Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

Book Details
Hercule Poirot's Christmas (aka A Holiday for Murder) by Agatha Christie
Paperback, 272 Pages
2000, Berkley
ISBN: 0425177416

The Lee family reunion is shattered by deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, Simon Lee lies dead with his throat slit. But when Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas is another Agatha Christie novel that leaves you wanting more - more Christmas, more Poirot, more useful clues and a more realistic ending.

While the murder takes place at Christmas time, the holiday is in the background. The suspects all happen to be at the crime scene because of it and it is mentioned occasionally, but I didn't feel a big holiday focus. Poirot arrives about a third of the way through the novel, causing a large portion of the beginning of the book to be mostly set-up and contain little actual detection. The book is ripe with red herrings to the point where you stop believing that any clue is a clue at all.

The clues end up not being an issue because the killer is a total surprise. It's virtually impossible to figure it out before the big reveal. Even after Poirot accuses the guilty, you're left wondering how that could have possibly happened. While I loved the surprise, I would have rather had the evidence support the guilt better.

Not a bad mystery, but not of the same caliber of other Agatha Christie novels. If you won't be reading the entire Christie backlist, I'd skip this one in favor of another.



  1. I agree that this is a tough mystery (if I remember correctly, it would be more helpful for us to see the characters) but I think I still liked it, at least more than some of her others. I didn't even think about the lack of Christmas focus until you mentioned it.

  2. I love Agatha Christie but I haven't read one for a while now. I dont intend to start reading AC books again with this one.... but I do need to get back.

  3. @Juju - Me too! Even when they aren't great, they're never truly bad.

    @Bookworm1858 - Is there a movie that you know of? I'm going to have to look into this. It may very well work better visually.

    @kavyen - I've read about half of her books. I love Poirot as a character, but I like the books without one of the series characters the most.

  4. I found you via the AC Carnival. Great review! I think I liked it better than you did. :<)