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After the Funeral: Hercule Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot series Book 29) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 256 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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We suspect that many of the heirs will go through their large inheritance very rapidly. Michael and Rosamond will finance very bad plays, pursuing their egotistical dream of becoming theatrical greats. George is already in deep debt to casinos, and will fritter away the rest of his inheritance at the dice table.
Hercule Poirot explains that in this case physical evidence is not to be found, so he must approach the mystery by analysis of those characters who had opportunity and motive. The characters come to life through dialog -- pages and pages of it. The novel involves a series of set scenes with all the suspects given free rein to ramble on and on. Poirot says that, given enough aimless conversation, the killer will unwittingly reveal himself. So it proves in this case.
Ms. Christie is a master of settings. We have the manor house, which figures several times. There's a lawyer's office where several scenes take place, a few posh London apartments, and a rustic little cottage in a small village.
The novel was great fun. Agatha again contrasts the dignified and "classy" world of the old money and aristocracy against the grifters and opportunists that appear to be taking over English society. A case of the fine old gentry being displaced by very shallow, venal descendents. Such is the tension in a number of her novels. The old butler is a kind of choral character. He has seen the old and the new, the best and the worst -- the old world in collision with the new. That old butler is a fine "foil" expressing Agatha's own point of view.
I liked it. Buy it. Read it.
As for the plot, well it's a mystery, isn't it? Somebody gets murdered and the detective has to figure out who-dun-it and the other characters have to throw in as many monkey wrenches as they can to make sure that the crime isn't solved until the end of the book. Although I think Christie's stories were well and intelligently plotted, I read them for their charm and their realistic characters. Of course, you can argue that the bluff, good-natured country squire and the self-absorbed beauty and the acidulous spinster and the grand lady of the manor are stereotypes, but don't be surprised if old Agatha pulls the rug out from under you. Some of these folks are NOT what they seem!
My only criticism is that (in my opinion) one of the main characters would NOT have gone along with the charade, but the author would counter that she HAS to or there will be no book. Irrefutable logic. I'm also intrigued by Miss Brewis - the hyper-efficient secretary who's in love with her boss and has a very poor opinion of his lovely, scatty wife. After the author's death, her widower married his long-time, devoted secretary. Coincidence or Dame Agatha getting in a sly dig at her husband? We'll never know.
The back story is a bit complicated, involving the large family of a prosperous Victorian manufacturer. The Man-Who-Made-The-Money is long since gone and so are most of his children. Then the remaining ones start dying off - some suspiciously, some violently. Looks like one of the younger generation may be clearing the deck for a large inheritance. But which one? The stuffy old family lawyer tries some detective work on his own, with predictable results. Finally (in Chapter 7) he calls in the heavy artillery - his old friend the semi-retired M. Poirot.
Poirot in turn calls on HIS semi-retired buddy - the wonderful Mr. Goby. Mr. Goby's business is to collect information and there's not much he can't find out. He has a great deal to say about the younger generation and the advantages and disadvantages of Big Brother governments. He speaks exclusively to various pieces of furniture and is one of my favorite Christie characters.
The setting is post-WWII England and the older folks are grumbling about high taxes and labor unions and the lack of proper servants. The younger folks are choosing mates and pursuing careers and trying to get what they can out of their older relatives, while avoiding them like the plague. I especially enjoyed the two female cousins - two young women who seem as unlike as night and day and yet who have very similar attitudes toward their men.
Poirot carefully, tirelessly shifts through the alibis and the motives and listens to all the people involved because he knows that eventually we ALL reveal ourselves in our conversation. In the end, it boils down to one thing. If no one is watching you, you can get away with murder.
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I practically learnt to read with her books. My dad was a detective and a HUGE fan. I know I’ve read all her books at least once.Read more