I wasn’t crazy about most of these – probably how they ended up in this collection.
★★★✰✰ 3.5 stars
“[H]e was trying to grow a moustache and as yet the result is poor.” Poirot stroked his own magnificent moustache tenderly. “It is an art, he murmured, the growing of the moustache! I have sympathy for all who attempt it.”
”The word publicity occurred throughout his conversation with the regularity of a leitmotif. Mr. Hardman was a small man, delicately plump, with exquisitely manicured hands and a plaintive tenor voice. In this way, he was somewhat of a celebrity and the fashionable life was his profession. He was rich, but not remarkably so, and he spent his money zealously in the pursuit of social pleasure. His hobby was collecting. He had the collector's soul. Old lace, old fans, antique jewellery—nothing crude or modern for Marcus Hardman.”
“Oh, Monsieur Poirot, what a question! They are my friends, as I told you. I suspect none of them—or all of them, whichever way you like to put it.”
Solid short story collection. Three of the eight were new-to-me stories ("Double Sin," "Wasp's Nest," and "The Double Clue").
This was a nice collection of Agatha Christie short stories. Several of the stories featured Hercule Poirot, a couple featured Miss Marple. The story about the doll was a little creepy and stands out in my mind.
Four Poirot mysteries, two Miss Marple mysteries, and two paranormal tales. Of the latter, "The Dressmaker's Doll" is quite good, but "The Last Seance" felt rushed and didn't seem to have a point.
"Sanctuary" was my favorite of the two Miss Marple tales, and was surprisingly twisty for a short story. "Greenshaw's Folly" was satisfying, in that the victim wasn't the nicest person (as evidenced by her treatment of her housekeeper) but the murderers didn't get their expected payoff either. They wouldn't have even without the assistance of Miss Marple, although they probably would at least have got away with the murder.
Of the Poirot stories, the best of the bunch is "The Theft of the Royal Ruby," (also known as "The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding") which is particularly notable for the clever way Poirot revealed the thief while also having a little fun at the expense of those who intended to play a joke on him instead. "Double Sin" was rather formulaic. "Wasps' Nest" had the pleasant twist of preventing a murder rather than solving one. "Double Clue" was our first introduction to Countess Vera Rossakoff, although the story itself was rather basic.
Well that was a let down. Most of these I seem to have read in previous collections if not the formula has been applied in her other works. I did enjoy the Clapham cook and the titular story Double Sin. But the others all fell a bit flat for me.
Double Sin - 4/5: I was about halfway through this short story when I distinctly remembered watching it on Agatha Christie's Poirot about a few months back. Of course, I remembered the general idea of the case, but I couldn't remember whodunnit. An enjoyable short little mystery. And, why is it that every time Poirot tries to have a little vacation, he winds up having to solve a mystery?
Wasps' Nest - 4/5: Short, sweet, and to the point. This was the perfect length for this mystery. And, as usual with Poirot, I didn't quite guess right about the mystery. It was a very good show of how Dame Christie doesn't give us all the facts, but just enough so you have a slight feeling about who has done the crime/who will do it.
The Theft of the Royal Ruby - 4.5/5: This was a really long one compared to the rest of them. But, again, I remembered this one off Agatha Christie's Poirot. And, again, I remembered only part of it. The general sense of the mystery and the kids trying to play a prank on Poirot, but not the outcome of the case. Why is it that I always space that part out? I'm sure it says a lot about me. This story was really fun. Honestly. That's how I feel about these short stories with Poirot. They're all just fun little mysteries that you can read in one sitting without having to keep track of too many characters or plots.
The Dressmaker's Doll - 4/5: Well, that one certainly wasn't a mystery. I'd say it was more of a light horror. Dolls are creepy. And a doll that moves on its own? Even creepier. Honestly, I don't see why people are freaked out by Toy Story since everyone these days seems to find dolls unsettling.
Greenshaw's Folly - 3.5/5: The title of this short story ties into the tale in many ways, bringing everything around from beginning to end with all the characters. And, the characters were fun. Since this was a Miss Marple mystery and I've never been a huge fan of her stories, it fell a touch flat, but I did like it. Raymond was finally more than a background character. Never read a mystery with him actually in it rather than being mentioned as some secondary character.
The Double Clue - 4/5: In a way, this one really reminded me of The Scandal in Bohemia. I mean, without Poirot being defeated. Or there being some huge disguise thing and running away. Just the dynamic of a man and a woman dancing around each other, in a sense. This was a very short and simple story, yet I really enjoyed it. I do love my Poirot.
The Last Seance - 5/5: Wow. That was a HUGE departure from the Christie I'm used to. Again, more of the horror genre than a mystery. It was really good. Maybe that's because I wasn't expecting it. This one is definitely my favorite with the lore of spirit calling that was subtly woven in, along with its own little thing about not touching the manifestation. Just... wow. Reminiscent more to Poe than the Christie I'm used to. She sure can genre switch when she wants to. She would have been a great classical horror author if she went down that route in some books.
Sanctuary - 4/5: Another Miss Marple mystery, but this one was really good. An interesting play on sanctuary. I'll forever relate that word back to Esmerelda calling for sanctuary in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but oh well. Maybe that's one of the reasons why I really liked this story. Just a fun little mystery where I didn't quite get what was going on until everything was being explained.
Overall: 4.125 (The actual number I got when I plugged it into the calculator. I didn't feel like doing any rounding.)
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