Cards on the Table has an interesting twist – Christie gave us a finite number of suspects (4) and it’s clear from the start that the killer is one of that group. This results in a tighter net for Poirot and more focus on a limited number of characters. Overall, COTT is a strong addition to the series.
However, three things kept me from giving this 5-stars. First, the casual use of ethnic slurs may have been common at the time but it’s still disconcerting for a modern reader. In this case it’s the use of a slur against Italians. I’ve mentioned before that it’s hard to tell if Christie herself felt superior or if she is making a point that her characters feel superior to certain nationalities, races or social strata. Either way, it pulls me out of enjoying the reading experience.
Second, and I believe this is the first time I’ve had this complaint with Christie, it’s a personal pet peeve of mine when an author ‘learns’ a new word and overuses it. In this case the word is “Mephistophelian” to describe the look and demeanor of the victim. Use it once, okay. Use it twice, twitch but okay. Five plus times and I’m rolling my eyes. Just say devilish for goodness sake.
Lastly, the ending. While I am a fan of the red herring, this one didn’t quite work for me. I recognized the device and waited for the big reveal. There were too many conveniences and coincidences for my liking.
Okay, this sounds like I didn’t like it, but really, I did. 4/5 stars.
Death in the Clouds in a fairly standard Poirot mystery – which still rates a 3.5-4 star result. Working my way through the series, I have become enamored of the character. He has many idiosyncrasies and personality quirks which make him one of the most iconic characters in not only classic mysteries but literature in general. One of my favorite traits is his affection for women of a certain type. He seems to favor strong, sassy and formidable women. I like that. A lot! In Death in the Clouds, his femme choisie is Jane Grey – a hairdresser who is drawn into helping him solve the murder.
Ce que c’est drôle.
The Mystery of the Blue Train is a good story that is very “Christie”. It’s full of intrigue and suspense with a lot of movement among the main players. Because the murder takes place on a train it feels natural to compare this book to the more famous Murder on the Orient Express. Frankly, there is no comparison – MOTOE is a vastly superior novel.
My biggest disappointment is that I figured out the majority of the big reveal around the 50% mark. It seemed obvious to me and I would be surprised if most readers didn’t feel the same.
Enjoyable but not special or memorable.
I have to admit that I enjoyed this departure from the standard Poirot type mystery. The Big Four is full of international intrigue and attempted world domination. It was entertaining and quite fun.
The only strange thing is that I watched the BBC episode a few days ago and the story was strikingly different. The book was much better and the tv producers erred in their adaptation.
Well, you are bound to have some books that aren’t as good in any long running series. I am quite obsessed with all things Poirot but Dead Man’s Folly wasn’t up to the same caliber as most earlier installments. I’ve read that Christie became either bored or frustrated with the character and, in some ways, you can see it in DMF. For me, the series is at its’ best in the books written from the 20’s to 40’s. This book, written in 1956, doesn’t have the same feel.
Without going into too many details, part of the issue is that most of the police investigation takes place with Poirot off the scene (and therefore, the page). It’s hard to understand how or why he would solve the mystery when he wasn’t there for many interviews, etc. Also, the ending was fairly preposterous. This was no red herring or plot twist. It just didn’t make sense really.
Having said that, I do enjoy Ariadne Oliver as a secondary character. And, I believe David Suchet narrated the audio for this book. I may choose to listen to it in the future.
After working my way through about half of Christie’s works so far, I’ve come to the conclusion that almost all can be classified as good (3-4 stars) or great (5 stars). I think the 2- star entries will be few and far between and 1-star is unthinkable.
Peril at End House falls into the good category at 4-stars. I probably would have enjoyed it more if read in one sitting. Instead I kept it as my ‘purse book’ for a while. So I only pulled it out when I had a few minutes before a meeting or appointment. This created a disjointed reading experience and wasn’t the best way to consume a Poirot.
One thing I also noticed is that I now read Poirot with David Suchet’s voice. I’ve been binging BBC Poirot when I have time and am quite obsessed. It took me a few episodes to begin to appreciate his portrayal of the character but now…he is brilliant. I may have an unexpected crush.
Death on the Nile has all the ingredients that are required for a winning Poirot mystery – exotic locale, travel, complicated love story, sidekick for Poirot who is less intelligent than our favorite investigator and, of course, plenty of red herrings.
This was enjoyable and I’m sure I’ll remember it as one of the best stories in the series. But, I’m giving it 4-stars rather than 5 because I felt that some of the secondary “love stories” were less than believable. But, truly, it doesn’t matter. Christie can do no wrong. Luckily I have plenty more of her library to read. Once I finish them all, though, it will be a sad, sad day.