Some of Agatha Christie's mysteries are more about characters and some are more about mystery, and this is one of the latter. That's not to say that the characters are poor, only that the mystery itself takes center stage. It's a real whodunnit: A dinner party includes 4 criminals, whom the host claims to know have each gotten away with murder, and 4 sleuths, both professionals and amateurs......and while the 4 criminals are in a room playing bridge, one of them quietly and secretly murders the host. Whodunnit, and how will Poirot figure it out? Keep listening and find out.
Hugh Fraser does a terrific job, as I've enjoyed in the past.
I really do enjoy these well-narrated Agatha Christie novels, and this one doesn't disappoint. Although I'm not a huge fan of the egotistical Poirot, I am a big fan of Christie's mysteries and her (other) characters and, yes, Poirot is growing on me, if only as a somewhat laughable genius.
This mystery involves a series of alphabetical murders - the person's name and their town, running down the alphabet - that have been fortold in a series of taunting letters sent to Poirot, daring him to stop them or solve them. For reasons that later become apparent, it takes Poirot to the fourth murder (in Doncaster) to solve the problem and find the murder. In the interim, there are suspects, witnesses, red herrings, subtle clues, and a roulette wheel.
I recently found out that the character of Arthur Hastings (Poirot's friend who chronicles many of his adventures in several Agatha Christie novels) was played for almost 25 years on TV by the narrator of this book, Hugh Fraser. A nice match.
I was worried that some of the "hard boiled" noir detective language would seem cliched, but I think the narration helped with that. While I originally thought Ray Porter's narration was too light and casual for a a character like Philip Marlowe, in the end I think that interpretation saved this audiobook from sounding like a cliched comic.
While the character of Philip Marlowe was great and I can see why he became a classic, the actual story of the book was a little to convoluted and impracticably complex. I thought it would have ended an hour plus before it did, but the denouement seemed to go on and on.