March 19, 2015

Agatha Christie's Poirot... Born Again!

I grew up on Agatha Christie mysteries, those archetypal proper British whodunit's set in pre-war country estates and upscale houses; shortly after I graduated from Encyclopedia Brown and The Hardy Boys, my grandfather introduced me to the Agatha Christie mysteries and they became my favourites. 

Christie, who died in 1976 at age 85, is the world's best selling author having sold more than two billion copies in more than a hundred countries (holy crap, that's a lot).

While we've seen many relaunches of novels and book series, from Sherlock Holmes to James Bond to Gone With The Wind, the heirs of Agatha Christie never allowed anyone to touch her detective Hercule Poirot... until late last year.

The new bestseller The Monogram Mysteries, by Sophie Hannah, is the first new Hercule Poirot book since Christie's finale Curtain was published in 1976. And it was worth the wait.

Monogram begins with a grisly triple murder in 1929 London, where three corpses are found in three different rooms, each with a monogrammed cufflink in their mouth. Hannah's Poirot does all the right Christie-ish things, working with and working around the police to discover what really happened.

The book has the intricacy if maybe not the brevity of vintage Christie. On its own this is a sparkling mystery, and any non-Christie-esque voice is explained by a new narrator as Poirot's new sidekick.

Even if you haven't read earlier Poirot novels, give this one a shot... I'm already looking forward to the next one, and am going to check out other novels by Hannah...