This is the second book starring Hercule Poirot and I have been excited about reading it ever since I read the first one. I love the character Poirot and as soon as I read "Murder on the Styles" I decided I would read them in order (despite having read one or two in the past). As I have been trying to be good with book buying this is only me getting round to the second and it was worth the wait.
In the first one I found Hastings to be a little irritating. If you aren't aware Hastings is the one telling the story. I could put up with him for the sake of Poirot. In this one however, I fell in love with Hastings. I actually found him to be an extremely funny character who adds a little comedy to the murder mysteries. He is one for a pretty face and seems to fall in love at the drop of a hat. In book 1 he proposed to a beautiful lady. In this he can see himself falling for one beautiful girl only to fall for another. It made for some hilarious moments which included my favourite. Poirot enters a room and Hastings quickly holds onto his arms so that the girl he loves can get away. I got some funny looks on the bus when I started laughing read that part. I really hope Hastings continues to be the light comedy through out these books.
As to the plot itself I only guessed one part of it and even then not for the reasons that were given. So once again Christie has managed to surprise me. I think the only downside to the book was that there was such a small cast of suspect. The family is small with little interaction with those around them. I think I prefer it with more people and therefore more intrigue. I did find it funny that the French police were more than happy for Poirot to interfere (as they should be of course).
Giraud was added as Poirot's possible nemesis. A young and arrogant detective who believes that Poirot has had his day and that he of course can't be wrong. This could have turned the book into a parody rather than a mystery and I'm glad/relieved that it didn't turn that way. Poirot allowed Giraud to get on with it whilst carrying on with his own investigations. In short, he was the bigger person.
I remember someone saying (Ryan maybe?) that this wasn't the best Christie although still good. I can see why he would think that and I am inclined to agree. Mainly because I prefer the bigger cast as I already said plus Poirot spent little time questioning the family. It just felt like there was something missing but not enough for me not to love the book. I think Hastings comedy moments more than made up for it.
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