Review: Poirot Investigates (Agatha Christie)

The problem with Poirot Investigates is that it takes away the whole point of reading a Hercule Poirot mystery. In a full length Poirot novel, Christie gives us all the clues we'll need to figure out the mystery. The challenge is to recognize these clues, sort out the "real" clues from the red herrings and find the answer before Poirot reveals it. But with a short story collection like this one, we hardly get any time to make up our minds about what's going on and before we know it, the story comes to an end.

One of the stories in this book, The Million Dollar Bond Robbery was what got me interested in Agatha Christie's books back in my school days. We had this reading excercise in which we were given the first half of the story which contains the background of the crime and Poirot's interrogation of all the suspects. By the end of the hour we had to write down whom we suspected and why, after which our teacher read out the last part of the story. The whole thing depended on whether or not we could read the significance of the reply of a suspect to one completely innocent looking question from Poirot. After that I started looking at Christie's books as on long puzzle with the clues scattered across the book. Most of the time I do get it wrong, but it's great fun to try and guess the ending while I'm reading the book.

Unfortunately, on reading the same story in this book, I found that the story we were given back in school was not the original. And worse, the original did not actually contain any clues about the crime. The clue was added into the story we were given in school so we could have a go at solving it. So much for the story that converted me into a Christie fan! :-( Most of the other stories in the collection too are like that; we have to wait until the end of the story to know the details of the crime. There's not much of a chance to solve the crime ourself.

This is the first Hercule Poirot book I've read that is narrated in first person by Poirot's friend, Captain Hastings. Until now, I have been seeing some similarities between Poirot and Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. But with Hastings as his sidekick, Poirot's and Holmes' similarities become even more glaring. Extreme intelligence, incredible vanity and total lack of respect for his sidekick's intellingence makes Poirot look very much like Holmes. It makes me wonder if Agatha Christie wrote the Poirot/Hastings stories as a tribute to the Holmes/Watson mysteries.

My Rating: 4/10

Other Reviews:

The Relentless Pursuit of Cold Shivers (Rating: 3/5)

Yaaay!!! I'm done with my first book of the new year. Not very impressed with it, though. Now there's a bunch of Agatha Christies waiting to be read; all of them are narrated by Hastings. I hope they aren't as disappointing as this one.


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