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Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1991

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Editorial Reviews


“The actual solution is quite unusually ingenious.” (Times Literary Supplement (London)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

On holiday on the Cornish Riviera, Hercule Poirot is alarmed to hear pretty Nick Buckley describe her recent “accidental brushes with death.” First, on a treacherous Cornish hillside, the brakes on her car failed. Then, on a coastal path, a falling boulder missed her by inches. Later, an oil painting fell and almost crushed her in bed.

So when Poirot finds a bullet hole in Nick’s sun hat, he decides that this girl needs his help. Can he find the would-be killer before he hits his target?

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (December 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425130258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425130254
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on April 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Poirot and Hastings return in this novel set in the resort town of St. Loo on the Cornish coast. While on a week's holiday, the pair meet Miss Magdala Buckley who has had a series of life-threatening accidents. Poirot believes these "accidents" are more likely attempts on her life. In true Christie tradition, a murder soon occurs. However, Miss Buckley is not the victim, but the newly-deceased is a cousin of hers. Poirot must prevent another murder while discovering why anyone would want Miss Buckley dead. Into the mix enters her friends Frederica Rice and Commander Challenger as well as a mysterious couple from Australia who live in a cottage on the grounds of End House, possible narcotics involvement, and a surprise ending that will truly amaze. I won't reveal what the ending is, of course, but it is one that Christie will successfully use again in later works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on January 30, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mystery writers are supposed to play by a set of rules, ie give the reader all the clues, no rare, undetectable poisons, the murder can't be the butler, detective, victim or someone we've never met etc. Agatha Christie always played fair in that all the clues were present for the reader, and she didn't rely on obscure poisons unknown-to-science but she was somewhat more creative in her interpretations of some of the others. PERIL AT END HOUSE is an example of Christie's creativeness with one of the rules of mystery writing (but you'll have to read the book to find out which rule).
Poirot and Hastings are spending some time at a seaside resort. Poirot is still insisting that he has retired but concedes that "...if a bullet should strike the wall by my head, I would ...investigate the matter!" Needless to say one does and Poirot is soon investigating the numerous attempts on the life of a young woman. Poirot sorts his way through a murder, drug trafficking, false identities, secret engagements and attempted frauds to reach the truth.
The ending is clever and we are treated to Poirot being forced to ask someone else for the answer to a minor secondary puzzle.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on April 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This mystery is less a who-done-it than it is a who's-gonna-do-it. Attempts are being made on the life of Nicky Buckley, the pert proprietress of End House. Poirot sets out to foil the would-be murderer, but feels that he's failed miserably when Nicky's cousin dies instead. Poirot redoubles his efforts to save Nicky and to solve the cousin's murder, but he finds himself in a quandary. As Poirot fruitlessly attempts to discern a motive and discover the murderer, Nicky has another narrow escape from a poisoning attempt. Poirot finally decides that the only way to flush the murderer out is to fake Nicky's death. The denouement is both surprising and satisfying. Another nice thing about the story is the glimpse into the mind of Poirot as he sorts out the clues. In this case he does not keep his thoughts and surmises secret from Captain Hastings, and we follow him step by step as he winnows through the evidence to come to his conclusions. He does, however, hold back enough to surprise the reader in the final chapter.
Now for the critique: [1] Christie either knows nothing about the behavior of bullets or expects her readers to know nothing. Her description of the near fatal shooting of Nicky is as full of holes as Nicky's hat. Poirot took no notice of the fact that there was no noise from the report of the pistol, no noise from the ricochet of the bullet, and no scuff mark on the wall. No mention was made of the bullet being deformed by striking the wall. This is not the first time Christie has betrayed such ignorance. In the short story "Dead Man's Mirror", a bullet struck a gong without denting the gong, deforming the bullet, or depositing a lead scuff on the gong.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
One of the early Poirot novels (the seventh to be exact), and once again narrated by Poirot's faithful companion Hastings, "Peril at End House" is a classic Agatha Christie mystery. In fact, it's so "classic" that it's one of the few mysteries that I managed to puzzle out before the denouement, though this in no way impinges on the reading experience (and takes my grand total of outwitting Christie up to three).

Poirot and Hastings are enjoying a break at the Cornish resort of St Loo when they meet a vivacious young woman known as "Nick". Her real name is Magdala Buckley, but her nickname derives from her grandfather, who was called Old Nick on account of his devilish nature. Both men are enchanted by her, but Poirot is gravely concerned when Nick lightly tells him that she's had three near-death encounters in as many days. That very day, someone takes a shot at her and leaves a bullet hole through the brim of her hat, though Nick doesn't take it very seriously until she realizes that her gun is missing.

Yet she can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to kill her, even though Poirot suspects that the constant nature of the attacks point to someone in her inner circle. Various lodgers, servants, friends and family members regularly converge on End House where Nick lives, and so Poirot asks her to send for a trusted family relation to stay with her at all times.

Yet a case of mistaken identity means that Nick's cousin ends up dead, and Poirot is beside himself with guilt. Somewhere out there is a murderer who has not yet achieved his/her objective, and Nick's life still hangs in the balance - especially when it comes to light that there is a very good reason why someone would want her dead.
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