Women s history month is fast approaching, and I could not resist to start my annual reading women authors in March a few days early Between denser reads I enjoy reading mysteries as a palette cleanser This keeps my brain sharp and keeps me from falling into a reading rut I find almost no better way to honor women s history month than to read the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie Nearly every mystery writer of today can trace their influences back to Dame Christie, and each of her cases adds a new layer of intrigue I have enjoyed cases featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot for years and decided to fill in the gaps with Murder on the Links, an earlier case of Poirot s I previously overlooked Fresh of his case at Styles, Poirot and his assistant Captain Hastings are summoned to Merlinville, France, a seaside town, by Monsieur Renauld as he fears that his life is in danger By the time he arrives at Renauld s Villa Genevieve, he has been murdered Rather than protecting his client, Poirot assists in investigating his murder Even in his earlier cases, younger detectives refer to Poirot as a fossil, a has been whose methods are antiquated In this case, we meet local detective Giraud, a go get them type who claims to know whodunit, how, and why from the get go Giraud exhibits charisma and pizazz as a modern detective, leading Hastings to question his mentor s methodology A retired Belgian detective who runs a private investigator firm in London, Poirot often appears lost in thought, yet his little gray cells are hard at work throughout the duration of a case in order to bring the true criminal to justice At first glance, it appears that Monsieur Renauld s son Jack murdered his father over anger of being cut out of his will Should both parents somehow die, he would stand to inherit a vast fortune Two women have fallen for Jack, and it is unclear at first whether either of these women are in love with Jack or with his money Poirot figures it out immediately and has to piece together clues Giraud on the other hand sees things in black and white and leads Captain Hastings down a trail of false clues Complicating the matter is that Hastings has also fallen in love with a pretty young girl who calls herself Cinderella Poirot warns his protege of falling in love for the wrong reasons as the presence of a woman who cloud his judgement of a case, a judgement that is already fuzzy due to the presence of pseudo detective Giraud As a result, Poirot and Hastings are at odds for most of this case as Poirot races to solve it before the French convict the wrong person As with many of her cases, Christie leads readers down a multi layered trail that evolves as Poirot cracks the case Here, the murder occurs on a golf course in what Poirot calls a bunk air , yet golf links has a double entendre, linking the Renauld case to one that occurred twenty years in the past No one is who they seem to everyone except Poirot as he has been solving crime for decades and has a lifetime of detecting experience to compare to his current employment Hastings lack of use of his little gray cells is apparent throughout as Poirot urges him to think things through rather than to leap to the first conclusion that comes to him As this is the first mention of Hastings in the Poirot series, it is clear that Christie has meant for be an able sidekick however, he is the type to solve things by accident, allowing for Poirot to do the serious detecting Even from these earliest of cases, Christie reveals that Poirot does not overlook even the minutest of details as he sees the case to its conclusion In his words, a clue of two inches is just as important as one of two feet, putting the framework in place for Poirot to be known as one of the greatest detectives in literary history It is hard to believe that Agatha Christie published her earliest cases nearly one hundred years ago Her first cases were written in the early 1920s and have stood the test of time as Hercule Poirot and his mustache have endured as among the most recognizable literary profiles I did utilize my little gray cells and avoid a reading rut as I read along to discover whodunit It is always fun to read an Agatha Christie murder mystery, and it is far from my last journey with her As such, women s history month has commenced and I am excited for the reading adventures the month has in store for me 4 stars An Urgent Cry For Help Brings Poirot To France But He Arrives Too Late To Save His Client, Whose Brutally Stabbed Body Now Lies Face Downwards In A Shallow Grave On A Golf Course But Why Is The Dead Man Wearing An Overcoat That Is Too Big For Him And Who Was The Impassioned Love Letter In The Pocket For Before Poirot Can Answer These Questions, The Case Is Turned Upside Down By The Discovery Of A Second, Identically Murdered Corpse It s early days for Poirot, who I love A fun murder mystery full of twists and turns that only he can solve. This plot is so complicated that I lost count of the number of times I lost count of its coups de th tre So layered At one point, when a first second Told you I lost count solution is offered, Poirot says, This is not a crime well ordered and regular, such as a detective delights in ah, indeed, what order or method is there in that and I pretty much agreed with him I was appalled I disliked that solution so much, it made so little sense, that I thought it was the worst of all of Christie s novel I had ever read and believe me, they are quite a lot But then another solution came up, et voilI fell in love again On top of that, I fell in love again in spite of all the sentimentalism the whole story is seasoned with It may be tough to deal with at times, but I promise it will be worth the effortTake it from Papa Poirot PS Hastings needs to disappear now He is such a moron I can t even I find so much easier to enjoy the novels where he is simply a minor character rather than the sole narrator and, between you and me, if you haven t read Poirot yet and you re trying to choose where to begin, my suggestion is to start from a novel of the former type coughMurder on the Orient Expresscough cough. Hercule Poirot was bored complaining about modern criminals not able to commit a crime to make his famous grey cells work At this moment he received a letter from a South American millionaire living in France stating that his life was in danger and beseeching Poirot to come to the rescue Poirot felt something out of the ordinary was going on and decided to go to France accompanied by his clueless sidekick Captain Hastings Upon arrival they realized that they were late as the body of the millionaire stabbed in black with a knife was found on the links see the title Thus began a typical Agatha Christie mystery full of twists, complications, and clues that could not be put together Poirot was busy trying to make heads and tails while Hastings was equally busy being melodramatic, stupid, and falling in love with all the pretty girls they came across This book was my first time I read Agatha Christie mystery obviously it was also my first time I met Poirot For my it came as a revelation that is was possible to write an insanely complicated puzzle while keeping all the clues in the open for readers to try to follow Poirot reasoning I stumbled upon it in the worst possible time I was preparing for an important final exam As a result I almost failed it there could be no way I did any studying until I discover whodunit Needless to say I instantly set Agatha Christie at the top of the best mystery writers ever and she still occupies this spot many years later She wrote some stinkers, but at her best she was practically unrivaled Before I started my reread I thought I would give the book five stars, but I had to give four The biggest problem for me was Hastings To put is in simple terms, the guy is imbecile Luckily he is absent from the most books of the series Some minor annoyances added up as well Still the mystery is top notch and in case you have any interest at all in mysteries, of just tough puzzles you owe it to yourself to read it, especially now that the book is out of copyright and it along with the first Poirot story can be downloaded for free from places like Project Gutenberg P.S I keep using images of David Suchet playing Poirot because I think his performance was brilliant. The Murder on the Links A RetrospectiveIt was almost fifty years ago I read my first Agatha Christie novel I was fourteen I bought it at a middle school book fair It was an Hercule Poirot mystery, The Big Four, a Dell paperback that sold for.45 A bargain at the price My First Poirot Through the coming years I read all of the Poirot novels A few of the Miss Marples Miss Marple just didn t grab me as Poirot and his friend Hastings did As far as Tommy and Tuppence, well, I could do without them The stand alones did nothing for me, other than And Then There Were None, The Mousetrap A Play, and The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories which I considered an absolute masterpiece Christie first wrote this as a short story, then the play, which became the blockbuster movie In retrospect, I probably didn t get all of the nuances of Dame Christie s work at age fourteen Poirot s use of French phrases drove me to distraction Of course, in 1965, there was no thing as Google Translate However, I doggedly followed Poirot s cases, understanding and as I grew a little older and a little wiser.I had a pleasant surprise yesterday Walking into a chain bookstore in Papamoa, New Zealand, I perused the bargain table and found a stack of Harper Collins 125th Anniversary Reprints of Hercule Poirot novels Among them was The Murder on the Links published in 2015 With a price tag of Three for 25 NZ , the lure to recapture a bit of my youth was too much to refuse I bought all the early Poirots, leaving those written after the 1950s on the table.Within a day I devoured The Murder on the Links In reading it so many years after I had first encountered it I found I still possessed the same love for the curious little man originally driven from his native Belgium by the Great War And, once again I was drawn to Poirot s relationship with Hastings, Captain Hastings, invalided out of the war after the Battle of the Somme.Theirs is a friendship based on true regard for one another There is also a paternalistic attitude Poirot has toward the much younger Hastings It is not unusual that in the course of events Poirot tells Hastings to Trust Papa Poirot You gotta love it.Then there is the undeniable comparison of Poirot and Hastings to Holmes and Watson although Poirot and Holmes are detectives of decidedly different natures Alas, Hastings possesses Watson s same inability to ever stay even with his companion when the game is afoot.Hastings describes Poirot An extraordinary little man Height five feet four inches, egg shaped head carried a little to one side, eyes that shone green when he was excited, stiff military moustache Air of dignity immense He was neat and dandified in appearance For neatness of any kind he had a passion. Of Poirot s method, Hastings tell us this He had a certain disdain for tangible evidence such as footprints and cigarette ash, and would maintain, by themselves, they would never enable a detective to solve a crime Then he would tap his egg shaped head with absurd complacency, and remark with great satisfaction The true work, it is done from within The little grey cells remember always the little grey cells, mon ami. Originally published in 1923, this is the second appearance of Poirot in novel form Dame Christie introduced him in The Mysterious Affair at Styles published in 1920 to great success In this novel Poirot is summoned to France at the urgent request of Monsieur P.T Reynaud However, Poirot and Hastings arrive too late, finding that Reynaud has been murdered, stabbed in the back and turned into a shallow grave on golfing links under construction Mrs Reynaud tells of having been bound hand and foot by two heavily bearded foreigners wearing masks.The case is further complicated when a second body is found on the Reynaud estate Another man has been murdered apparently with the same weapon which killed Reynaud.Poirot must match wits with Chief Inspector Giraud of Le Surete, an investigator of the new breed, for whom only physical evidence holds the solution to any crime Giraud, arrogant and rude, calls Poirot an Old Fossil, provoking the traditional investigator to wager he will solve the case before Giraud.The stakes are high An innocent man could be sentenced to death by the guilliotine It is only a very small spoiler to say that Poirot wins his bet with Giraud The innocent man is saved.The Murder on the Links illustrates the rules of constructing a mystery which Dame Christie followed The Detection Club was founded in 1930, Christie being a founding member The club s ethics were created for the purpose of giving the reader a reasonable chance of solving the mystery Those ethics include the following 1 The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.2 All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.3 Not than one secret room or passage is allowable.4 No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.5 No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.6 The detective himself must not commit the crime.7 The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.8 The sidekick of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.9 Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.10 No Chinaman must appear in any story Yes, at one time, the inscrutable Chinaman was a handy villain in poorly written mystery stories Agatha Christie served as President of the Detection Club from 1957 1976 She never wavered from the rulesThe little grey cells Remember always the little grey cells, mon ami Dame Agatha Christie during the early cases of Hercule PoirotSo with many years of living behind me than when I first held an Hercule Poirot in my trembling hands, I have returned to the Golden Age of Mystery Writing It s good to be back I ve obtained the newly revised copy of The Mysterious Affair at Styles Ah, the first Poirot It s been a very long time Indeed. Twisty, turny, complex and convolutedChristie nails it again Side Note In August last year, I reached a personal milestone of 1,000 books read so far in this decade with the first of Agatha Christie s Hercule Poirot series, The Mysterious Affair at Styles With this second novel in the Hercule Poirot series, I have reached another personal milestone 1,000 eBook reads on my eReader One thing I can already see since I bought my first eReader, I have definitely been reading books than ever before and that is definitely a good thing PS my reading decades are tracked differently than most people track decades I start with the zero year and end with the nine year in other words, for my reading purposes, this decade started for me in January 2010 and ends at the end of December this year, 2019 Captain Arthur Hastings chronicles this second novel in Agatha Christie s Hercule Poirot series, just as he did in the first one Poirot receives an urgent letter from a very wealthy man who says he is in fear of his life and desperately requires Poirot s assistance When Poirot and Hastings arrive, they are met with the news that the man was murdered in the bunkair as Poirot calls it that was being built on a golf course under construction.Of course, in real golf, landing one s golf ball in a bunker filled with sand and a bank along one edge is definitely not a good thing as they are notoriously difficult to chip one s way out of In this case, landing in the bunkair due to a stab in the back is, of course, far worse.The plot in this novel rivals any that can be found in modern mystery writing In fact, it not only rivals them, but in the majority of cases supersedes them substantially It has been many years since I read some of Agatha Christie s novels, and to be honest I don t think I would recognize the ones I previously read after so many years have passed of life, experience, and reading.Ms Christie s characters may not be as strong, yet that is out of necessity In each book, several characters have to be admitted to set the stage, disassemble it, re set it, and so forth It wouldn t even be responsible of her as a writer to dramatize the characters beyond the extent that she does because I can t imagine anything worse as a reader than to find a character I was really attached to turn into a criminal.However, we have Hercule Poirot He may be tiny with big flowing mustaches and an obsession with adjusting the position of various objects that look out of alignment to him Still, if he is not physically the ultimate hero to warm up to, his brain and how it works to solve the unsolvable is a huge attraction And, we have Captain Arthur Hastings young, dashing, and not nearly as swift to hone in on clues that his friend sees in seconds, he is still endearing in his efforts to keep up to the electrically charged Poirot.Although I have not been able to insert into my reading schedule as many Agatha Christie novels as I would like to, there are definitely upcoming during the latter part of this year I am so much looking forward to my further adventures with the incorrigible and daunting team of Poirot and Hastings. The Murder on the Links, Agatha Christie The Murder on the Links is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by The Bodley Head in May 1923, and in the US by Dodd, Mead Co in the same year It features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings The story takes place in northern France, giving Poirot a hostile competitor from the Paris S ret Poirot s long memory for past or similar crimes proves useful in resolving the crimes Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings travel to Merlinville sur Mer, France, to meet with Paul Renauld, who has requested their help Upon arriving at his home, the Villa Genevieve, local police greet them with news that he had been found dead that morning Renauld had been stabbed in the back with a letter opener and left in a newly dug grave adjacent to a local golf course His wife, Eloise Renauld, claims masked men broke into the villa at 2 am, tied her up, and took her husband away with them Upon inspecting his body, Eloise collapses with grief at seeing her dead husband Monsieur Giraud of the S ret leads the police investigation, and resents Poirot s involvement Monsieur Hautet, the Examining Magistrate, is open to sharing key information with him 1996 1375 280 20 1375 263 9649006508 1388 269 1392 9789643634735 1389 351 9789649915470.
Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name
- 312 pages
- The Murder on the Links
- Agatha Christie
- 09 July 2018 Agatha Christie