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17 May 2010
Review: THE THIRD GIRL, Agatha Christie - audio
This version is an audio book read by John Woodbine.
From BBC Audio ISBN 9-781405-647762
Playing time 7 hours 20 minutes.
Hercule Poirot has a client, a young woman, who comes to see him saying she thinks she has murdered someone. She won't sit down and shuffles on her feet, refusing to meet his eyes. And then she blurts out that he is too old and flees. (I blogged about this last week)
His rejection by Norma Restorick just won't leave HP alone. He recognises that she is in serious trouble, and pursues the case with the help of his author friend Mrs Ariadne Oliver.
The title comes from the fact that Norma is the third girl in an apartment in London.
I've been on a bit of an Agatha Christie kick in recent weeks, making up for the fact that I didn't read any last month. I've listened to this out of order too, despite my participation in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, but the opportunity presented itself.
The excellent narration by John Woodvine proves irrefutably that David Suchet isn't the only one who can "do" Hercule Poirot. Required to present the voices of a considerable range of characters, he does it very well.
THE THIRD GIRL is one of the most satisfying Agatha Christie's I've "read" recently. In fact I think I'll have to put it in my top 10. There was plenty to enjoy about it from the characters of Ariadne Oliver and HP's secretary Miss Lemon, to depiction of the "new" British society of the late 1950's, with girls going out to work, and young people experimenting with drugs. The puzzle of what was happening to Norma Restorick held my attention right to the end although I had sort of half solved it by then.
I must comment though on one place where Agatha Christie did not "play fair" with the reader. For most of the time we know what Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver know, except for one instance, where he goes "off stage" as it were, and makes an arrangement with regard to Norma Restorick that we find out about only later. Ariadne Oliver becomes our mouthpiece when she reproves HP for not telling her what he's done.
Despite that, THE THIRD GIRL is an excellent read, written when Agatha Christie was 76.
My rating 4.7