Sunday, November 4, 2012

After the Funeral, by Agatha Christie

After the Funeral
By Agatha Christie
1953

A group of relatives gathers at the home of Richard Abernethie, the kind of wealthy old coot who frequently populates this type of book. His flighty sister stirs the pot by suggesting that he was murdered, something no one had given any thought to previously. Is this just a manifestation of her flightiness or is there something to it? One must certainly start to wonder when she's killed in her home with a hatchet the very next day.

Which is the cue for Abernethie's lawyer to call upon one Hercule Poirot, who springs into action and proceeds to sort it all out, which he does in part by adopting another persona and infiltrating the family. Before it's all said and done there are two more attempted murders, one by poisoning and one by clunking over the head with a heavy object.

The solution to this one was actually a fairly clever one. Someone more skilled than I at figuring this sort of thing out might have seen it coming a mile away but I confess that I did not. As was so often the case, Christie did a rather thorough job of muddying the waters and thus making it tricky to figure out exactly what's going on.

And so I continue to work my way through some of the Poirot novels on my unread list. While I liked this one better than The Clocks, which I reviewed most recently, I didn't think it quite measured to Cards on the Table, which I read before that and which ranks as one my favorite Christie novels thus far.

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