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The Monogram Murders

There is a new Hercule Poirot murder mystery story just published. The literary estate of Agatha Christie has finally given in to the lures of a follow-on, and commissioned Sophie Hannah to write a new book in the style of Agatha Christie. I thoroughly enjoy a classic Christie murder mystery, and I think I must have read all of her books over the past thirty-odd years.

This was an occasion when I clearly saw both the benefits and the perils of having an iPad with the Kindle app installed, and a linked account on Amazon. Within less than a minute of reading a positive review of The Monogram Murders in my Saturday newspaper, I’d found it on-line, ordered it, downloaded it, and started reading! It’s no wonder that the independent bookshop in Malvern was driven out of business, but there is no way to compete with that level of convenience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The story was gripping, well-written, and very much in the style of Christie herself. Poirot was as conceited and infuriating as ever, and drove his long-suffering sidekick to distraction as he usually does. It was a new sidekick this time though – instead of Captain Hastings or Inspector Japp, we were introduced to Inspector Catchpool of Scotland Yard who narrated the story.

The plot had enough twists in it to be satisfying, and I only spotted some of them coming. I think I shall have to read the denouement chapter again, slowly, as revelation succeeded revelation thick and fast, and I want to check again for loose ends. I don’t think I’ll find any though – the author clearly knows her stuff.

Overall, I’d say this is a good addition to the Christie canon. Not a masterpiece like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but not a thin pastiche either. Should Hannah be commissioned to write more Poirot novels, I would certainly consider buying them.