Friday, December 26, 2014

Dame Agatha V

The Hollow: M. Poirot

★ ★

Also titled: Murder After Hours

Romance, triangles, jealousy, family, secrets from the past, & murder.....

For some reason I am always surprised when there is romance in Christie's mysteries, not so much as a basis for murder, but when people actually get together & have a life after murder..... In this book there were several romances: past, present, and future.  There was also two interlocked triangles and unrequited love, which in part were the basis for the murder.

M. Poirot is invited to lunch during a family gathering at a neighboring home. When he arrives he finds a dying man, John Christow, laying next to the pool, his wife, Gerta, w/ a gun in her hands. The dying man's last words in the tone of a plea/question (calling the name of his mistress who is standing there)... "Henrietta".

Henrietta comes to Gerta to comfort her & takes the gun out of her hand, then quite "accidentally" drops the gun in the pool, thus obliterating all fingerprints. As the story moves forward we are privy to the fact that the gun that was dropped in the pool was not the gun that killed John.

It seems as everyone in the house knows who killed John and is intent on protecting the person....  It take M. Poirot quite awhile before he is able to come to the correct murderer.

There was only one racial reference (rolling my eyes here), but I didn't like the book. It seemed to be missing something and the characters seemed flat and boring....

Five Little Pigs: M. Poirot

★ ★

Well known & egotistical artist is in the midst of painting a most fantastic portrait of an equally (if not more so) egotistical young woman.....  Hence a triangle of love?  Which of course leads to his murder..... Very cold blooded....

However there are men who love the artist's wife w/ devotion & hate....... two more triangles.  The wife, is heard to say: "You & your women.....One day I'll kill you."  Evidence enough to convict her of murder?

The wife does nothing, says nothing to defend herself..... a price/debt to pay?  Her daughter, receiving a letter from her mother stating her innocence, hires M. Poirot to clear her mother's name......

Is it possible? Who really "done it"? I figured it out......  But it was a dull story told in first person narration verbally then in letters by the witnesses...... People who were basically detestable....
Miss Marple: Complete Short Stories

★ ★ 1/2

The collection is made up of: Tuesday Club Murders (13 Problems), The Regatta Mystery, Three Blind Mice and Other Stories, and Double Sin and Other Stories.

In all I believe there were 20 stories ALL Featuring Miss Marple..... I was never fond of Jane Marple to being with, the falsely humble old lady who knits and pretends to be a simple minded old maid. 

The Tuesday Club Murders bored me to tears; In the first six stories a group of six people gathered at Miss Marple's home each posing a mystery for the others to deduce the outcome.... In the second six stories everyone gathered at Gossington Hall the Bantrys' home (you remember them from "Body in the Library" & "The Mirror Crack'd"). The original six are: Raymond West (Marple's nephew); Former Yard Commissioner, Sir Henry Clithering; Raymond's friend Joyce Lempriere; clergyman Dr. Pender; solicitor Mr. Petherick; & Miss Marple. Odd (annoying) how no one could figure anything out, only Miss Marple because after all she knows "human nature" based on all the not nice (evil) people she has known in her quaint little village of St. Mary Mead.

Stories included: The Tuesday Night Club, Ingots of Gold, The Blood Stained Pavement, The Idol House of Astarte, Motive v. Opportunity, The Thumb Mark of St. Peter, The Blue Geranium, The Companion, the Four Suspects, A Christmas Tragedy, The Herb of Death, The Affair at the Bungalow, & Death by Drowning.

The Regatta Mystery was actually "Miss Marple Tells a Story" of how she solved a murder while at home sitting in her armchair.

Strange Jest, The Tape Measure Murder, Case of the Perfect Maid, The Caretaker, Greenshaw's Folly, & Sanctuary or The Man on the Chancel Steps (featuring Bunch Harmon Miss Marple's Niece) I found to be more interesting as they involved the people involved and were not stories told about others.

Appointment With Death: M. Poirot

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A tormented family goes on holiday to the Middle East......  Monster Dearest was previously a Prison Wardess and now has her family (children/step-children) as her prisoners.....

An English (Psych) female doctor & a well known French psychotherapist come across the family and attempt to intervene....... add to the mix a good friend of the family, a well known member of Parliament (who is anti-oppression), and a mousey spinister....

M. Poirot is in town and is asked to find the "truth", even though there will not be enough hard proof to bring a murderer to trial.

I really liked this book. I liked most of the characters and the psych. study. Almost everyone had opportunity as well as a motive and the family & both doctors all thought to protect each other....

Very interesting
The Big Four: M. Poirot 
- ★

Four unknown powerful people: A Chinese, a Frenchwoman, an American businessman, & an Assassin are bent on taking over the world....

As Hastings arrives on a surprise visit to his "bon ami" M. Poirot, he finds M. Poirot on his way to South America on "business". It all turns out to be a wild goose chase in order to get M. Poirot out of the way so that the BIG 4 may put a plan of diabolical intelligence into play.  An unknown man is in one of M. Poirot's rooms and is ranting about,Li Chang Yan, Chinese man of great power who is about unleash a diabolical plan..... M. Poirot & Hastings depart in order to learn more about Li Chang Yan from a well known Chinese antiquities scholar, leaving the man resting safely... 

Upon returning to Poirot's home, they find the man poisoned and an attendant of the local asylum knocking on the door  asking about the dead man (an escapee)....  Upon further investigation the "escapee" turns out to be Mayerling from the CID who has gone missing years before and the "attendant" #4, the assassin.

The book continues, ad nauseum, in this vein.... One mysterious death, kidnapping, attempt on M. Poirot's life after another.... Bad enough that Hastings is always such a proficient bumbler, but that M. Poirot should be too?

The dang book, just went on too long and it seemed to be more of a comédie noire, than a serious mystery.....  Just a plain waste of time and an annoyance.

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