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Hercule Poirot's Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) Paperback – October 25, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Christmas Eve, and the Lee family’s reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, histhroat slashed.
When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hatethe old man. . . .
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Top Customer Reviews
In this case Christie assembles a cast of suspects, gives them ample motive and opportunity, gives them all reasons to lie, throws in a group of clues that simply cannot be reconciled in any logical fashion, and then brings off a solution which explains everything and exposes a killer you'd never suspect.
The story (originally titled "Murder for Christmas") was written in 1938, the same year Christie wrote "Appointment with Death." The two stories share much in common. "Appointment" features a fabulously wealthy, tyrannical matriarch who delights in tormenting her children. "Christmas" features a fabulously wealthy, tyrannical patriarch who delights in tormenting his children. By the time the matriarch/patriarch is bumped off, the reader is ready help kill him/her. The children in both stories are all pathetic weaklings. Despite their weakness, the reader can develop affection for some of them.
"Appointment" featured a rather straightforward, easily achieved modus operandi and Christie's favorite murder weapon--poison. "Christmas" served up a locked room mystery with a diabolically clever methodology fraught with the peril of miscarriage.
One feature of the murder was the vast amount of blood shed when the victim was stabbed. The murderer would have been covered with blood, but none of the suspects seems to have any blood on them. Having read "Murder on the Orient Express," I was familiar with Christie's seeming lack of understanding of the dynamics of blood spatter in stabbing cases.Read more ›
The family is the dysfunctional Lee family, summoned to pass Christmas together in the house of old Simeon Lee, the patriarch. During this stressful reunion, a commotion followed by a blood-curdling scream is heard from the room on the first floor occupied by old Simeon. When the locked door is forced open, the furniture is found upended, the safe rifled, and Simeon is found lying dead with his throat cut. The door key is in place, on the inside of the door.
Having depicted how the family members despise, hate, or resent each other up to this point, Agatha Christie next allows the investigations and theories to develop. Poirot is on hand, but she cleverly allows other police inspectors and investigators to do most of the work and make most of the mistakes.
The solution is one you will never forget, but also one that you will probably never arrive at before Poirot reveals all. Agatha Christie is wonderfully clever at laying out all the clues in an arrangement that directs the reader away from the vital ones.
Apart from a few lines of description, almost everything in the text is dialogue. To anyone in the world who has not yet read this 1940 mystery nothing more need be said. To those who are re-reading it, I suggest they notice how cleverly it is plotted and planned.
While the murder takes place at Christmas time, the holiday is in the background. The suspects all happen to be at the crime scene because of it and it is mentioned occasionally, but I didn't fell a big holiday focus. Poirot arrives about a third of the way through the novel, causing a large portion of the beginning of the book to be mostly set-up and contain little actual detection. The book is ripe with red herrings to the point where you stop believing that any clue is a clue at all.
The clues end up not being an issue because the killer is a total surprise. It's virtually impossible to figure it out before the big reveal. Even after Poirot accuses the guilty, you're left wondering how that could have possibly happened. While I loved the surprise, I would have rather had the evidence support the guilt better.
Not a bad mystery, but not of the same caliber of other Agatha Christie novels. If you won't be reading the entire Christie backlist, I'd skip this one in favor of another.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book very much. It is one of Hercule Poirot's good ones although they are all good.Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
Do not buy this version of Poirot's Christmas. Editing is horrific. Two or three sentences run together with no punctuation. No copyright information. Publisher not identified. Read morePublished 23 days ago by milights
No more avatar as they all seem the same. If you want light reading go ahead I prefer more intense plots but is entertaining.Published 2 months ago by Gita Sturtevant
This was one of the first Agatha Christies I read as a child. I still love to reread it.Published 3 months ago by S. Pirtle
This Hercule Poirot mystery is a thoroughly enjoyable story with a major surprise in store. I was unable to figure it out.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer