Fresh from my first three Christie reads of A Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Secret Adversary and Murder on the Links, I then delved into a compilation of Poirot short stories called, Poirot investigates. These stories comprise Christie’s fourth published book, published in March 1924.
I must say, after my disappointment with Murder on the Links, Christie has returned to her fine form. Most of the short mysteries have a tight plot (probably necessary for a short story) and a well-crafted riddle. While Poirot’s little grey cells are in fine form, Hastings is his annoying self but at a level that is acceptable and even amusing in certain circumstances. The stories run as follows:
Murder on the Links: “It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7th, 1915.”
Detective: Hercule Poirot
Published: 1923 (Christie’s 3rd published book)
Length: 272 pages
Setting: Merlinville-sur-Mer, France (fictional)
This is Agatha Christie’s third published novel after The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Secret Adversary, and her second one featuring the astute Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Quite honestly, this novel falls far short of her initial two attempts, her adept plotting of a mystery surprisingly lacking as the murder and motive is revealed in a rather bumbling fashion. But for now, let’s look at the plot.
The Secret Adversary: “It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7th, 1915.”
Detectives: Tommy Beresford & Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley
Published: 1922 (Christie’s 2nd published book)
Length: 308 pages
Setting: London; Bournemouth; Holyhead, Wales; Kent
Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley are childhood chums who meet up after the war. Tuppence, the daughter of a clergyman, wishes to spread her independent wings and Tommy, demobilized after the war, is looking for a new direction in life. As neither is flush with money, they put their entrepreneurial brains together and decide to launch The Young Adventurers, Ltd. Overhearing them, a man named Whittington follows Tuppence and claims he’s interested in her services. Immediately wary, Tuppence gives her name as Jane Finn, the assumed name which she’d heard earlier from Tommy. The appellation causes Whittington to react nearly apoplectically and the following investigation sends them on a whirlwind of adventure from which they are unsure if they’ll return alive!
The Ritz London ~ source Wikimedia Commons
The Mysterious Affair at Styles: “The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as ‘The Styles Case’ has now somewhat subsided.”
Detective: Hercule Poirot
Published: 1920 (1st published book)
Length: 224 pages
Written at: Dartmoor
Published in 1920, The Mysterious Affair at Styles is not only Agatha Christie’s first published novel but the first to introduce the reader to Hercule Poirot, her fastidious yet likeable Belgian detective whose mind nimbly gathers clues, deftly processes information and cunningly solves murders with style and aplomb.
~ source Wikimedia Commons