• The Mystery of Three Quarters

  • The New Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Sophie Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (529 ratings)
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The Mystery of Three Quarters  By  cover art

The Mystery of Three Quarters

By: Sophie Hannah
Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
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Publisher's summary

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.

Returning home from a luncheon, Hercule Poirot is met at his door by an imperious woman who introduces herself as Sylvia Rule. "How dare you? How dare you send me such a letter?" Ignoring his denials, Mrs. Rule insists she received a missive claiming he had proof she murdered a man named Barnabas Pandy and advising her to confess her crime to the police. Threatening the perplexed Poirot with a lawsuit, she leaves in a huff. 

Minutes later, a rather disheveled man named John McCrodden appears. "I got your letter accusing me of the murder of Barnabas Pandy." Calmly, Poirot again rebuts the charge. Each insisting they are victims of a conspiracy, Mrs. Rule and Mr. McCrodden deny knowing who Pandy is. 

The next day, two more strangers proclaim their innocence and provide illuminating details. Miss Annabel Treadway tells Poirot that Barnabas Pandy was her grandfather. But he was not murdered; his death was an accident. Hugo Dockerill also knows of Pandy, and he heard the old man fell asleep in his bath and drowned. 

Why did someone send letters in Poirot’s name accusing people of murder? If Pandy’s death was an accident, why charge foul play? It is precisely because he is the great Hercule Poirot that he would never knowingly accuse an innocent person of a crime. Someone is trying to make mischief, and the instigator wants Poirot involved.

Engaging the help of Edward Catchpool, his Scotland Yard policeman friend, Poirot begins to dig into the investigation, exerting his little grey cells to solve an elaborate puzzle involving a tangled web of relationships, scandalous secrets, and past misdeeds. 

©2018 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Mystery of Three Quarters

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good setup; long, drawn-out resolution

Poirot lives on in this series, and Insp. Catchpool is good as his sidekick and putative narrator. Plus, the vocal narrator, Julian Rhind-Tutt, is excellent.

I wish Poirot and Catchpool could be surrounded by some more likable characters. I understand that a murder mystery necessarily involves people who could be capable of terrible acts, but I prefer suspects & witnesses who might be implicated without being so unpleasant.

I don’t know if the attitudes portrayed are accurate for the era. The topic of illegal abortion was raised a couple of times, with an enraged kid talking about murder, countered only by an unsympathetic provider who apparently didn’t care whether or not the patient wanted the procedure. (I somehow doubt providers were forcing the upper class to have unwanted illegal abortions.) And why would Poirot summon children at play to attend his big reveal about murder and multiple families’ secrets? It doesn’t seem like something kids would need to learn about in a big group setting. Also, the word “murder” is thrown around a lot, unquestioned. I waited for an alleged murder victim to pipe up and ask if there weren’t other crimes on the books to cover dishonesty, without calling it murder.

I enjoyed a lot of the book, including clever twists and some nice musings on forgiveness. But I found the second half of the story needlessly long and hard to believe. The underlying wrongdoing seemed to me a silly basis for the alleged crime. There was also a three-day affair that was supposedly one’s only possible love. I wondered how one kid got so preternaturally well-adjusted. I also don’t understand the perspective that hanging is the only acceptable outcome of a criminal case.

In sum, though, the book was a fairly pleasant journey, because it captured Poirot’s attitude and approach so well, and because the narration is superb.

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OH, dear, cake is coming out of my ears!

The Mystery of the Three Quarters: A New Hercule Poirot Mystery
This is the third, and most pitifully tedious entry in the Poirot series from this author.
The first two entries' plots and storylines were at least able to be followed, somewhat, although not easily. This entry was positively indecipherable. I mean, what is the big deal with the Church Window cake? Cut off a quarter, cut it across, cut it lengthwise! Also, the spoken voice of Poirot was so wimpy and lackluster. The volume of his voice was lower and softer than other voices that I could hardly hear him. Lastly, the action was so painfully slow. To add the icing on this icky icky, Poirot's final explanation of the crimes and relationships, cake and all, took more than the last TWO HOURS of the audiobook. Also new facts come in during the last two hours. Well, surprise, surprise! It takes out all of the entertainment aspect of trying to figure out who is guilty if facts are hidden from the listener. Plus the constant references to this cake is very annoying. Try the other two books if you dare. I believe the first one is still on archive.org for free. Do not waste time, money or credit on this one I'm begging you as a sincere fellow listener. You will be so sorry if you chose to listen to this hound of a book.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Just like a classic Agatha Christie

This is just like a classic Agatha Christie. Very much got her tone and voice. I loved listening to it and look forward to more of this quality.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Please stop

This goes on and on and turns on a premise that is very light indeed. I hope she doesn’t write anymore of these.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A New Hercule Poirot to enjoy!

I fell in love with Agatha Christie's books years ago. Poirot and Marple being my favorite characters. I have listened to the three books by Sophie Hannah and found this one to be very, very good!
I think the denouement was spun out a bit long, but since I hate the story to be over it's not a serious complaint. The narrator who reads these books is exceptional. I hope we can look forward to more Poirot by Ms. Hannah, with Jjulian Rhind-Tutt narrating.
G. Knipe

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Over-Wrought One-Dimensional Anti-Choice Propaganda

All the female characters are shrews or annoying weaklings without dimension. The story makes a lot of twists and turns of unsatisfying nothings that it stretches for pages for no sensible reason. Poirot’s traditional explanation stretches over ten chapters and they are not fun, turn boring often. There is shameless anti-choice propaganda (Agatha Christie was careful of this, Ms. Hannah is not, putting it above the story). Mr. Rhind-Tutt is good, but with every book sounds less like David Suchett who is THE Poirot forever. I feel the book itself veers away from Agatha Christie tradition and feels more like a traditional Ms. Hannah book that just happens to have Poirot as a character.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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don't believe the negative reviews

This series is an excellent Christie pastiche. easily outstrips the worst of Christie (think Cat Among the Pigeons or Nemesis) and places maybe a notch below the best.

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Terrible!!!

Do not waste your money!!! Agatha Christie is rolling in her grave over this story. It doesn’t make any sense and it is so dragged out that it is boring. So disappointed.

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Disappointed with this one

I enjoyed the first two books of this supplement to the original Poirot books. However, I found book three disappointing. It did not have the feel of the decade in which it was set and the depiction of Poirot himself, as well as many of the other characters, were not compatible with their time either. The story itself was interesting to a point but the way the characters were written detracted from its telling. Maybe it is asking too much of a modern author to write such a prolific character when she has neither lived during his time nor experienced the details of life as did the original author. Christie’s details of the time period in which she writes add a very important layer to the entire story she writes. You can vividly imagine her Poirot in 1920s-30s England and the society of that time. This telling attempts it but lacks that necessary layer.

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Excellent performance of a tedious book

First, let me commend Julian Rhind-Tutt's excellent narration. His Poirot voice is every bit as good as David Suchet's, and he also manages a large assortment of other voices of different sexes, classes, and ages. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and generally the best narrators are also actors. Even so, not every British actor is capable of managing such a variety of voices.

The story itself I found, well, tedious. It's a very psychological mystery, and while some of the plot twists are clever, Poirot is cast as a virtual mind reader.

The setting is around 1930, but there is precious little atmosphere of that period. Still, it is a competent Poirot pastiche, and I may investigate the others that Hannah has published.

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