To my recollection, I have not read an Agatha Christie mystery before this one. Given she was a prolific writer, knowing which of her books to read, which are better than the rest, is a worthwhile endeavor. Fortunately, others have read all of Christie's books, and I can use their wisdom to curate my reading list.
This book tops many of Christie's must-read books lists. It is the highest rated Poirot books, and the highest rated Christie mystery book, so, rather than skipping to the end, I started at the top.
And read this one.
I had the advantage of not having read this book before and not having seen the movie. I loved the ending. Well, not the ending ending, but the big reveal. Wow, just wow. I suspect if I had read the other Poirot books, I would have recognized him when he was introduced. I didn't, so even that small reveal was fun for me.
Basic plot: small(-ish) town doctor receives a call in the middle of the night that a friend / patient / big name in town is dead, and rushes to find, yes, indeed, he is not only dead, but also obviously murdered. He then works with the local police and, when invited, Poirot to discover who the murderer. It could be any number of persons in the dead man's household, based on given testimonies, and wow, everyone has something to hide. Society and shame has a way of doing that to us.
The glimpses into a past society was fun, too.
While normally I'd say, "I strongly recommend one read an Agatha Christie mystery," regardless of which one, I agree with all those who have read many if not all of her books, this one is great. Strongly recommended.
“Do not disquiet yourself. It is not with me a habit. But you can figure to yourself, monsieur, that a man may work towards a certain object, may labour and toil to attain a certain kind of leisure and occupation, and then find that, after all, he yearns for the old busy days, and the old occupations that he thought himself so glad to leave?”
“Yes,” I said slowly. “I fancy that that is a common enough occurrence. I myself am perhaps an instance. A year ago I came into a legacy—enough to enable me to realize a dream. I have always wanted to travel, to see the world. Well, that was a year ago, as I said, and—I am still here.”
My little neighbour nodded. “The chains of habit. We work to attain an object, and the object gained, we find that what we miss is the daily toil."
“And anyway,” continued Miss Flora, “all this making a fuss about things because someone wore or used them seems to me all nonsense. They’re not wearing or using them now. That pen that George Eliot wrote The Mill on the Floss with—that sort of thing—well, it’s only just a pen after all. If you’re really keen on George Eliot, why not get The Mill on the Floss in a cheap edition and read it.”
Youth is very buoyant. Even the brutal murder of his friend and employer could not dim Geoffrey Raymond’s spirits for long.
Perhaps that is as it should be. I do not know. I have lost the quality of resilience long since myself.
She knows the value of being direct on certain occasions. Any hints would certainly have been wasted on Caroline.
“You see,” she explained, following directness with tact,
“Everyone has something to hide,” I quoted, smiling.
“You still believe that?”
“More than ever, my friend."
“Curiosity is not my besetting sin,” I remarked coldly. “I can exist comfortably without knowing exactly what my neighbours are doing and thinking.”
I should not like Caroline to know. She is fond of me, and then, too, she is proud…My death will be a grief to her, but grief passes….