Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hallowe'en Party

by Agatha Christie

A Hercule Poirot mystery.  A young girl is drowned in the apple-bobbing bucket at a Halloween party after announcing that she had witnessed a murder.  Poirot investigates and learns that the girl was a habitual liar, but he uncovered a series of crimes and cover-ups in the small town as well.  Soon, Poirot is fitting everything together, but not before the killer strikes again.

This is a fantastic work by a master.  I’d never read a Christie mystery before, but it’s clear she’s an old hand by the time she wrote this one, 1969.  There are a couple of bits that clang awkwardly (repeated comments about the habits of the young and the state of criminal psychiatry), but of course, the book is a product of the era.  In terms of the mystery itself, Christie is eminently fair with the clues, but no less skilled with the red herrings.  The final scenes are done particularly well, with the suspense high and filler kept to a minimum, without any extraneous exposition.

five stars

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