What’s In A Name Challenge: Curtain…

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poirot 3

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

curtain

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.

Moustache-Twiddlage:  starswhite1-md

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.

Red Herring Haul: starswhite4-th

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.

Butlerosity: starswhite4-th

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.

Common-or-Garden-ness: starswhite5-md

The entire cast is made up of Christie favourites…

.”Returned from service in India, you say?”

“Why, yes. Quite.”

Contextual Controversy: starswhite1-md

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!

Overall:

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,

Bruce

What’s in a Name Challenge: Death in the Clouds…

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poirot moustache cat

 

Obstacle number four….possibly five….I forget…in the What’s in a Name Reading Challenge – Agatha Christie’s Death in the Clouds (cue ominous music).

Taken from: the Christie Listie

Category: One – A book with up or down (or the equivalent) in the title

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Christie Listie review, so in case you had forgotten, I am basing my reviews for this list on five main criteria:

Rate of Moustache-Twiddlage (for Poirot novels) or Stitch-Droppage (for Marple novels): This refers to the expected 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: which refers to 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

death in the cloudsAn ordinary group of air travellers are stunned to find a murder has been committed in their midst during their flight. Police are even more stunned to find out that apparently nobody witnessed what they assume to be a very visible and attention-catching mode of dispatching a victim.  Luckily the famous Hercule Poirot happens to be one of the passengers on the flight of death and fiscal misfortune (as I like to think of it)….let the shenanigans commence!

Moustache-Twiddlage: starswhite5-md 

I was thoroughly gripped throughout, and inevitably thought I had the killer figured out well before the reveal.  Even more inevitably, I was wrong….although not far off.  Part of the fun of this one was the fact that I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, and was therefore quite content with any of them turning out to be a devious, cold-blooded murderer.

Red Herring Haul: starswhite4-th

From annoying buzzing insects to isolated South American tribesfolk, this book has a veritable trawler-load of mis-clues to keep you guessing.

Butlerosity: starswhite4-th

The reveal to this one was very….revealing….   If you are able to predict who the killer/s is/are in this one prior to the reveal, then I honour you as a certified Christie genius.  Honestly, it was almost impossible to deduce the circumstances surrounding  this death, which could be highly satisfying or endlessly annoying depending on your viewpoint.

Common-or-Garden-ness:      starswhite3-md

While there is a fairly predictable cast of characters, there is no retired colonel, which was a bit of a disappointment for me.  Thankfully, this was made up for with the inclusion of a fantastically caricatured crime writer and at least one person pretending to be someone else.

Contextual Controversy: starswhite1-md

Very low. A few passing references to the shadiness of foreigners.

The Plot in a Poem:

Ingesting some dodgy airline curries

turned out to be the least of their worries.

Overall:

A thoroughly enjoyable romp and some of Poirot’s finest cogitations. Although not having read an awful lot of Poirot novels, please be advised that I may not be fully  qualified to pronounce on Poirot’s cogitations with any great certainty.

Until next time dear readers,

Bruce