Agatha Christie: Hercule Poirot
I know. I know. I haven’t been here for a while. Have you ever felt like you might be setting yourself up with too much pressure and then you procrastinate only to find the initial project seems so much harder?
Anyway, in a previous post I mentioned that Agatha Christie created the two most brilliant fictional detectives of all time? Well the flip side is of course Hercule Poirot. This is how I made his acquaintance: (shoh! For a moment there I didn’t know how to spell it!)
1) Lord Edgware dies:
This is a very interesting plot: Hercule Poirot and his friend, Captain Hastings, are summoned by Lady Edgware, an actress of the theatre. She explicitly tells him that she wants to get rid of her husband and asks him to help her. To the surprise of Hastings, Poirot agrees. Poirot makes an appointment with the husband and learns that Lord Edgware will only be too glad to divorce his wife. The next day Lord Edgware is found dead in his study. But his wife has a cast-iron alibi!
First published: 1933
How would I describe Hercule Poirot?
He is a very funny (weird), little (perhaps shorter than usual) French man. (Turns out he is a Belgian, but he speaks French?) He has a moustache that he likes to caress when he is thinking hard about something or when he is amused.
2) Murder in Mesopotamia:
I really loved reading this book. It shows Agatha Christie’s knowledge of archeologists: her second husband was one and she used to accompany him on his excavations. It is said that she wrote some of her novels on these trips.
The novel plays off at a archeological excavation site in Iraq. What makes this novel different is that the story is told through a completely new character (usually the Hercule Poirot novels are told through the eyes of Captain Hastings). A nurse, Amy Leatheran, is hired to care for Louise Leidner by her husband. Everyone in the excavation party is of accord: Louise Leidner is a wonderful, pleasant person. She sometimes gets nervous attacks. She must be afraid of something…
Hercule Poirot only features in the second half of the novel, when he’s coincidentally travelling in Iraq himself. He is called in when Louise Leidner is found dead and it is established that it was an inside job. It’s a classis whodunnit.
First published: 1936
I almost guessed it right! I suspected Father Lavigny, but it turns out he was guilty of something else…
3) Death on the Nile:
I guessed it right from the start!
A young married couple are being harassed by the husband’s ex. They are on their honeymoon, travelling through Egypt. They all board a boat to travel on the Nile. Hercule Poirot is also on board while on holiday. The ex confides in Poirot telling him she has been dreaming of killing the wife. A few days afterwards the wife is found dead in her cabin. But the husband and ex has an airtight alibi. Another whodunnit!
First published: 1937