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Death on the Nile: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Paperback – February 1, 2011
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“The construction is flawless.” (Daily Mail (London))
“Must be read twice, once for enjoyment and once to see how the wheels go round.” (The Times (London))
“The main alibi is of the first brilliance … the descriptive work hits, as it were, the Nile on the head.” (The Observer (London))
“A peach of a case for Poirot. I take my hat off to the author for as ingenious an alibi as can well be imagined.” (Sunday Times (London))
From the Back Cover
The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life.
Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: "I'd like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger." Yet in this exotic setting nothing is ever quite what it seems.
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Top customer reviews
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After the discovery of Tut's tomb, an interest in the ancient civilizations of the Middle East rose to fever pitch. The English were nervously watching Hitler's consolidation of power in Germany, but still hopeful that war could be avoided. Digging in Syria was complicated, but safe and Christie was happy to spend part of every year with her husband while he pursued his discoveries.
During this period, she continued to write her popular country house and village mysteries, but she also wrote three books that were set in the Middle East. DEATH ON THE NILE is, in my opinion, the best of the lot and I think it's because it's set in Egypt and involves archeology only as seen and enjoyed by a group of English tourists. Perhaps she was too close to the realities of archeology to successfully build a book around it. But a group of English tourists on a paddle boat on the Nile presents endless possibilities for intrigue and complications.
I love this book because it has the feel of a novel that the author enjoyed writing. It was successfully filmed in 1978 and I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the film almost as much as I enjoyed the novel. Usually I don't! I think it filmed well because the dramatic nature of the book lends itself to being converted into a script. Of course, some alterations had to be made and some characters removed, but over-all it was a fine effort. The fabulous scenery along the Nile didn't hurt any.
It must be a wonderful thing to be young and rich and beautiful and lovely heiress Linnet Ridgely clearly intends to wring every drop of enjoyment out of her situation. If she's a trifle over-bearing and arrogant, who can blame her? If she occasionally wounds people in order to get what she wants, she tries to make amends. But what if the person she's offended refuses to be reconciled and pursues a vendetta against her and her new husband?
Then there are the lawyers who've controlled her estate during her childhood.... As a married woman, she now has control and she proves to be surprisingly hard-headed. The comfortable days of keeping her in ignorance are over and there are signs that her "uncles" may have some things to hide. Would they benefit from her death?
Poirot has come to Egypt as a tourist, not to get involved in murder, but she doesn't have any choice in the matter. His friend Colonel Race is keeping a discrete eye on the young couple, but will it be sufficient to prevent tragedy?
Like many of Cristie's plots, it revolves around a woman who's basically good-natured, but who fails to realize the resentment she causes. To her, everything she does is understandable and reasonable. Since she's wealthy and people (including her husband) are dependent on her good-will, who's going to tell her otherwise. It's a sort of mental blindness in an otherwise shrewd woman and it leaves her very, very vulnerable.
And there's a boat-load (literally) of interesting characters and a good many of them have something to hide. Poirot has his work cut out for him and the shocking finale is as sad for him as for the reader. Love, hate, envy, and greed are all potent emotions, Christie seems to be saying, and none of us is immune to their effects.
A clever mystery, fascinating characters, some humor, and an exotic setting. How could you go wrong? Christie didn't.
I did not know that this book was written as part of a trilogy. In fact, the very first book I read was Murder on the Orient Express which absolutely blew my mind. This was the second Agatha Christie book I ever read, and now I am hook. You do not need to read this in order to follow along, but if you do- Murder in Mesopotamia is first, followed by this book, followed by Murder on the Orient Express.
That said, Christie does cheat. She does not give us all the clues. For example in the book I am presently reading (not Death on the Nile) a suspect secretly and suspiciously bought a book. Poirot finds it and exclaims that he knew it! Do we find out what the book is? No. That is likely a vital clue, but Christie doesn't share it with us. For this reason we are left behind Poirot, but for me that's okay. Her stories weave intelligent mysteries and that's enough for me.
As for Death on the Nile, read the book before you see the movie. They're a bit different. You'll meet more characters in the book, but afterwards, don't miss that movie! It's brilliant with a legendary cast.
One word of warning for Kindle readers: It is missing a drawing of the boat's floor plan. I was very upset when I saw this. Oh and yes, that means I own every version of this book. lol! It's fun to reread time and again.
Like I am fond of saying, if you are an aspiring mystery writer, you would be wise to study the works of this amazing Lady.
Excuse me -- I've got to board the Orient Express now...
(Read it on the Kindle.)