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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ray
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 08-30-18

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Erin
  • DUTCH HARBOR, AK, United States
  • 11-30-18

Not Quite the Real Thing

The author did a great job trying to capture such a difficult character like Poirot but it’s flat. The story doesn’t jump off the page and it’s more of a drag to get through then a page turn like past Hercule Poirot mysterious. The story makes very little sense and the reader isn’t give given material that is useful to figure out the killer. Most time the plot was a big circle that never went anywhere until halfway through the book and you felt like you where not waisting your time.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Weakest of the sophie hannah Poirot books

I'm disappointed to say that this story was underwhelming. Christie was a master of understanding human nature and puzzles. So far sophie hannah has been doing pretty well upholding the Christie tradition. So it pains me to say that the plot of this story and the final explanation was contrived. There are pointless characters and a hamfisted subplot to explain the title. While Christie had long explanations to wrap up her plots, this wrap up was really dragged out and over explained. The performance, as always from this narrator, was well done. Obviously many other people disagree so I'm glad others got enjoyment out of it.

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  • Jessie
  • DALLAS, TX, United States
  • 11-02-18

Unnecessary anti-abortiom propaganda

Didn't need the rhetoric.

On a less important note, she continues to get Poirot's character wrong.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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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mysterious

excellent writing. enjoyable, leaves you wanting more. looking forward to more Poirot cases from Sophie Hannah.