Have been reading this in bits and pieces since November, but got a hankering to finish it this morning. I also realized it fits in with my only reading books by or about badass ladies in January, because Agatha Christie was certainly a badass lady. I don’t do short stories very often, for a lot of reason, but mainly because the idea of them exhausts me. You get invested for so little payoff, over and over again. But I think I might have to rethink mystery short stories. When done well, they’re really fun!
Most of these stories were actually below Christie’s talent level, I think (she’s better in long form), but even the least of them were entertaining, and so short that in no time you had a new story up on deck that you might like better if one didn’t work out well. Hastings is the narrator for all of them, so that obviously has its positives and negatives. For all his obliviousness, he is sort of a fun point of view to have because Poirot frustrates him so much with his “vanity,” which is entirely earned. If Hastings thinks something is likely, it’s wrong.
“The Adventure of the Cheap Flat,” 3.5 stars. Was intrigued by the set-up on this one (“Why is this expensive flat so cheap?”), but the denouement left something to be desired.
“The Mystery of Hunters’s Lodge”, 2.5 stars — This one was odd. Poirot was sidelined and the mystery seemed a little lifeless.
“The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb”, 3.5 stars — Aside from the icky colonialist overtones, this one was pretty fun. I found myself a little underwhelmed by the ending, though.
“The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan,” 4 stars — A good old fashioned jewel theft.
“The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim,” 3.5 stars — Poirot tracks down a tricky missing man. I liked the overall story, but it did seem a bit predictable, in that I was able to predict the main twist. Less room for red herrings to really do their work on you in short stories.
“The Case of the Missing Will,” 4 stars — A missing will isn’t all that original, but the twist here of why it’s missing makes it really interesting.
“The Veiled Lady,” 4 stars — A nice twist on the classic blackmail letter scheme.