Obstacle number six (I think) in the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge: Agatha Christie’s Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case….cue melancholy music.
Taken from: the Christie Listie
Category: Two – a book with something you might find in the kitchen in the title.
Book rated according to:
Rate of Moustache-Twiddlage: The level of engagement with the plot as measured by the extent to which anxious body language emerges in the reader…
Red Herring Haul: relating to the level of mis-clues present…
Butler-osity: The complexity of the revelation at the end (based on the foundation level of non-complexity in which the Butler is identified as the one who did it)…..
Common-or-Garden-ness: the formulaity of the plot set-up, cast of characters and reveal. Otherwise known as the Retired-Colonel-Ometer…
Rate of Contextual Controversy: or the extent to which racist, sexist or other generally a-bit-off-by-today’s-standards references are casually scattered about the text
Poirot and Hastings and a cast of likely characters meet at a guest house at Styles, scene of Poirot’s first case. Poirot, in poor health, tips Hastings off to the presence of a quintuple murderer in their midst and bids him discover the victim before the murderer can act. Shenanigans ensue. Hastings gets it wrong. As do we all. ‘Cept Canny Hercule. Of course.
I found it hard to engage with this one for some reason – possibly because Poirot is (a) absent from most of the action and (b) smugly guarding the knowledge of whodunnit. Quite frankly, I would have been quite happy to see all of these characters murdered in their beds. Except for Hastings.
There are plenty of red herrings here, mainly due to the fact that Hastings has been told to search for a the kind of person who has a knack for pinning their dastardly deeds on others.
This one is different from any other Christie I’ve read so far, because the murderer turns out to be someone who….no, I won’t spoil things for you. But it’s an unusual reveal, that’s for sure.
The entire cast is made up of Christie favourites…
.”Returned from service in India, you say?”
“Why, yes. Quite.”
Nary a mention of any unpleasantness in this regard. In fact, Judith, Hastings’ daughter, is a bit of a feminist for the time period. She’s also a right old pill in my opinion, but that’s off the topic.
The Plot in a Poem:
Stopping this killer is far from certain,
so some will face the final curtain!
As I said, I didn’t really find this one all that engaging and the ending was somewhat unsatisfying. Luckily I have plenty of Poirot’s early career still to explore.
In other What’s in a Name news, having looked over my non-Christie-Listie I’ve found that some of my original choices are not yet available at my library, or in Australia generally, and are too pricey for my liking at my book buying place of choice. For that reason, if anyone has any alternate suggestions for me for books in categories one (up or down), five (emotion), or six (lost or found), they would be seriously considered.
Until next time,