The first new Hercule Poirot detective novel is an exciting and at the same time daring debut of Agatha Christie’s successor Sophie Hannah!
New Hercule Poirot Mystery #1
Agatha Christie is my favourite author: the complicated plots, the underlying humour, the characters that are never 100% evil, the fluffy Miss Marple, the loving couple Tommy and Tuppence Beresford and the profound feeling of friendship between Mr Poirot and his lifelong friend Captain Hastings, they never cease to interest and amuse me. That is why the introduction of a revived Poirot caused mixed feelings. On the one hand, Dame Agatha did not particularly like her Belgian detective and wished to dispose of him earlier. So why not let another one have a shot (perhaps that should be rephrased) at creating mysteries for Poirot.
There is also the fact that successor to Dame Agatha’s inheritance, her grandson Mathew Pritchard, swept away by the compelling passion of Sophie Hannah for his grandmother’s writings and characters, had explicitly approved of this re-entrance of Poirot in mystery writing. So I decided to give the brave Ms Hannah a fair chance and bought the book, with high expectations and a great curiosity. The new book looked and still looks great, sophisticated and with simple elegance. Once I started reading, I just had to finish the book!
Both Poirot and Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard are individually distinguished characters, however together they lack the friendship Poirot and Hastings had. Edward Catchpool seems to mistrust Poirot and, although obeying to his directives and following Poirot’s lead, the feeling, for me, is not there. Whereas Hastings is amusing with his observations, Catchpool’s comments always seem a reflection of the, to him, apparent lack of insights into detecting as well as modern life Poirot has according to Catchpool. The tolerance of Poirot and Hastings towards one another is almost non-existent between Poirot and Catchpool: I think that is lacking for me, such a strong component of Dame Agatha’s writings, that makes even gruesome murders bearable.
About the plot: what can you say? After staying in the dark for many pages almost at once the clues appear and can be deciphered in such a way that even the reader is able to see the plot layout and has an inkling of how things will work out. Moreover, someone who has withdrawn from society for many years, only to keep searching for methods to amend his wrongdoings in the past, how credible is that? Then he does come up with a plan that obviously is not waterproof and at the same time relying on actions of someone else, whom he first wants to be murdered and then apparently trusts so fully that he is prepared to ‘go first’ and let her ensure everything will proceed along with his wishes. Yes, right, that is what I would do when I’ve been planning and scheduling for years.
I think the book is very well written, pleasant to read and contains multiple murders, without being very explicit about the gruesome details of murder. Always nice when you’re, like me, a detective fan who regards murders as puzzles to be solved, not as events that should be meticulously described with all details disclosed. Furthermore, I think Mr Poirot does deserve a second chance. He is still loved by many fans and if Dame Agatha were alive today she would be astounded that the man with his little grey cells still has this impact in modern society.
So if the subtle humour would be part of the writings and, most important of all, there would be established a more warm and friendly relationship between Poirot and his Scotland Yard apprentice Catchpool, this would in my opinion just great and would add enormously to the authentication and warm feelings we fans have for our superb and characteristic detective with his sublime moustache.
The next New Hercule Poirot Mystery book is Closed Casket (Sep. 6th, 2016).
About the Author
Sophie Hannah is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author of psychological crime fiction. The British writer was born in Manchester; aged 24 she published her first book of poems, The Hero and the Girl Next Door. Her poems’ subjects tend toward the personal, utilizing classic rhyme schemes with understated wit, humour and warmth. In 2004, she was named one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets. She has also written children’s books. Her 2008 psychological crime thriller The Point of Rescue was produced for TV as the two-part drama Case Sensitive. Among her crime novels are ‘The Culver Valley Crime Series‘ consisting of 9 books (book #10 to be published on Oct.20th, 2016).
The Monogram Murders is available at Amazon.
|Publisher||Harper (May 2015)|