Do you remember how I had vowed to slowly make my way through all of Agatha Christie’s books by reading at least one per month? Yeah, that went out the window in recent months. So, I decided to pick one up in June. How did I decide? I went on Spotify and found the first audiobook that was in English. I also don’t think I’ve ever read this one before. If I have, it didn’t leave enough of an impression on me. As long as I didn’t need to know anything about golf then I knew I was going to alright.
Agatha Christie does a lot of things well. One of the things that I’ve never been a huge fan of, is her approach to romance. At least in her crime novels. There are a lot of annoying romantic aspects to this Poirot book and I did get pretty tired of it. We can all agree that Hastings is a terrible narrator but there is something extra about this one that just gets irritating. I’ve never really enjoyed the way he describes women but this is one of the worst. From the very first chapter, Hastings is inhabiting a very different story from the rest of the characters. I wish it hadn’t been quite so big a plot point.
Although, the main point is, as always, the murder. This one takes us to France after Poirot and Hastings are asked to assist Paul Renauld. When they get there, Renauld has been stabbed in the back and left by a gold course. His widow tells a dramatic story about 2 men breaking into their villa, tying her up and kidnapping her husband. Although, something doesn’t quite add up for our Belgian detective. Can he solve the murder without being kept out by the French police?
Especially when the detective leading up the investigation is working so hard to stop him. Poirot finds a nemesis in, Monsieur Giraud, a French detective of the Paris Sûreté. I did enjoy this added layer to the story. It’s always fun to see Poirot’s nose get put out of joint. He’s so wonderfully petty and bratty in this book. He’s also brilliant as always. Just look at how he solves this murder. He figures it out because of a crime that happened years earlier. Humans, he tells us, don’t change. Thankfully, Poirot doesn’t either.
So, Poirot is the same uptight and irritating character that he always is. Yet there is something slightly less exciting about this story. The crime itself is a little more convoluted than I’d normally enjoy. It’s not overly complicated but it could be a little simpler. It runs out of steam quite early on, and then you just go through the motions. There are a lot of fun little aspects of this story though. Plenty of references to other classic crime fiction litter the pages. It’s just that the story isn’t as engaging as some of her other books. Not one that I’ll be rushing back to.