“It is not I that twist things round; they come round of themselves. It is like the pointer at the fair. It swings round, and when it comes to rest it always points at the same name: Elinor Carlisle.”
Elinor Carlisle on trial for her life, accused of murder. Elinor is the only one with the means and opportunity to have committed the crime, and she certainly has the motive. Yet despite Elinor’s desperate position she refuses to assist in her own defense. Is it because she is guilty—or is Elinor hiding some other secret? Even Hercule Poirot cannot be certain. Continue reading “Sad Cypress (1940) by Agatha Christie”
“At half an hour after midnight, we ran into the snowdrift. No one can have left the train since then.” Monsieur Bouc said solemnly, “The murderer is with us–on the train now…”
A snowbound train. A man lying dead in his compartment. Thirteen suspects, thirteen alibis, and clues that each seem to point to a different killer. Hercule Poirot has never been so close to murder before. As he faces the most baffling case of his career, Poirot must decide what it really means for justice to be served.
“Beware! Peril to the detective who says: ‘It is so small—it does not matter. It will not agree. I will forget it.’ That way lies confusion! Everything matters.”
Captain Hastings can’t think of a more peaceful spot to recover from his war injuries than Styles Hall, the country home of his old friend John Cavendish. He soon learns, however, that life at Styles is now very different than it was before the war. John’s marriage is in turmoil. He and his brother have grown apart from their stepmother Emily, who controls the entire estate. Worst of all, Emily has remarried to the horrible Alfred Inglethorpe. Even the normally stolid Hastings is uneasy about this volatile situation. He is soon proven right. Continue reading “The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie”
“It is like the mirror smashed on the wall. The dead man’s mirror. Every new fact we come across shows us some different angle of the dead man. He is reflected from every conceivable point of view. We shall have soon a complete picture. . . .”
“I really can’t think what more you want,” said Mrs. Oliver.
“I want a murder,” said Hercule Poirot.
Nothing gets between Hercule Poirot and his breakfast, but he is willing to make an exception for a damsel in distress—especially one who claims to have committed a murder. His would-be client is horrified by the sight of the great detective, however. She runs off, declaring, “You’re too old. Nobody told me you were so old.”
“Blood and blue water—like the jacket of a detective story. Fantastic, unreal. The sort of thing that doesn’t happen to oneself.”
All the usual guests are confirmed for Lucy Angkatell’s house party. Her cousins, Midge and Edward, will be there. So will the brilliant doctor John Christow and his dull, plodding wife Gerda. And so will Lucy’s other cousin, Henrietta Savernake, a sculptor whose beauty and intelligence have placed her at the center of two separate love triangles.
There’s no reason to expect this weekend to be different from countless others, but an uninvited guest is about to crash the party: murder. The stage is set for a crime of passion quite unlike anything else in Agatha Christie’s ouevre. Continue reading “The Hollow (1946) by Agatha Christie”
“It is romantic, yes,” agreed Hercule Poirot. “It is peaceful. The sun shines. The sea is blue. But you forget, Miss Brewster, there is evil everywhere under the sun.”
Once, long ago, pirates and smugglers roamed this section of the Devon coast. Today, the island is home to the Jolly Roger Hotel, where a very different sort of piracy seems to be taking place. The hotel is abuzz over the apparent romance between former actress Arlena Marshall and Patrick Redfern, a handsome younger man. Three guests are especially worried by the gossip. Two of them are the lovers’ spouses, Kenneth Marshall and Christine Redfern. The third is Hercule Poirot.
“I am afraid,” he said simply. “Yes, I Hercule Poirot, am afraid.”
Heiress Linnet Ridgeway has everything. She’s beautiful, rich, and completely independent. When she meets handsome Simon Doyle, her happiness is complete. The fact that Simon is engaged to her friend Jacqueline de Bellefort is surely just a technicality. Jackie doesn’t see it that way, however. She devotes herself to making the couple miserable, trailing them wherever they go.
As Linnet confides to Hercule Poirot, the newlyweds hope that a Nile cruise will help them escape Jacqueline. But Jacqueline isn’t the only one who might be dangerous to them. Someone like Linnet, who has so much of everything and takes it all for granted, provokes strong reactions. In the shadow of ancient temples, death has never been nearer, leading to a shocking crime. It won’t be easy for even the great Poirot to uncover a shipload of deadly secrets. Continue reading “Death on the Nile (1937) by Agatha Christie”
“When planning a murder never depend upon a woman doing what she says she’ll do.”
As a famous actress, Jane Wilkinson is used to being the center of attention. But this time, she’s the one seeking an audience with a celebrity, master detective Hercule Poirot. Her request is simple: “M. Poirot, somehow or other I’ve just got to get rid of my husband!” Continue reading “Lord Edgware Dies (1933) by Agatha Christie”
“Nothing could be more agreeable than a juicy English apple—And yet here were apples mixed up with broomsticks, and witches, and old-fashioned folklore, and a murdered child.”
Everyone in Woodleigh Common agrees that Joyce Reynolds is not a nice little girl. So when she brags of having witnessed a murder, fellow guests at the Halloween party dismiss it as another of her tall tales. All except one—the murderer. By the end of the evening, young Joyce is dead, drowned while bobbing for apples.
Unfortunately for the killer, detective novelist Ariadne Oliver is also at the party. Soon her friend Hercule Poirot is on the case. What he finds is a perfect-looking community that is seething with dark secrets, a shiny red apple full of worms.