Hercule Poirot's Christmas (by Agatha Christie)

It seems odd that in all my forty-plus years, where I read a wide variety of books, I had never actually read anything by Agatha Christie. Not for lack of availability - my parents' house contained a large collection of her works. Just, I suppose, that they didn't look very interesting. All those old puffins with bizarre still-life pictures on the front...

However my older son started reading some of her books, and then asked for some more as gifts. He received some new editions, that looked much more inviting than the old style versions. And he said he thought I would particuarly like 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas'.

He was correct.

The story starts when the elderly and autocratic Simeon Lee has summoned his family for Christmas. Then there's a rather unpleasant murder, although thankfully Agatha Christie doesn't elaborate on the details too much.

Hercule Poirot, her best-known detective, comes on the scene and assists the local police in questioning the entire household. One by one, the suspects are examined, until it seems as if any of them could have committed the crime. At last Poirot unmasks the villain, and all the clues fall into place.

I thought the plot was very clever, and while the characterisation wasn't exactly very deep, and there was rather a lot of repetitive conversation, it was basically well-written and enjoyable.

It certainly inspired me to try some more Agatha Christie, having finally got started. Recommended.

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