we meet these family members. We don’t know who to trust, what their motives are, but we know Poirot will soon unearth all.
Let’s talk about the characters:
Poirot is on form as ever, this case puts his ‘little grey cells’ to the test, and he stops at nothing to make sure he finds out what happened to Mrs Arundell.
Hastings let’s face it, is the reader, he acts as we would, questioning Poirot when he’s dubious, and always that one step behind our favourite Belgian. I always enjoy novels narrated from Hastings perspective, he’s just fabulous and balances out Poirot perfectly. Their friendship is one of my favourites, and the pair are definitely atop my detective/ sidekick list. I love how, through Hastings, Dame Agatha Christie has expressed her love for dogs, Hastings’ interactions with Bob (the dog) were and remain so endearing.
Bob, is the dumb witness, the clever pooch who’s owner is killed. His presence is prominent throughout the book, and I love how Agatha writes him not just as a character, but as a dog with human thoughts. It really just highlights her love for these creatures, and she based Bob off her own dog, and dedicated this book to him.
Emily Arundell , the victim, I liked her from my first read and even though she’s horrible to some of her relatives I don’t blame her! They’re not altogether nice people, and Emily, not having married and being the last surviving sibling (her 4 siblings predeceasing her) she has to sort out what she’s going to do with her wealth.
Theresa Arundell, I like her, she was vain and fashionable but I saw nothing wrong with her; she’s not yet 30 and engaged to a Doctor, and she enjoys her indulgences, having spent most of her inheritance from her father.
Charles Arundell, much like his sister Theresa, he enjoys the finer things and he too spent most of his money. This lands him in hot water from his aunt Emily, as he tries and fails to ask her for money.
Bella Tanois , Emily’s niece, she is a wife and mother, who wants the best for her two young children. She will literally stop at nothing to ensure they have a solid future.
Jacob Tanois is Bella’s Greek husband, when they married it caused quite the stir within the family, what with Jacob being a foreigner.
Let’s talk about the writing:
Agatha Christie writes brilliantly; she takes all these characters and structures them perfectly. The chapters are divided into Paris where Poirot gets to know each character and possible motives and causes of Emily’s death. Fast paced, filled with surprises, and never dull, Agatha Christie strikes once again with a tale of family drama at its best.
And that concludes my review, thank you for reading, til next time, happy reading,
★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars
This was a very entertaining Poirot novel that features many of Christie's best traits: her clever wit, sharp observations, and a flamboyant cast of characters.
The narrative first introduces us to the family that is at the heart of the later investigation. While Christie has explored similar types of family dynamics in many of her previous—and later—work, I still thought that the cast of characters had great chemistry with one another. And of course, this being Christie, money and inheritances are involved.
The story mostly takes place in a small village where we become acquainted some interesting—if not downright peculiar—locals. Gossip and rumours abound, and it is up to Poirot to find the truth behind what may be or may not be murder. I found his approach to this case really entertaining, especially when he fashions himself as a historian.
My minor quibble is regarding the 'culprit', their motivations seemed rather predictable and I was hoping for a more complex mystery.
Nevertheless, this makes a quick and fun read will surely be enjoyed by Christie fans as well as dog fans (Bob was definitely one of the bast characters).
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