I generally like Agatha Christie novels. And I generally liked this one. In fact, it’s one of the ones I have liked the most. That said, I never like them that much. So that said….
Agatha Christie novels remind me of a long running tv show that have had multiple different showrunners. Sort of like the Simpsons, where the Conan O’Brien days were great, the Dana Gould days were ok, etc etc. Also, like tv shows, sometimes there’s a more innovative and interesting attempt to tell the broad narrative, other times there’s simply a singular episode. Sherlock Holmes does this sometimes….some of the mysteries are simply little puzzle boxes designed to show the cleverness of the writer. Other times, there’s something more going on. I think for example The Hound of the Baskervilles is clearly a way of showing off something special….not the mystery itself, which is mostly just ok, but the exploration of the characters.
This novel is more like that. It’s a Poirot novel, but it’s one that explores the nature of narrative. The mystery is just ok…perfectly well done…but it’s in having the protagonist of the novel not be the clever detective….that’s where this one is strong. Unlike say Murder on the Orient Express where there’s not really much story….just the mystery…here it’s the opposite. Allowing an interesting story to develop….to tell it in an interesting way (through a non-recurring character’s point of view)….that’s better here.
And of course, it does NOT have the same issues I don’t like on her other novels like Ten Little Indians where there is zero plot….zero character….and only a puzzle.
This is among her more character driven novels.