Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Pub. Date: Orig. 1937, this ed. 2007, Black Dog & Leventhal
Format: Hardcover, 255 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I purchased my copy of this book. I was in no way compensated for this review and my
opinions are my own.
"You do see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?"
Hercule Poirot overhears a young man saying these chilling words, then days later, the man's stepmother, known to all as a sadistic tyrant, is found dead. But beyond a puncture would to the wrist, the exact cause of the woman's death is unknown - and murder is only one possibility. In his meticulous fashion, the exacting Belgian sleuth interviews each of the victim's beleaguered family members, then becomes interested in other members of the vacationing party: a doctor whose hypodermic syringe has gone missing, a domineering English matron, and an energetic young woman with an interest in the victim's son. While few mourn the dead woman's passing, suspense mounts as Poirot closes in on the circumstances surrounding her murky death.
Once again, Christie has written a mystery with an ending I didn't see coming. This time, I can't decide if I think she left enough clues to lead to the culprit, however. Normally, I find myself saying "oh, yeah!" as I read the outcome, but this time I thought it was a little shaky. But, as usual, Christie does a beautiful job fleshing out the characters of a well-rounded cast, with plenty of doubt cast among almost all of them. I changed my mind a few different times as to the possible outcome, but still didn't get it right!
I love that Christie devotes pages and pages of detail leading up to the murder, rather than just starting the book out with the murder then recounting everything that had happened through the various characters' eyes. I find myself always paying close attention to what is happening and storing away possible useful information, just waiting for Poirot to start his investigation. This particular book also had an epilogue that I thought was interesting and I appreciated it for this story. Despite what I think may be a lack of evidence to point towards the culprit, I think that anyone who likes mysteries would enjoy this book. Agatha Christie never fails to please!