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Agatha Christie: Death In The Clouds Paperback – June 4, 2001
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I really enjoyed this book, the circumstances of the first part reminds me a little bit of Murder on the Orient Express. However, it does differ because we do get to go off the flight and travel with Poirot to England and France as he investigates. No Hastings here, but we have our favorite Japp as well as several new characters who serves as his sidekicks throughout the book.
Poirot is not a good air traveler; therefore, he tries to block out the whole scenario by turning to the medicine others have tried for the same fears....sleep. Because he is seated near the murdered lady, and in fact finds the suspected death weapon, he is very briefly suspected of being the murderer. Well, all Christie fans know that is definitely an impossibility, and Poirot is readily ruled out as having played any part in the murder. But, alas, it did occur almost under his nose. Someone on the plane is a murderer, and he or she is doing a good job of concealing their guilt.
The passengers include French archaeologists, a British doctor, a British dentist, a writer, a hairdresser, an aristocratic lady and Hercule Poirot. One (or more) of these passengers could be the murderer .... including a dead wasp. Wait, there are also the two plane stewards. Could one, or both, have committed the murder?
Some of the characters are likable and seem to be upstanding citizens. Then there are those that seem to be rather conniving and just might be capable of murder. Christie helps the reader sort through the clues by revealing secrets in the lives of the passengers, contents of their luggage and pockets. She also lets us be privy to some private conversations between Poirot and other characters.
Our little detective does his usual adding and subtracting, manipulating plus some theatrics to solve the puzzle. A very entertaining read for all Christie fans even tho' you may have read Death in the Clouds many moons ago. For those of you who might not have ever included Agatha Christie mysteries in your reading material, please note that there is not profanity or gory descriptive text. This is just another entertaining murder mystery with humor, some unexpected happenings and perhaps a plot twist for many readers. Try it, you'll like it!
At the ensuing inquest, Hercule is almost indicted because the blowpipe is found behind his seat on the aeroplane. Level heads prevail and Hercule, inspector Japp, and Monsieur Fournier of the Surete in France combine their efforts to solve this case. Of course the reader knows that Hercule Poirot will solve the mystery using his " little grey cells " without the aide of his fellow detectives. Mais oui! I have to admit that I had no idea who killed Marie Morisot, only our squat Poirot, who depends on logic alone would have a chance of solving this murder. He eventually whittles down the other ten suspects to four and zeroes in on the murderer, or murderess. It's always so much fun trying to figure out who the killer is in Agatha's novels, but this time I didn't have any luck!
One of the amazing traits of an Agatha novel is how she can develop the characterization of so many suspects while also leaving the reader with a sense of sympathy for most of them. All that in under 300 pages! She was truly a great writer. I also get a sense of what is happening in the world at the time of publication. In this case it's 1935 and World War II is right around the corner. How about the words and expressions she uses, such as; saltcellar ( a salt shaker ), or Continental Bradshaw ( a guide for railway and steamship navigation ) or kerb ( curb ). This is what I love about a Agatha Christie novel- you get a great mystery and the cognizance of the times. Grab a copy of this Hercule novel and try to figure out which suspect is the killer, then move on to the next novel,'The A. B. C. Murders'.