Review – Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot #36) by Agatha Christie

12398618When I found this at the used bookstore, I was sure it would be the perfect read for Halloween.  Things didn’t quite go as planned for me that day so I ended up finishing the following morning.  And, you know, that was fine.  This isn’t horror and it didn’t tickle any of my Hallowe’en fancies.  The name is simply due to the fact that the mystery begins at a children’s Halloween party.

I took a ton of notes while reading but I think I’ll just keep the review short and simple.  Hallowe’en Party was just okay and for an Agatha Christie reader that is a big disappointment.  Part of the problem is that I finished And Then There Were None not that long ago and it is freaking brilliant.  HP isn’t.

The story suffers from the fact that it’s set in the late 60s as well.  It felt as if Christie was struggling to adjust with the times herself and the writing reflected that frustration.  There are mentions of LSD, girls maturing too quickly, kids being lured into cars by strangers, etc.  And, there was almost an obsession with mental health issues.  Practically every person Poirot interviews states that the murder had to be committed by someone with mental problems.  There was talk of overcrowding in mental health facilities, lack of care…wait was this 1969 or present day?

A loose plot thread was especially surprising.  I guess I can’t really spoil a book that was written close to 50 years ago.  A codicil to a will was being discussed as a forgery.  When first mentioned, Christie noted two supposed witnesses to the original signature.  But, then for pages and pages and through multiple interviews, noone ever thinks to ask these witnesses if the codicil was legitimate.  HUH?

I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read a Poirot before.  I’ve got others in the queue but this was first (probably a mistake).  Does Christie mean for him to come off as a pompous a-hole?  Plus, his investigative abilities weren’t that impressive here.

Lastly, there was a convenient tie in at the end that was unnecessary and that was another disappointment.

2.5 stars.  Hoping for better luck next time.

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