A novel called Hercule Poirot’s Christmas that really isn’t much about Hercule Poirot having Christmas at all, other than him weighing in on his preference for central heating over fireplaces.
We start by meeting a man named Stephen, a Brit from South Africa, meeting a Spanish/British woman on train to the north of England. We jump from there to an estate where an older man who made his money in diamonds in South Africa is preparing to have his whole family together for the first time in decades. He’s fond of looking at a collection of uncut diamonds and in time we will meet his two adult sons and Pilar, the woman from the train, who it turns out is his granddaughter that he’s never met.
So of course, he’s murdered in the most mysterious of ways, and depending on who has the diamonds we will find out the exact nature and motive for his death. But there’s still plenty of necessary and inevitable twists and turned as well.
Like I said, this isn’t really a Christmas novel except that it happens to take place at Christmas and provide a context for the meeting up of the family. There’s some interesting commentary on the specific evils of diamond mining a lot earlier than later books and authors will eventually explore. I still maintain my love for Miss Marple over Poirot in part because I just think she’s a better detective, but I like his sense of humor and understanding of the absurd.