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The Monogram Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 325 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Book 1 of 4 in New Hercule Poirot Mysteries
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“Equal parts charming and ingenious, dark and quirky and utterly engaging…I was thrilled to see Poirot in such very, very good hands. Reading The Monogram Murders was like returning to a favorite room of a long-lost home.” (Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl)
“Perfect...a pure treat for Agatha Christie fans.” (Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Place)
“Sophie Hannah’s The Monogram Murders does Christie proud. Our favorite detective is back and in impeccable form!” (Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of An Unwilling Accomplice)
“Sophie Hannah is a prodigious talent. I can’t wait to see what she does next.” (Laura Lippman)
“Sophie Hannah’s idea for a plot line was so compelling and her passion for my grandmother’s work so strong, that we felt that the time was right for a new Christie to be written.” (Matthew Prichard, grandson of Agatha Christie)
From the Back Cover
The world’s most famous detective.
The literary event of the year—an all-new mystery featuring
Agatha Christie’s legendary hero Hercule Poirot.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1920, more than two billion copies of Agatha Christie’s books have been sold around the globe. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation, Hercule Poirot.
‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’
Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...
- File size : 1420 KB
- Print length : 325 pages
- Publisher : William Morrow; Reprint edition (September 9, 2014)
- Publication date : September 9, 2014
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- X-Ray : Enabled
- ASIN : B00EYNGP8A
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,162 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The only decent thing is that, while Poirot's actions are almost totally out of character (at least the character by Dame Agatha) e.g. he rides the bus to help clear his mind, some of his dialog is accurate. But even when I tried to read it as divorced from the Poirot I loved, i still could not make sense of the story - for example, how the heck does a guy get to be a Scotland Yard detective when he has a pathological fear of being around dead bodies - to the extent he neglects his proper duties (esp. since he is of an age, that he should have served in WW1)? This thing is a total disappointment.
In fact, I hadn't ever before realised just how psychic Poirot was. How remiss of Ms Christie never to reveal this fact! All these years she led us to believe he came to his conclusions based on his reading of the clues, his ability to see through the red herrings to the facts, the superior power of his little grey cells. Ms Hannah kindly lets us in on the true secret though. Clues are unnecessary. Poirot just knows what has happened. At each stage, as other people flounder to make sense of the plot (well, I certainly did!), Poirot sees straight through to the truth without the need for any pesky evidence or suchlike nonsense. What a gift! Unfortunately not one that makes a detective novel work very well though...
If this book had been written about a detective called Smith, it might have rated maybe three stars. The plot is convoluted, psychologically unconvincing and over-padded. The list of suspects is far too small, meaning that there are no big surprises come the reveal. But the writing style is quite good, some of the characterisation is fine and the descriptions of the places involved in the plot are done reasonably well.
BUT...there is a great big 'Agatha Christie' on the front of the book, so this should really read like one of hers, shouldn't it? It doesn't. From the very beginning Poirot is not right. For a start, he has moved into a lodging house because he wants to escape from his fame for a while and be anonymous. Doesn't sound like the Poirot I know! Secondly we hear almost nothing about his little foibles - his vanity, his moustaches, his rotundity, his endearingly egg-shaped head, his patent leather shoes. We do get to hear a little about his passion for order but just as a sop. Thirdly he goes about searching rooms and seeking out physical clues like Holmes on an eager day. The real Poirot, as we know, is actually much more interested in the psychology of the crime. Fourthly, when the real Poirot speaks French, he kindly only uses words we're all going to get without resorting to a French-English dictionary - mais pas ce prétendant. Fifthly, at the end he actually participates in a formal police interview in a police station - but I was past the stage of caring long before then anyway. So I'll be kind and spare you sixthly, seventhly...etc.
I saw Sophie Hannah being interviewed about the book on the BBC News channel, and she said that she had decided not to try to recreate Christie's style. So she created a new character, Catchpool, to be the narrator so that he could bring a new voice to the story. I was willing to go along with this idea, though it seemed a shame not to have Hastings along for the ride. But firstly (sorry), Catchpool is extremely annoying. He can't stand dead bodies, keeps walking away from the investigation, is as thick as a brick and basically hands the entire investigation over to Poirot (mind you, with Poirot's amazing supernatural abilities, who wouldn't?). Secondly, he's struggling not to reveal that he's gay - that's never spelled out, but it's quite clear from the unsubtle hints that are dropped all over the place. Now I know it's obligatory that every police officer in detective fiction is either gay or drunk these days, or both, (I suppose I should be glad that at least he was sober), but this is supposed to be a Christie-style book. I'm certainly not arguing that all gay men should be portrayed like Mr Pye in The Moving Finger, but the idea of Ms Christie having a gay policeman is frankly ridiculous. And Poirot's psychic powers let him down on that one, since he seems determined to pair Catchpool off with a nice woman. Thirdly, Catchpool tells the story in the first-person (past tense, thankfully), and yet knows every detail of what happens when he's not there. So he can describe all of Poirot's conversations verbatim, tells us when people stand up, sit down, blush, etc. - clearly Poirot's psychic abilities are catching.
The last fifth of the book is taken up with the traditional get-together where Poirot reveals what happened, but it goes on for ever and is mainly just Poirot telling us the whole story, with no reference as to how he came by all these amazing insights. As I said before, he just knows! And considering how silly and unlikely the plot is, that seems beyond miraculous.
I can only say that I sincerely hope there won't be another of these. If there is, even I will be able to resist the temptation next time. Because now (cue spooky music), FictionFan just knows too...
Top reviews from other countries
I have never read an Agatha Christie before. I know, I know. How on earth can I call myself a book-lover! They just seemed to completely pass me by and The Monogram Murders was my first foray into the world of Poirot.
I really, really struggled with this book. As mentioned above I haven’t read a Poirot novel before so I was really going into this blind. I had, of course, seen the TV Series of Poirot with David Suchet as the titular character but I am not an avid fan. My main difficulty was Poirot himself. I found him, well, annoying. I mean, really, *really* annoying. Which isn’t great when the book is about him trying to solve murders. He is a nosy know-it-all who is just completely infuriating and if it hadn’t been for the murders and the whodunit I may have abandoned the book entirely.
I understand from friends of mine who love and adore Poirot that I am in the minority here and decidedly odd for finding his supercilious and patronising ways annoying. In fact, they are currently in discussion about whether our 20+ year friendship is allowed to continue based on my horrific opinion of Poirot and let me tell you, when I revealed my feelings the WhatsApp group chat was not a pretty place to be. It’s just, he grated on me with his holier than thou attitude. This is, of course no reflection on Sophie Hannah’s writing – from what I gather he is always like this and she has done a great job in replicating his character in her novels. Also, if somebody can invoke a reaction in a reader they have done a pretty great job.
The mystery itself, regarding three murdered guests in a London hotel is cleverly constructed and enticing. I have read some of Sophie Hannah’s books before and I know how skilled she is at creating tightly woven and intricate plots via a clever narrative structure and for the most part she has done so again here. Despite my immense dislike of Poirot, I did want to keep turning the pages to see what happened and to try to solve the puzzle for myself. However, and this may be a Christie thing, there was a lot of clues that weren’t really revealed to the reader or were deliberately ambiguous and Poirot (being the most amazing and clever detective in the world) managed to pull them out of thin air and solve the whole thing. This was frustrating as it put me outside of the book and I struggled to be immersed in it.
I was surprised by the moments of humour contained within the book, it definitely lightened things a little and these instances didn’t really feel contrived as they can do sometimes in crime novels. Although it sounds like I hated the book, I didn’t, I just found it a bit of a slog but I did give it three stars on Goodreads. The ending seemed a little overly complicated (and incredibly long) and despite an intriguing premise I felt a bit disappointed by the resolution. Overall though, I just couldn’t get to grips with Poirot and this really made the book a bit difficult to get enthused about at times. I don’t mind an unlikable protagonist but this one made me want to throw my Kindle across the room.
Poirot meets a distressed young woman in a café, who claims she is about to be murdered but her killer must not be punished. She then disappears. Later that evening, Poirot's friend from Scotland Yard, Catchpool, tells Poirot about a triple murder in a hotel where monogramed cufflinks were left on each of the victims. Poirot is convinced that the two are connected. There follows a splendidly convoluted mystery with plenty of twists and turns.
I thoroughly enjoyed this throughout. It's not your gritty modern police drama, but that's what's great about it. You don't have to take it too seriously and traumatised by it. It's fun to read. I think Hannah has done a great job with this story and done justice to Christie's legacy. I think Christie herself would approve - although of course she famously didn't like Poirot very much! If you like murder mysteries and Christie novels then you're in for a treat.