Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – A Gripping Howdunnit
I read this book at about the same time I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, for about the same reason – I was drowning my utter disappointment in another thriller, in Christie books. Great coping mechanism, no?
I was looking for a brilliant book, I should have picked up one of her greats, like Death on the Nile…but I read this because it fits neatly into a readathon I’m participating in.
But if her not-so-greats impressed me so much, well, her greats just might make me explode!
Anyway…let’s get to it!
TW: Violent murder, family dysfunction
After years and years, the tyrannical (but dying) Simeon Lee has called a reunion of sorts of all his (legitimate) sons and his one daughter’s daughter (because the daughter is dead). Most of them hate him…or their wives hate him, but he’s dying, right? And he’s their father. So they suck it up and gather in a tiny village for a big fat family Christmas.
Only, it’s not a happy reunion. The man insults everyone like the tyrant he is, and a few hours later, he turns up violently murdered. Everyone in the dysfunctional family is a suspect. Read as Poirot (who was incidentally in the village) and the somewhat competent policemen solve the case!
Again, I loved the book. Christie totally impressed me by adopting a completely different narrative style in this book. It follows everyone in the family – every suspect – one by one, in third person…and that’s a fun narrative structure!
Just like with the other book, I guessed the “who” part by around the middle of the book. Not in a, “Oh, ___ is the only one that makes sense,” kind of way, but in a, “Wouldn’t it be fun if it was ___?” kind of way. Still counts, though. I totally called it! So this, again, was a how-dunnit for me, rather than a whodunnit.
It didn’t leave me staring around in shock at the end (a friend of mine considers this a criteria of good thriller. I disagree), but I enjoyed the read. It was fast-paced, fun, and exactly what I needed to get out of the mini-slump a disappointing book put me in!
Recommended to all Christie fans, but not to those who have ultra-high expectations from her, because this is definitely not one of her best works.