17 May 2010

Review: THE THIRD GIRL, Agatha Christie - audio

Title originally published in 1966.
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


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this fine review. I really liked this one as well. I agree with you, too, about Christie not "playing fair" just a bit. Still, as you say, it's an excellent book, and I felt drawn in by it, as I do just about all of her books.

Kerrie said...

I thought this one showed that she had moved with the times Margot.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Yes it is a good one isn't it? Although Christie's books are crime fiction and the point of them is the mystery not social commentary - i also think that she provides interesting little historical snippets and windows onto how she perceived the society in which she lived to have changed during the course of her life.

Lovely review, thank you for sharing


Clarissa Draper said...

You wrote: "The excellent narration by John Woodvine proves irrefutably that David Suchet isn't the only one who can "do" Hercule Poirot. " I just find that so funny because it's what many (including me) think, that only David can do HP.

I can't believe AC wrote the book at 76. I hope I still have my faculties at that age.


Anonymous said...

Excellent story like any of the Agatha Christie books are . but the most surprising thing is that she wrote it at the age of 76 . truly a gem of mystery storytelling .

esa1969 said...

Hi Kerrie,
I wrote a review about 'the third girl' too. I was surprised that the opening words was similiar to mine. Wow, may be we, you and me have a same vision about how agatha tell her stories.
By the way, I'm from Indonesian. Visit my blog too, please :


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