- this edition published by William Morrow, Harper Collins Publishers
- ISBN 978-0-86-229721-1
- 302 pages
- source: my local library
Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...
I feel pretty strongly about what I have called elsewhere "coat-tails" writing. Nevertheless I was interested to see whether Sophie Hannah could capture anything like the spirit of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. I guess that is what a lot of Agatha Christie readers want to know, and I have decided to try to judge THE MONOGRAM MURDERS on its own merits, as far as I can.
The setting is February 1929 in London. According to the Hercule Poirot chronology, this is thirteen years after Poirot left Belgium and arrived in England as a refugee. In 1925 he "officially" retired, at the age of about 61. So he is really at the height of his deductive powers, has been working privately, but has not been very satisfied with the kind of work he has managed to get.
Here are the stories set around this date.
1926 MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD
THE MURDER ON THE BLUE TRAIN1929 "The Third Floor Flat"
"The Underdog"1930 BLACK COFFEE (play by Christie)
"The Second Gong" (Expanded with new ending as "Dead Man's Mirror")
"The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest" (expanded and updated as "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" in the fifties)
I considered several things as I read this book: had the author captured Agatha Christie's style? Did I recognise this Hercule Poirot? Did the plot hold together?
My rating: 4.3
While I read this for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, I have also read the following by Sophie Hannah.