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:
- The Adventure of the Western Star
- The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
- The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
- The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
- The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
- The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
- The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
- The Kidnapped Prime Minister
- The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
- The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
- The Case of the Missing Will
The first story has a somewhat fantastical element to it, relating to mysterious, threatening Chinamen and stolen jewels, however Christie manages to steady her pacing and tighten her plots and the rest of the stories are worthy of her talent. Many devices and circumstances are employed including missing bonds, a questionable suicide, an Egyptian curse and the kidnapping of the Prime Minister!
Christie first wrote these short stories at the behest of the editor of Sketch magazine and they appeared there first, in 1923. With the rest of a 6 book publishing contract with Bodley Head to fulfill and dissatisfaction with the terms, Christie canvased to get this compilation of stories counted as one of the six books. Eventually, she was successful.
And on my Christie marathon goes with the next mystery, The Man in the Brown Suit. I loved the old movie of it with Stephanie Zimbalist, so I can’t wait to see if the book lives up to it!