I am beyond excited that I made it – I finished my first Agatha Christie book in one day! And that must speak for the book! Here are my thoughts!
It’s Christmas time in London, and when the old, rich and cranky father Simeon Lee invites all his sons and his unknown granddaughter for Christmas, everyone thought he was going to change. His family being torn apart and only seeing one son regularly, the others thought he would change his mind at last and welcome his family back. But when the family, who had not seen each other in decades and who’s spouses encounter each other for the first time, meets again – the old father is murdered. And the door was locked from the inside and no one but the dead man was found. The house is sealed off and Hercule Poirot, alongside two officers, comes to investigate. The whole family hated the old man, but one must have hated him enough to kill him…
Publication Date: December 19th 1938
Rating: 5/5 stars
The plot was utterly brilliant. The murder was far more complex than I first believed it to be and that was by far the best thing about the book. At first, the murder was just strange, but then it turned out that it all came back to the fundaments of the human race – feelings. And I loved that. Moreover, Agatha Christie has a gift for creating suspenseful plots: everyone hated the dead man and so I had no idea who the murderer was up until the end. Sometimes, after having read a lot of books, one is able to forecast the outcomes, in this case the murderer, but not here. It was just wonderful to read.
The characters remained, until the very end, a mystery to the reader. You only knew fragments of their relationship with their father and could therefore only guess if they were innocent or not. Another great aspect concerning characters was the variety of them. Old Mr. Lee had four sons, one dead daughter, her daughter and a friend’s son who visited him, plus three spouses – and everyone could have been the killer.
The biggest astonishment for me revealed itself to be the way the book was written. Apart from the murder, tho only briskly mentioned, the book contained only dialogues – between husband and wife, spouses and the biggest part: interrogations. Where they were when Mr. Lee were murdered, who they believed to have killed him, who was with them, what was their relationship like, why they came.
The writing itself, meaning the style and use of stylistic devices, wasn’t amazing. Agatha Christie is a good writer, yes, but I wouldn’t say that people, or at least me, read her books because she is a great writer. She creates a certain atmosphere – here with only dialogues – and develops the most stunning murder cases.
I have to admit, tho, that some things were a little too far fetched. I’m not going to spoil here, but at the end, I thought that some relations were just not realistic, but it wasn’t too important for the whole plot, so it’s fine!
This mystery/crime novel is brilliant. I read it until almost midnight and was quite frightened to go to the bathroom afterwards – meaning two things: I usually never stay up too late, so the book must have been awesome, and I’m usually not scared in my own house, meaning the murder case must have got to me.