29/03/2006

Death on the Nile

This is one of many Agatha Christie novels which I had not previously read. It's quite long - over 400 pages, although fairly wide-spaced - but I was so gripped by the time I was about a third of the way through that I read it in just two days.

I'm not really a fan of thrillers, but from time to time I do enjoy this style of crime fiction, with a good mystery to puzzle out, and almost no gore. This particular novel revolves around several people, in particular the beautiful and wealthy Linnet, her friend Jackie, and Jackie's fiancé Simon. The blurb on the back of the book, disappointingly told me what would happen in the first part of the book and who would be murdered. However this wasn't too much of a spoiler - there were no surprises early on, just a large cast to be introduced. Knowing who the main characters were was a bonus rather thana problem.

Most of the book takes place on a cruise along the Nile, so there's a bit of local colour as well as a clearly defined set of possible suspects. Once the murder happens, action is rapid and very well-organised. Hercule Poirot just happens to be on the cruise, and naturally he solves the puzzle. But despite several clues, mentioned by Poirot more than once, I had no idea 'whodunnit' until he had explained.

The characterisations are a little flat - not surprising with the number of minor characters, but I felt even the main ones were rather caricatured. However this style of book revolves around the plot rather than the people, and as such it was excellent. Recommended.

No comments: