Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3
Published by HarperAudio on August 28, 2018
Length: 9 hrs 58 mins
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The world's most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot, the legendary star of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930.
Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.
Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him -- a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy...
Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
Sophie Hannah resurrects Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot in this, her latest addition to the series. I read the first of her Poirot books and was under-impressed, but for whatever reason, decided to give them another chance. This, her 3rd in the series, was surprisingly enjoyable. This is not Agatha Christie’s Poirot, but he has his eccentricities and peculiarities. He’s self-consciously Poirot, but he was entertaining and intelligent. Poirot returns home after lunch to be confronted by an outraged Sylvia Rule, angry that she has received a letter from him accusing her of murdering Barnaby Pandy and urging her to confess. It turns out that three more seemingly unrelated people, Annabel Treadway, John McCrodden, and Hugo Dockerill, each received the same letter. Poirot is baffled as he wrote none of the letters.
Poirot is intrigued and can’t help looking into Pandy’s death, an accidental drowning in his bath. Was it actually murder? If so, is one of the letter-receivers guilty? Poirot has a host of suspects, with secrets and scandals and family drama galore. The mystery is rather overly-complicated, but Poirot does an excellent job noting every speck of information. Poirot’s sidekick, Scotland Yard detective Catchpool, was a much better character this time around. He pretty much goes along with Poirot’s plan, in an unofficial role, since as far as Scotland Yard is concerned, there has been no crime committed.
This is not an Agatha Christie book and that’s fine. It’s enjoyable nonetheless.