Bingo square: Old Series
Series: Hercule Poirot, book #9. I read book#8 in October of 2019. The last time I reviewed a Poirot was book #4.
What I remembered about this series prior to reading this book: Obviously, I remember a lot about Poirot and his little gray cells, and Captain Hastings, the blundering narrator who assists him with his cases. I remember less about the actual mysteries themselves, but unfortunately I do remember Christie’s habit of casually throwing in a few racial epithets in most of the books.
Why I stopped reading the series: Just needed a break. I really wrestle with my conscience when reading these books as often I do enjoy quite a bit about them, but whenever Christie throws in a Jewish stereotype or a racial slur it I always have to think about whether I want to extend her forgiveness, since these books are so old, or just give up on her altogether. Lord Edgware Dies is a particularly egregious example as not only is there a Jewish character who is described as “shrewd,” and who loves money, but also another character uses multiple racial slurs. It was gross.
The plot: Kind of hard to remember because I read it a few months ago. Lord Edgware is murdered and his wife, or someone who very much resembled her, was the last person seen entering his study before he was found dead in there. But, it couldn’t have been his wife as she had been at a dinner party all night and had an airtight alibi. Thankfully Poirot is here to solve the case.
The good: As usual, Poirot and Hastings are highly amusing. The mystery was engaging and I wanted to find out what happened.
The bad: As mentioned above. . .this one had some particularly repellent characterizations and racism.
Did Lord Edgware Dies change my mind about the series: I mean, maybe a little. I felt like I couldn’t ignore the offensive bits in this one. I know that these things are representative of the time in which Christie was writing, and that the kind of people she’s writing about–upper-class, snobbish white people from England–did talk and feel this way about Jews, Black people, and Chinese people, but I just don’t know if I want to read it.
Will I keep reading the series: I’m not sure. There are a couple in the series that I’ve been looking forward to reading. Maybe I just need to acknowledge that some of these books–like this one–have not aged well, and just skip/stop reading the offensive ones.