25 October 2020

Review: THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL, Sophie Hannah - audio book

  • From audible
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book 4
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-20-20
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperCollins

Synopsis (audible)

The world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot - legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile - returns to solve a fiendish new mystery.

Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.

On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports' home with a note that refers to ‘the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in’.

Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?  

My take

There has been considerable discussion about whether Sophie Hannah has quite captured Hercule Poirot, whether her characterisation of him rings true. My feeling is that while she has captured the essence of the great detective, she hasn't quite got it with the plotting. The plots to me become trivial, too much detail, and lacking in Agatha Christie's economy of words.  I think this is partly because the books are longer than Agatha Christie's were.

In the long run the author manages to bring the plot threads together and even to introduce a a couple of elements that we didn't see coming, to bring an element of surprise to the final denouement.

I must add also that the narration is superb.

I've also read

4.4, CLOSED CASKET - audio book
4.4, THE MYSTERY OF THREE QUARTERS -audio book   - #3

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