7 February 2021

Review: THE MURDER ON THE LINKS, Agatha Christie

  • First published 1923
  • ASIN : B085VHVV9C
  • Publisher : GENERAL PRESS; 1st edition (March 12, 2020)
  • Language : English 
  • File size : 809 KB 
  • #2 Hercule Poirot series
  • At AgathaChristie.com

Synopsis (AgathaChristie.com)

An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.

But why is the dead man wearing his son’s overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.

My Take

Yes, I have read this before, but have read it again, leading a group to read the first 5 Poirots and the first 5 Marples. So I am reading it with an eye to what I can point out to them.

The story is narrated by Captain Hastings and is set maybe 3 or 4 years after the first novel which introduced the Poirot/Hastings "team". Although this is only the second time we have seen Poirot in action, Hastings implies they have worked other cases together since THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES. In a reference to Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard in the opening pages, Hastings says that he had "more than once introduced us to an interesting case."

At the beginning we get an update on what Hastings and Poirot have been doing, and in France Poirot meets up with the Commissary of Police with whom he worked on a case in 1909. 

As investigating the murder begins, the "team" is joined by Inspector Giraud from the Surete, who is much younger, and obviously regards Poirot as a "has-been". One of the themes of the novel is the comparison of the methods Poirot and Giraud use - the difference between "little grey cells and logic" and what Poirot disparagingly calls Giraud's methods. Giraud is very sarcastic to Poirot. Eventually they have a bet on who will solve the case first.

Poirot elucidates his principles of investigation but Hastings is embarrassed by his friend's lack of action, and even betrays Poirot, as well as showing quite clearly how easily duped he himself can be.

The plot is quite complex and the reader needs to keep on their toes to make sure they understand each nuance.

We are introduced also to Poirot's "romantic streak", as he match-makes for Hastings and chooses a wife for him.

There are several denouements, a couple caused by the fact that poor old Hastings has not been able to make sense of what has happened.

I am also listening to the audio version read by Hugh Fraser but will review that separately.

My rating: 4.4

See also

1 comment:

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

Nice review! I'm in a project to listen to all of Hercule Poirot, so I recently listened to this one. Hugh Fraser as narrator is fabulous, isn't he? In fact in my Sunday Post today, I talked about my disappointment with volume 14, for which they chose anther narrator! see here https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/02/07/sunday-post-37-2-7-2021/
Now why stop at the first 5 books??


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