Published September 1st 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers
Author: Agatha Christie
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Stephen pulled up the collar of his coat as he walked briskly along the platform.”
Motives for Murder: A fortune in uncut diamonds, hidden by an eccentric old man A woman’s love, too freely given A business empire built on ruthlessness Each of them may have been a motive for the brutal slaying of wealthy old Simeon Lee. Coupled with Lee’s family, each member of which hated him and wished to see him dead, they presented Hercule Poirot with a baffling challenge–one which the astute detective solved only through his uncanny ability to see “the little things.”
I’m starting to become a bit of an Agatha Christie fan! I’m used to crime dramas, and have watched plenty of TV adaptations of Christie’s novels, so I’m familiar with the way these murder mystery plots work. But reading them feels a lot more satisfying.
The first Christie book I read was Hallowe’en Party and I have to say that this one was a lot better in comparison. What made it even better was the message at the very beginning, before the story even starts. Essentially, Christie writes to one of her readers, from whom she has received criticisms regarding her murders. This book was therefore written to be a ‘murder where there was no doubt about its being murder.’ Well, she certainly achieved that!
This is a classic locked room murder. The door was locked from the outside, the windows can’t possibly have been an escape route for the murderer…so what happened? We were promised blood, and this book is definitely full of it.
It took a while for me to get into it, and this may have been due to it taking 100 pages for Poirot to enter the narrative. I know that we need to establish the scene and have a murder take place first, but I’d really like to read a Poirot with him from the start! I love his character, and I found it hard to get into the story without him. Is that odd?
There are a lot of characters in this novel and I don’t think I full grasped each individual one until towards the end. This meant I couldn’t always follow who Poirot and the police were referring to, and what the significance of that might be. But that’s what you get when the story revolved around a family…everyone has the same surname. All the men are Mr Lee! But as the case unraveled and was being investigated, I found it slightly easier to get my head around.
Throughout the entire book I was trying to work out who did it, and trying to pick up on clues and little details which may or may not be significant. I came to the conclusion that EVERYTHING was significant in its own way.
The plot twist. I didn’t see it coming. It was one of those moments where as soon as you find out who did it, you want to go back and read the whole thing again with the knowledge of who the murderer is. The initial shock was there, but it didn’t last very long.
I’ve given this book 4/5 stars, because I enjoyed it better than the last Christie I read, but found it hard to follow in places, and I wanted more Poirot from the start!
Link to the book on Goodreads: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas