Murder on the Links

I managed to finish my monthly Agatha Christie just in time–August is almost over, unfortunately!

In Murder on the Links, Poirot receives a letter from M. Renauld urgently asking for help. When he arrives at the Villa in France, however, the man has already been killed. What seems to the police like an open-and-shut case is soon complicated by South American secrets, love affairs, and above all a second body. Only the great Poirot would be capable of sorting through this mess to find the correct killer, and also patch up relationships.

The French commissary on the case has also brought in M. Giraud of the French Sureté, who is the type of detective Poirot deems the “human foxhound.” Giraud is concerned chiefly with evidence such as hairs and burnt matches, using them to corroborate his suspicions. Poirot, on the other hand, seems to focus unnecessarily on trivial matters like broken wristwatches and overcoat lengths. He makes secret guesses along the way but believes that everything is evidence, rearranging his theories as new facts present themselves. In his opinion no detail is insignificant or coincidence; a solution will not be accurate if it fails to take everything into account, just as every piece must be used when putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

I continue to be amazed by the astuteness of Poirot’s little grey cells. Unlike the forensic deductions of Holmes, the beauty of this method is that the reader feels they could have perhaps figured it out if only they had been more astute. I prided myself that I had been able to figure out a major point long before Hastings, when Poirot was outlining the known facts for him, but as for the second part of the case I was pretty surprised by some of the twists. With Christie, it’s never over until the last page!

I really like Hastings in the David Suchet adaptations, but for some reason he comes across as a little more annoying to me in print, at least the early books. He is quick to jumpt to conclusions and doubt Poirot, being ruled by his passions and senses rather than his intellect, but can actually be intelligent when he stops and thinks things through. He also has an incorrigible weakness for pretty girls. He is married by his next appearance, however, so perhaps a wife will restore him to more rational behavior.

Next up is the short story collection Poirot Investigates. I have to check and see if we have this specific book, but we do have several short story omnibuses so I could pick them out if need be.

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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