Monday, 29 July 2013

Book Review: Curtain by Agatha Christie

I have an old, battered copy of this novel that belonged to my mother. She loved a good murder mystery, in a book, on stage or on TV. Maybe that's part of the reason I write murder mystery plays for a living.

I have always found Agatha Christie's writing to be very readable: entertaining, clever and involving. She doesn't force feed you her detective work (as I've seen some murder mystery writers do) but instead draws you in paragraph by paragraph.

In Curtain, Poirot's last case, we find ourselves at the scene of his first case, a  country house called Styles, and his companion, as it was then, is his old friend Hastings. Poirot is elderly, his familiar black hair and moustache augmented by a wig and dye. He is seeing out his final days doing what he has always done, investigating a murder. The inside cover description reads,

'Styles is now a guest-house, and Poirot one of the guests. He invites his old friend Hastings to join him there, and confides the professional reason for this ultimate reunion. Among those at Styles is someone responsible for several murders, yet someone the law cannot touch. Poirot is reluctant to name his suspect.

'But soon there is another death at Styles - and this time, with Hasting's daughter among the guests and suspects, even he contemplates murder!'

The book is narrated by Hastings and as such is told in a sympathetic and warm manner. Hastings is a widower and feels lost without his wife. Alongside this, he feels that he is a nuisance to his daughter whom he loves dearly. Poirot refuses to tell him who the murderer is so Hastings spends most of the book trying to figure the mystery out for himself, coming to many wrong conclusions. The mystery is finally solved after Poirot's death, in a letter from the departed detective to his friend.

Maybe it's my devious mind but I predicted the murderers in many of Christie's novels. Curtain, however, fooled me which is another reason why I love this book so much.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't read an Agatha Christie book in a long time. I really should.

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  2. It's such a talent to be able to write a good murder mystery, and Christie certainly did it well. My husband and I got to see "Mousetrap" when we were in London for our honeymoon eons ago--fantastic!

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