At first listening to this audiobook, I was enjoying myself quite a bit. Poirot was there, Hastings was there, back from Brazil, and aren’t we all having a good time now that this mysterious man has shown up in the bedroom, and then expired. Except pretty quickly after that, I realized in fact that the book was not good, and I was not enjoying myself, and even though I did listen to the whole thing in its entirety, I did not *listen* to the book in its entirety. (Quick note: Hugh Fraser remains a great Christie narrator, I always love when he pops up.)
Some things I learned after reading this book: It’s not a true mystery or crime novel, it’s not widely liked (most people dislike it), and it was actually created from a series of short stories that Christie had already published, edited and turned into one “storyline”. Spoiler alert: you can tell. The various episodes in this book read like they have been strung together.
What I wanted when I started this book, what I was very much in the mood for, was a classic Christie whodunit, and Poirot using his little grey cells to catch a murderer, while I tried in vain to figure it out. This was not that. This was Poirot going from one crime to the next, sometimes with Hastings and sometimes without him, chasing after four supposed criminal masterminds. There was nothing to figure out, and no throughline of one single crime to hold it all together. I did not care in the least. I’ve heard that Christie doesn’t do thrillers or espionage very well, and now having read this, I find myself seeing where that opinion comes from. Hopefully will be reading a real whodunit from her soon.