Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

After the wonderful experience of reading The Murder on the Links, I knew I wanted to go straight into the next Poirot book, Poirot Investigates, which is a short story collection instead of a novel. Bits on each story:

“The Adventure of ‘The Western Star’”: When two jewels with mystical backgrounds are the object of capture by those who want to return them to their original resting place, Poirot must discover if this is quite what is truly happening.

“The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor”: After a man is mysteriously murdered, could it be his ghost that is haunting the manor and trying to bring the truth to the fore?

“The Adventure of the Cheap Flat”: When a bizarrely cheap apartment comes to the attention of Poirot, with no reason for its low price, Poirot investigates and is drawn into a multinational drama.

“The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge”: With Poirot sick, Hastings must work out the mystery with only the occasional telegraph with the master sleuth. But can he piece the puzzle together before the culprit escapes?

“The Million Dollar Bond Robbery”: Missing bonds and bank corruption revolve around the quest to recover both money and a man’s reputation.

“The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb”: Playing off the “curse” of King Tut’s tomb, Poirot travels to Egypt, where, at the tomb of Men-her-Ra, he explores a series of frightening, curse-like coincidences.

“The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan”: A vacation turns into mystery when prized jewels disappear, and the loyal maid seems to be the culprit. But, as always, there is more going on than there seems.

“The Kidnapped Prime Minister”: Poirot plays his part in World War I, saving the British Prime Minister and keeping the path of the war on track for Allies victory.

“The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim”: Poirot makes a bet to solve a case without leaving his falt, and begins his mental inspection into the case of a man who walked out of his house, never to return.

“The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman”: A business meeting gone wrong turns out to be far from as straight-forward as it seems.

“The Case of the Missing Will”: A young lady’s foster-father leaves her a complex puzzle that she has to solve if she wants the money he left her in her will. She hires Poirot, who sets out to find the hidden will.

“The Veiled Lady”: Poirot takes the role of criminal himself to solve the case and protect a lady’s reputation, but the lady isn’t quite the innocent young wife she seems.

“The Lost Mine”: Poirot helps a business discover who is stealing their important document.

“The Chocolate Box”: Poirot tells Hastings of the one case he failed to solve, the murder of a public figure.

Poirot Investigates was a fun diversion, but it doesn’t hold up to Christies first two Poirot books. What I really like about her novels was how in-depth and detailed the characters and situation were. In these stories, you just couldn’t get that depth, and so it felt more problem followed by immediate answer, without the usual psychological depth and search for criminal among the many possibilities. This is a good book for picking up and putting down, enjoying for short bits, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Poirot novels.


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