Review: Curtain - Poirot's Last Case (Agatha Christie)

This book -- as the title suggests -- is the last case featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Arthur Hastings. Although Curtain was actually written in the 1940s, it wasn't published until 1975 which is why the books doesn't fit in well with the chronology of the series. It brings Poirot and Hastings back to Styles, the place where they met and solved their first case together in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Poirot, now in very poor health and confined to a wheelchair, invites Hastings (who is now a widower) to Styles Court in Essex where now lives. When Hastings arrives there, Poirot tells him that one of the lodgers at Styles is a serial murderer. He gives Hastings a brief account of five different murders and points out that even though there was no doubt about who committed the murders, there was someone in the background who was actually pulling the strings. Despite knowing the identity of the criminal, Poirot refuses to reveal it to Hastings.

I wouldn't rate this as one of the best Hercule Poirot novels, but the ending is good enough to make it a fitting conclusion to the Poirot series. For most part of the book we have to put up with Hastings making his wild guesses as to the identity of the criminal while Poirot sits quietly in the background. All the time we see Poirot doing nothing and asking Hastings (and in effect, us) to wait for the murderer to show himself, which gets rather irritating after some time. There are some clues and red herrings as usual, but the ending still comes as a total surprise and makes up for us having to listen to Hastings' speculations.

When Poirot signs off at the end of the novel saying, "we shall never hunt together again, mon ami", it is to remind us of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which he signed off with "we shall hunt together again". Poirot may have said his farewells, but I'm not saying goodbye just yet. There are a dozen or so Poirot novels that I haven't read so far. :-)

My Rating: 8/10


gautami tripathy said...

I read SO long ago. I do not remember much of it! Time to revisit!

BTW, you have been tagged for book meme page 123.

Anonymous said...

I love this book so much that I wanna marry it.

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