This one wasn’t my favorite, though I liked it quite a bit by the end. I had a hard time at first getting a handle on the arc of the story, and Poirot doesn’t come in until about chapter ten, so there are just a bunch of POV characters you’re introduced to before you have any context for why they’re important to the story. I fully realize this is a technique employed by many books I have enjoyed in the past, but there was something about the way it was executed here that just made me feel sort of adrift in the narrative until about halfway through. The ending did save it for me, though.
The plot here is concerned with the murder of Ruth Kettering, a woman who is planning on divorcing her husband because he is being too indiscreet about his affair with a French dancer named Mirelle (she’s not upset about his infidelity, theirs is not a faithful marriage, just that it looks bad). Ruth has also recently been given very expensive jewels by her millionaire American father, one of which is the famous Heart of Fire. By about 25% in, Ruth is dead in her train compartment and the rubies are stolen.
When Poirot comes into the story and the investigation really gets going, the book managed to snag my attention, and a couple of reversals and twists at the end really managed to surprise me. The thing about me reading murder mystery novels, and Christies in particular, is that I never assume I know who the murderer is or that I could even figure it out, but sometimes I think I know who *didn’t* do it, and I was so sure about that here. I was very wrong. Basically, this is one of those mystery novels that you appreciate more in hindsight once you see the way they’re put together.
Poirot was really extra here, and that was very enjoyable. Very Poirot like. Sure of his own abilities, not afraid to tell people about how awesome he is, but in like, a classy way.