Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Series: Hercule Poirot #43
Published by Harper Audio on Sept. 9, 2014
Length: 11 hrs 12 mins
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Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...
I have been a Poirot fan for as long as I can remember, so of course I had to pick up The Monogram Murders. I have to admit I was disappointed. As a mystery, it was okay, if you can overlook the horrible Scotland Yard detective Poirot has paired himself with, Catchpool. He’s incompetent and spends way too much time dwelling on events in his childhood, on his weaknesses. The mystery, the way the murders are committed and how the bodies are laid out is interesting enough. There’s even a nice little bit that confuses the time of death and the clues fit together well. The mystery itself could have been good, but it relied on the Poirot hook and in that it failed. Maybe give me an original character, or even a better sidekick and I would have felt differently.
Poirot is just not Poirot. He’s too Poirot, if that makes sense. It’s like he’s overly conscious of his own mannerisms and quirks. The book is just trying too hard. It doesn’t feel natural, it feels forced.
I listened to the book, but I’ve listened to other Poirot stories, ones actually written by Christie, so that wouldn’t have solely colored my opinion. Rhind-Tutt did a fine job as narrator, she blended into the story, differentiated the characters well, even managed to almost make Catchpool bearable.