Our famous Belgian is BACK! First thing first: This is so far the most Agatha Christie flavoured book Hannah have penned!
The start of the book reminded me of “A murder is announced“- 4 people get letters accusing them of murdering a man called ‘Barnabas Pandy’- and the letters are signed by Hercules Poirot! But obviously, he didn’t write those letters…
Who is Barnabas Pandy and did one of these people: Slyvia Rule, John McCrodden, Hugo Dockerill and Annabel Treadway, really killed Mr Pandy?
Loved this book and so glad to be reading the world’s best detective again. I will try to summarise my love of this book by going by numbers:
1. Poirot is back full throttle
Sophie Hannah definitely used a lot of gray cells when plotting this book. The story is solid and good, Poirot is the most Agatha Christie-like self in this book. He has appropriate minions, humour and infinite self-boasting skills.
Isn’t he the best?
2. The Appropriate Amount of Feminism
Did Mrs Rule not know that women could not be police inspectors, no matter how much they might want to be or how talented they were? The caller resented being compelled to reflect upon this unwelcome fact and how unfair it was. She harboured a secret belief that she would make a better police inspector than anyone she knew.
I love the sharp, feminist take in the book here and there.
3. Church Window Cake
I think this is Battenburg cake as we know in the UK and there is a tiny bit of a mystery Poirot kindly assists solving for a side-kick. These cake is mentioned so many times in the book that it made me want to eat cake. (Now I said this not sure this is good or bad.)
4. The Setting and the Surrounding air of Mystery
Guys – we have a Boys Boarding School, an old stately home and London as the setting. The 1930’s is cleverly exposed. I liked the humorous bits that Hannah sprinkled in!
The mystery was also diabolic. Did someone really killed Mr Pandy? If yes, is it one of the letter recipients? If not, why were the letters sent? When the plot is totally unfolded, you’ll see its’ quite clever!
5. The Characters
Last but not the least! I loved the characters! You have the damsel in distress, have the dodgy gentlemen, picky in-laws, women who keeps secrets to themselves, light-hearted men, and very witty wives! I loved the characters in this novel and I think for the first time I read these series of books, I felt a genuine Christie spark in the air!
Highly recommended, fabulous read if you’re into cosy crime novels and a lover of Dame Agatha Christie.