"The Ravenscrofts didn't seem that kind of person. They seemed well balanced and placid..." And yet, twelve years earlier, the husband had shot the wife, and then himself - or perhaps it was the other way around, since sets of both of their fingerprints were on the gun, and the gun had fallen between them. The case haunts Ariadne Oliver, who had been a friend of the couple. The famous mystery novelist desires this real-life mystery solved, and calls upon Hercule Poirot to help her do so.
Poirot is now a very old man, but his mind is as nimble and as sharp as ever and can still penetrate deep into the shadows. But as Poirot and Mrs. Oliver and Superintendent Spence reopen the long-closed case, a startling discovery awaits them. And if memory serves Poirot (and it does!), crime - like history - has a tendency to repeat itself.
©1972 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers
I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
I normally like Agatha Christie a lot and can rely on her to provide a good, safe bet for listening. I particularly like Hercule Poirot but found this book to be the weakest I have read by her.
If you have not read Agatha Christie try something else as I think this is the worst example of her books I have read so far.
Of the stories I've read lately of Poirot's exploits, this one stands as memorable for Poirot's display of concern and compassion toward a young couple. This couple is planning to marry, but it seems a dark secret looms large over them that might derail the marriage. Poirot, along with Ariadne, is quite determined to get to the bottom of a decades old mystery involving twin daughters, the death of two children, the role of mental health in family dynamics, long kept family secrets and much more. Another engaging tale!
Hugh Fraser is the perfect narrator for Agatha Christie's books. His performance is very expressive and I like that fact that he makes each character very recognizable.
This book was particularly easy for me to guess the ending. I had it pretty much figured out since chapter 5 or so. Not that that made it any less enjoyable. It's always a pleasure to see Poirot unwind the skein of yarn!
In the last Christie novel I read - Murder is announced - there was an allusion to elephants' memory by the end of the story. That prompted to listen to this book. However, that seemed to have partly ruined the surprise for me.
Read alone, the story is intriguing and cleverly laid out. Poirot is asked to investigate a suicide pact that happened many years ago. He goes on to find out what actually happened and reveals that the incident may not be as simple as was thought by the police. The flow of the story was clear and the initial question that draws Poirot into the investigation - did the wife kill the husband or did the husband kill the wife? - is equally fascinating to the reader.
The only problem with the story is that it draws on too many ideas from other Christie novels. I could sum up the story in the following equation: Five Little Pigs setting (Poirot) + A Murder is Announced solution concept (Marple) + Silver Blaze clue (Holmes). At the end I was quite confident that I knew what the solution was.
But if you haven't read many of Christie's novels the solution will be as mind-blowing as ever. So I'd give it a try.
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