Year Published (UK) – 1932
Narrated by – Arthur Hastings
Detective – Hercule Poirot
Maladroit Detective/s – Inspector James ‘Jimmy’ Japp
Murder weapons – Gun
First Line – ‘No seaside town in the south of England is, I think, as attractive as St Loo.’
Denouement – End House
Mademoiselle Nick Buckley of End House, St Loo has had several suspicious accidents and Poirot is just the man to get to the bottom of it. Coming out of retirement to insist that Ms Buckley is in grave danger, Poirot convinces Nick to invite her cousin to stay at the house during his investigation, but tragedy strikes and Poirot is full of self-deprecation and remorse. Can he solve the mystery before a second murder is committed?
A mystery within a mystery, Christie weaves a wicked tale of pre-meditated, cold-blooded murder and fraud. In a tale where Hastings and Poirot’s roles are almost reversed, Poirot is taken in by a pretty face. Christie’s clever use of misdirection and layers of back story create a cunning mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.
Christie’s observation of human nature shines in this her eighth Poirot mystery. The carefree attitude of the 1930s young upper class is apparent and yet an undercurrent of emotional loss and self-destruction – perhaps prevalent in this interwar period – bubbles under the surface of what is a complicated and unhappy household, despite first appearances.
This mystery caught me out and I love it when Christie manages to do that. This is a classic Christie and one of my favourites so far.
To follow my Agatha Christie Challenge and read reviews of previous books, please click here.