3 Hercule Poirots
After finishing the dirge like Anna Karenina, I felt in the mood for something a lot lighter. Where better to turn then the first 3 Hercule Poirot novels by my comfort author Agatha Christie, which I had received from my lovely husband as an Easter present (along with a large, chocolate Lindt egg). They were a welcome relief, light and quitessentially English (even though Hercule is Belgian).
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
After the Great War, life can never be the same again. Wounds need healing and the horror of violent death banished into memory.
Captain Arthur Hastings is invited to the rolling country estate of Styles to recuperate from injuries sustained at the Front. It is the last place he expects to encounter murder. Fortunately he knows a former detective, a Belgian refugee who has grown bored of retirement.
The Murder on the Links
An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.
But why is the dead man wearing his son's overcoat? And who was the impassioned love letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second identically murdered corpse.
First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond...then came the 'suicide' that was murder, the mystery of the abnormally cheap flat...a suspicious death in a locked gun-room...a million dollar bond robbery. What links the fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot!
It has been lovely to journey through Hercule Poirot's first 3 novels and meet him from the beginning. I was not aware that he was a Belgian refugee and we witness his first meeting with Hastings. He is still the same, fastidious and precise detective that we have come to love. We see his penchant for organising items correctly, ensuring everything is in its place. Poirot remains sympathetic to the 'pauvre little one' and his gentle questioning ensures that suspects and interviewees open up to him.
I'd never realised how generous he is to his friends, taking them out for a pleasant meal or a trip abroad. I'd also never realised what a hopeless romantic Captain Hastings was. By book 3 he had proposed to at least 4 different women.
Hastings remains an excellent sidekick to Poirot, blundering in with theories all based on what the murderer wants us to see. It is only the calm presence of Poirot reminding us to consider all we can and can't see that ensures that the correct murderer is found.
My favourite of the 3 was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but I heartily enjoyed all 3. I'm also looking forward to reading the next 2 which I also received from my husband. What a wonderful easter present.
I hope you have a great weekend. It is the joy of Eurovision this weekend. I have got in a lot of European food, and my husband has bought a lot of alcohol, which he says will see him through the event!!!
I'll be back next week with a brilliant page-turner.