18 February 2014

Review: MURDER IN THE MEWS, Agatha Christie

Read on my Kindle
First published in 1937
A collection of four novellas all featuring Hercule Poirot
Published as e-book in 2010, ISBN 978-0-00-742251-7

Synopsis (Agatha Christie site)

How did a woman holding a pistol in her right hand manage to shoot herself in the left temple? What was the link between a ghost sighting and the disappearance of top secret military plans? How did the bullet that killed Sir Gervase shatter a mirror in another part of the room? And who destroyed the ‘eternal triangle’ of love involving renowned beauty, Valentine Chantry? Hercule Poirot is faced with four mystifying cases - Murder in the MewsThe Incredible TheftDead Man's Mirror and Triangle at Rhodes - each a miniature classic of characterisation, incident and suspense.

My Take

Murder in the Mews
This novella gives the collection it's name.
The investigation of suspicious suicide that begins with Hercule Poirot and his friend Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard walking home on Guy Fawkes Night after meeting for dinner. They speculate that all the noise of firecrackers could disguise the report of a gun, and that a murder could easily go undetected.
Next morning a young lady is found dead in her flat, shot, apparently suicide. Japp invites Poirot to join him on the investigation.

The Incredible Theft
The disappearance of top secret military plans.
A honey trap to ensnare an espionage agent who is a house guest apparently backfires when plans disappear from a study moments before top level discussions of them are to take place. Hercule Poirot is brought in to investigate before the news leaks out.

Dead Man's Mirror
The bullet that kills Gervase Chevenix-Gore shatters a mirror.
Hercule Poirot receives an urgent summons from "the last baronet", Gervase Chevenix-Gore and catches up with his old friend Mr Satterthwaite to learn what he can about the baronet. He learns that Chevenix-Gore is extremely wealthy, very arrogant, very eccentric and the last of his line.
When Hercule Poirot arrives for dinner and Sir Gervase does not appear when the dinner gong is sounded, he realizes he is already too late. Sir Gervase is dead.
It looks like suicide but the shattered mirror points in another direction.

Triangle at Rhodes
Hercule Poirot is sitting on the beach watching the byplay between the sunbathers.mValentine Chantry, recently married for the fifth time, flirts with a new arrival, Douglas Gold, while sending her own husband off on petty tasks. 
As his holiday progresses, Poirot finds what is happening rather distressing.
When Valentine Chantry dies his interpretation of the crime show that others have seen what they wanted to see, not the way he saw it.

I suspected I had already read these novellas, perhaps not as this collection, and perhaps seen a television version of at least one of them. They all show how acutely Hercule Poirot observes others, and how he often interprets things very differently.

I read this as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.

My rating: 4.4


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I wouldn't be surprised if you've seen some of these before. I believe (but I could be wrong) that they've been released in a few of Christie's collections.

Irene said...

I loved all these titles.


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