Book Review – Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have to admit I’ve sort of abandoned my plan to reread every Agatha Christie book. I started it ages ago and knew that it would take me ages. Not because her books take that long to read but because I didn’t want to suffer from burnout. Still, I haven’t really been keeping up with it this year. I think the last Christie book I read was back in December. Although, it’s not as if I read a great deal in 2022. I only picked up 4 of her books. Absolutely abysmal when compared to the 16 I got through in 2021. So, I’m going to try and improve this year. I’ve still got over 30 to get through so I need to get cracking. To get me started, I finally listened to an audiobook I’ve had in my library for too long. I normally like Hugh Fraser’s narration but surely David Suchet would be even better, right? At least Poriot would sound familiar.

 It takes a great writer to make crime fiction work in short-form fiction. How do you get everything you need into such a short space? I mean you have to set up the crime, introduce the new characters, show the investigation and solve it. It’s something that Arthur Conan Doyle did remarkably well and Agatha Christie does better than most. Although, I can’t say that her short stories are ever my favourite. Especially where Hercule Poirot is concerned.

One of the greatest joys of a Poirot mystery is watching how he deals with suspects. Seeing his little grey cells in action. You don’t get a lot of that here. Yes, he solves some pretty good mysteries but it’s all a bit quick. There are a few of them when he doesn’t even leave his flat let alone interrogate people. Instead of following his thought process, you just end up witnessing the great reveal. Unlike Christie novels, it’s unlikely you’ll solve the short stories because they’re too short.

It’s the difference between being shown and being told. Instead of witnessing Poriot’s genius we have to be told how great he is. It doesn’t necessarily make these stories bad but it certainly doesn’t stand up to his novels. He’s a character that demands a slow burner so you can get to grips with his character. As enjoyable and fun as these stories are, I did find myself wishing I was reading a full-length book.

Still, there are certainly worse Poirot books out there. It’s a readable book that has some decent twists. As with all short story collections, not all of them are as good as the others. I don’t think there are any major duds though. If you’re trying to read every Agatha Christie then you won’t be disappointed with this one. However, if you’re not bothered about completing the set then you can probably skip this one. 

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