The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah
Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3
Published by HarperAudio on August 28, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 9 hrs 58 mins
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook
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four-stars

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.

About Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling writer of crime fiction, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.

In 2013, Sophie’s novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. She has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Award.

Sophie has recently helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

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5 Comments

  • I’m wary of series continuations by other authors. Years ago, my teenage soul didn’t know Carolyn Keene had stopped writing Nancy Drew mysteries, ha! I wonder who decides/ how it is decided to select the continuing author: is there a trust, or the family descendants who decide? Curious.

  • I’ve been undecided about whether or not to try these Poirot mysteries just because I love Christie’s original books so much. It’s good to know that this one’s worth checking out.

    • I was under-whelmed by Hannah’s first in the series. I skipped the 2nd, but I enjoyed this one. Not everyone does though, based on the Goodreads reviews.

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