Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I’m an Agatha Christie superfan. I’ve read and re-read all the books. I collect the vintage paperbacks as well as the movie adaptations. I write about her a lot and I get a huge kick out of recreating scenes from her books with LEGO minifigures.
So I was obviously super enthusiastic when Harper Collins announced they would be bringing Poirot back in partnership with crime writer Sophie Hannah. I adored them. Why wouldn’t I? They were as near to the originals as you could hope for. (You can read my review of The Monogram Murders here and Closed Casket here.)
Book three landed in bookstores with a hefty thud in October.
In The Mystery of Three Quarters, Sophie Hannah once again channels the grande dame of murder mysteries to deliver another adventure of the iconic Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.
The book opens to find Poirot surprised by the fact that four strangers have each received a letter accusing them of murder, claiming to be written by Poirot himself. Stranger still, the death of the supposed murder victim was officially ruled as accidental. Duh duh duh.
Poirot once again teams up with Inspector Catchpool of Scotland Yard to uncover the identity of the writer and to discover whether there is any truth to the allegations. (In a panel interview at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, Hannah explained how writing from Catchpool’s perspective helped her write in Christie’s style. Catchpool was her own creation and served as an entry point into this world. )
Anyway, back to the book. The mystery takes the reader from 1930s London to the sprawling country estate where the alleged murder took place. Like in any classic Christie novel, it’s in the stately Combingham Hall where all the buried secrets finally come to light, connections between strangers become clear and danger comes ever closer.
Hannah seems to have the Christie secret formula down to a fine art. Not only does the book read in the familiar classic style, but Poirot is as authentic as ever and the big reveal is cleverly concealed right till the very end. There are plenty of red herrings to send readers down the wrong path. I was pretty sure myself, only to be proved dead wrong. Again.
This was a highly enjoyable read told with skill and care. I’m sure any Christie fan would agree that this a fine addition to the stable.
(PS: The characters featured in my LEGO story are sisters Lenore and Annabel – I love the shout out to Edgar Allen Poe, unless it was a very gothic accident on the author’s part!)
See more of my LEGO stories on Tumblr.