Category Archives: Hercule Poirot

Three Act Tragedy

The very title suggests a dramatic quality in the plot. And so is it.

First Act-Murder at the party

13 people gather for a party in the house of an actor. A suggestion is made to increase the number to 14 to ward off the ill effects by the actor’s secretary, but is brushed off.  Tragedy strikes when one of the guests dies, after consuming a glass of dry martini. But nothing is found suspicious, though one of the guests, Hercule Poirot has his own doubts.

 

Second Act-the suspicion

Apart from his incidental appearance, Poirot stays in the background, content to pull the strings. It is the actor and another of his guests, Mr.Sattherwaite(of The Mysterious Mr.Quin fame) who embark on a trail of detection. True to Poirot’s oft repeated maxim that a murderer does not stop with one murder, another guest of murdered in a similar fashion in his own house with the modus operandi being the same.  This creates a panic among the remaining survivors, barring Poirot.

 

Third Act-The deduction

A third victim, with knowledge about the identity of the murderer speeds up Poirot to stage his drama, confirming the identity of the perpetrator which is a complete shock to the reader!

The way Poirot goes about manipulating the strings, playing second fiddle but arriving at the results in 24 hours is a feat. Though initially dull, the narrative takes pace with the murder of the second guest and veers off to a startling finish, leaving us wondering at the ingenuity of the murderer.

Last but not the least, enjoy this book with a glass of wine.  You will feel the thrill.

 

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Hercule Poirot-50 Short Stories

I was delighted to discover this book resting comfortably on a high shelf in the bookseller’s rack, waiting to be plucked by me(over imagination, my boy!).  And my hunches regarding a book are 100% right and was I right! Each and every story is a workout to the mind, a delight to the reader, a treasure to the diehard fan and a gem to the collector.

There are 50 stories, including a rare one and the 12 labors of Poirot(it does not bore you to read them again).

Not all are successful ones. Some are failures, some are baffling, some are so simple that you kick yourselves for missing the point so soon, some will make you race to the finishing page to see the result in a hurry, some will make you read them again and again and again..Better than a novel, they are a treat in themself, a perfect companion on a long journey, or a day of respite at home.

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One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

I had come across this title as I wandered around the libraries and shelves(online) looking for a good book. And ultimately decided to buckle my shoe and read it. It is different, I must admit. An intriguing one also, I must add.

Poirot goes to a dentist(of whom he has a morbid fear. Don’t we all?) Yet when he goes again a few hours later, the dentist is dead-in a suspicious way. And the game starts..

As each of the patients who came on that day are suspected and eliminated, the net gets complicated. The list includes people from all walks of life-from the commoner to the highest-a banker, who is the purported victim and on whose stead the dentist is dead.

Poirot rackles his brain a good deal(so do we) in looking for the one thing that would arouse his grey cells and nearly fails, but regains his composure later, leading to a brilliant conclusion. Each of the patient has a history behind him and each is suspicious of the other, trying to avoid the police scrutiny. One leads to the other and numerous pages of mazes follow…

And at last Poirot buckles up the culprit….Yes, it would be a spoiler to mention the very simple word that would point those who are yet to read it. So folks, buckle up!

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Lord Edgware Dies

Lord Edgware Dies-Another of Hercule Poirot’s mysteries. But what makes this one wanting to be read is the narration, style in which Christie bases her plot and the introduction of the characters. The very methods of Poirot, to the seasoned reader may appear as deja vu since he might have read a few or all of Poirot’s cases. Nevertheless, it is interesting to take up Poirot’s mantle for the few hours one reads the novel and try to out gesss the little Belgian. A sharp exercise to our grey cells.

In a party, Hercule Poirot is approached by a lady who seeks his help in getting rid of her eccentric husband, Lord Edgware so that she can marry and start a fresh life. In his characteristic way, Poirot refuses at first, but agrees due to the persuasive manners of the fashionista, to have an appointment with her husband. His job-to get the man to agree for a divorce which the lady deems as an impossible task.

To Poirot’s surprise, the husband agrees too readily and the first scent of suspicion lands in Poirot’s mind. And to confirm them, Lord Edgware is murdered the very night he met Hercule Poirot.

As Poirot plunges into the investigation, doubts cloud the very nature of his question-of who killed the man? Poirot, though working out various angles, is clueless in arriving at the identity of the murderer. Contradictory evidence, multiple motives make his job not an easy one. And his theory that the murderer will strike again is provd when a lady is killed which looks like an accidnt.

The murderer plays a game of cat and mouse with Poirot, hiding and revealing clues here and there. Added to the queer nature is the nonchalant attitude of the widow, who expresses nothing but happiness on being ridf of a husband like Lord Edgware.

The illumination comes at last, and what an illumination! From then on, Poirot is all action. The chief players are accosted with their respective lies and evidences and as if in a dreamy state, Poirot pulls out the rabbit. And all  rests on a flimsy piece of evidence that even Poirot, with his methodical sense had overlooked.

Yes, it is indeed one of Poirot’s best.

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The Third Girl

Every one of Poirot’s adventures gives a working to our own grey cells. How does the little Belgian conjure the solution to this seemingly impossible situation? How does he produce those miracles from his armchair? He is indeed a magician, an illusionist, who can truely pull out a rabbit out of an empty hat, in an intellectual sense.

The Third Girl by Agatha Christie is one such novel where we find the intricate workings of Poirot’s grey cells produce a result never thought of. A completely different reasoning, yet logical in every chink and backed by solid proofs-that is what it is.

Hercule Poirot is interrupted in his excellent breakfast of brioche and chocolat (his favorite) by a girl who drops a hint very causlly that she may have committed a murder-and disappears to his astonishment. The bewildered Poirot is left to pick up the loose threads and connect them into a single strand.

And how interesting! From then on, Poirot uses all his talent to trace that girl and uncovers clue after clue(the first is provided by his friend that the girl is one of three girls sharing a flat. Hence the third girl). But all is not as it seems as he wishes to find, especially when his instinct tells him to expect a murder and nothing happens..

The plot is thickened further by a host of interesting characters from the missing girl’s household to her boyfriend to the byways of London and leading to South Africa, ranging with lunacy, hate, jealousy and lack oif love, fueling a myriad of possibilities-especially when a pistol isd found with missing bullets in her wardrobe..

An entire chapter goes to Poirot working his grey cells, arranging each fact and coming to a daring conclusion-defying everyone’s belief. And as the affair gets murkier, it only remains to be seen what will happen to the third girl..

A fine read and a must for every Poirot collector. Enfin!

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Murder on the Orient Express

One of my favorite Poirot mysteries.

Ever since I got introduced to M.Hercule Poirot I have been reading all available stories on him. Of all that I have read, I love this one-Murder on the Orient Express more for its ingenious plot and the way Poirot propounds not one but two solutions at the end.

Murder on the Orient Express, as you might have guessed by now is a mystery novel which has its story on the Orient Express in which Poirot is a passenger. Midway he is approached by one of the passengers named Ratchett seeking his expertise and protection against an unknown enemy. For his own reasons, Poirot declines the offer.

But during the journey, Mr.Ratchett is found murdered with multiple stab wounds. Poirot’s investigations throw out a number of clues, suggestive of more than one hand in the murder and the train comes to a halt mid way due to a snow drift….

And the clock ticks as Poirot interviews each of the passengers and tries to analyze as to who had the best motive. But even Poirot has to bite the dust some times…

This is a fast paced story and guarantees that you will not be able to put down the book until you arrive at the very last page. Added to the excitement is when Poirot prposes not one, but two solutions. In a murder as complicated as this and the evidence incriminating any one on the train, Poirot’s ingenuity in going for more than one solution is a brainy job.

On the course of investigation, Poirot is thoroughly interested and tested as the multi cultural passengers open up to his investigative mind. There is a scene where Poirot is challenged in his own turf-an evidence is planted in his own luggage indicative of a challenge (to which he rises admirably), the story acquires a new twist, assuring an interesting ending.

Agatha Christie is truly the Queen of Crime!

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Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case

The mark on Norton’s forehead-it was like the brand of Cain..

-From the notes of Capt.Arthur Hastings.

Dame Agatha Christie has a special place in crime fiction. Her most famous creation -M.Hercule Poirot was second only to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Hercule Poirot with his precise manners, his penchant for order, his queer mustache is as famous as the Baker Street detective. Yet, they are unparalleled in their own way.

When Doyle finished off Holmes in The Final Problem, he faced the wrath of the public who went to the extend of mourning a fictitious character. Such was the effect Holmes had on them. Equally impressive is his sidekick Dr.Watson who chronicles all of Holmes’ adventures.

If it was Watson for Holmes, we have Captain Arthur Hastings assisting Poirot in his adventures. From A Mysterious Affair in Styles to the last, they remain an inseparable pair in the reader’s mind.

Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case is the last of the wonderful Poirot mysteries. The way Poirot uses his grey cells and unravels everything at the end in his own way is a treat in itself. Murder on the Orient Express, Death in the clouds, The Hollow, Hickory Dickory Dock, The Big Four, The Labors of Hercules are some of Poirot’s most famous ones and my favorites.If it was all action in Holmes, it is brain work in Poirot’s case.

Poirot summons Hastings one last time to Styles, the place where it all started. Five unrelated murders have occurred, in each case the accused’s guilt proved beyond doubt. But Poirot suspects that there is more that meets the eye. Crippled with arthritis and old age, Poirot engages the help of Hastings to be his eyes and ears and report to him whatever he observes. Poirot feels that this would be his last case and this time the adversary is a clever one. Even Poirot doesn’t stand a chance before his devious schemes.

As Poirot and Hastings cast the net and watch, all doesn’t seem as they are. A murder occurs and Poirot nearly fails in his attempts to lure the criminal. Poirot makes a last ditched effort to catch the criminal and the rest…..is to be read in the book.

It is not easy to write crime fiction. That too establish a certain style and create a memorable character as Poirot and making him seem alive in flesh and blood. But Dame Agatha Christie does the impossible and Poirot truimphs!

Of all the Poirot cases, this one is the most intriguing and baffling one. For as suspicision falls on each one, the suspect is eliminated and Poirot is at his wit’s and races againts time before the next crime takes place-a crime so horrific, ruthless, cunning in nature.

For the rest, do read. You will enjoy it!

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