So, yesterday, Day 5 of Bout of Books 19, I finished Curtain, Hercule Poirot’s final case, though nowhere close to Christie’s last book. She wrote it during the War in case she didn’t survive so she was not even halfway through her book-writing years. Considering it was written 36 years before it was published, there’s not much wrong with it. I tried to read it with an eye to fair-clueing which perhaps I’m just not that good at. Even though I read it many years ago, I only remembered part of the solution and didn’t guess the rest even though I would say she showed her whole hand. Or at least enough to guess. Like Hastings, I see, but do not observe. Or is it the other way around?
At any rate, it was, as usual, an enjoyable read. Coming full circle with Poirot and Hastings back at Styles, the house they had their first case in together. A selection of people and actually, I would put this as one of Dame Agatha’s most clever plots – a fundamental twist on our ideas of murder. So many of the old, timeworn elements are there, but a new kind of criminal is what they’re after.
I have a few from earlier years that I skipped for reasons I can’t remember now, but the only one later is Sleeping Murder – Marple’s last case and written around the same time as Curtain. But what I picked up yesterday is the classic Poisoned Chocolates Case – again because of the clueing. Some say fair, and some otherwise, but it seems a unique type of story. A crime club has gotten together and invited a Scotland Yard inspector to fill them in on a case they’ve given up on. How Mrs. Bendix was killed with a box of poisoned chocolates. Each of the six members of the club is to present their theory after a suitable interval for theorizing and investigation.
I may not impress anyone with my rate of reading, but having finished a book in 5 days this year is remarkable, so go me, I say.