I am a die-hard Agatha Christie fan. I love her books and have read each one of her books – especially those featuring Poirot and Marple. A confession – I do not view the current trend of resurrecting and recreating literary figures favourably. I avoid reading such books simply not to spoil the original world of words created in my mind . So my reaction to the news last year that the Christie estate had commissioned the resurrection of Poirot was conflicted. Intrigued more because it had the “official” sanction, I decided to approach this with a bit more of an open mind than usual. I finished reading The Monogram Murders yesterday and my fears were unfounded!
The novel begins with a familiar known setting – a cafe and Poirot setting things in order (the cutlery on the table here). Poirot is as OCD’ish as ever; sharp, eccentric and funny. The first chapter has Poirot meeting a strange frightened lady who is evidently in some danger and Poirot’s curiosity is incited. The grey cells though retired are working! The second chapter has us meet our narrator, a The scene then shifts to the lodgings where Poirot is residing at the moment and we are introduced to a new character, the narrator, a young policeman working for Scotland Yard – Edward Catchpool. He works with Poirot to solve the case. Psychological crime thrillers is the genre that Hannah has made a name in. I have read a couple of her thrilling works in the past and was apprehensive as to whether she would be able to pull off a “simple” Poirot novel. But yes she does! She also puts her skills to good use in the Edward Catchpool backstory. I found Catchpool more likeable than Captain Hastings. Mainly because Sophie Hannah gives this character more emotional depth and a backstory and what I really enjoyed was the bit of baggage thanks to an unpleasant childhood memory that Catchpool carries. This doesnt intervene a bit in the rest of the novel in which Poirot is as we remember him – eccentric, OCD and the possessor of those clever grey cells. Hannah certainly had fun writing it and that passes down to the reader as well. I guess a more critical look at the novel again will reveal all the lil flaws that reminds one that it is a homage and not a Christie original but I am not going to embark on that. I enjoyed reading Hannah’s tribute to Christie’s Poirot. It is good to have him back!