'I'm a dead woman, or I shall be soon...'
Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified - but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one's mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...
Eric B. says:
"For lovers of murder mysteries, there is hardly a greater name than Agatha Christie and few greater characters than Hercule Poirot. Sadly, once one has read all of the great mistress of mayhem’s works, the only recourse is to reread them, which is not so bad after all, but occasionally a 'new' tale appears and it is always greeted with skepticism by true devotees. Often modern re-imaginings of a beloved author’s creations are disappointing and sometimes even repulsive. This is NOT the case here.
Sophie Hannah, who is in her own right a master of the mystery/thriller genre had taken the feisty Belgian in hand and produced a masterpiece worthy of the original. In fact, the impression left with the reader is one of a not only a fully-voiced (and fleshed) portrayal of Poirot but of a story with a certain darkness that Dame Agatha herself never quite achieved. It will come as no surprise to her readers that the author has imbued the story with an underlying sense of dread and a satisfying ratcheting up of tension, one of her hallmarks. She’s one of the modern adepts where nailbiters are concerned.
This time, the dapper mustachioed sleuth is accompanied by a somewhat callow Scotland Yard detective named Catchpool with whom our dear Hercule lodges, at least on a temporary basis. Three bodies are discovered in a posh London hotel all poisoned and laid out as if for funerary services. At the same time, a distressed young woman bursts into the small café in which Poirot is having dinner and declares that she will be murdered soon, but does not wish the murderer to be prosecuted, since she deserves what is clearly, in her mind, coming to her. Of course our hero cannot abide this notion, and the chase is on. What ensues is a mind-bending mystery of a complexity that would make Dorothy Sayers proud. As our Belgian friend navigates the murky waters, followed by an often dismayed companion (shades of Hastings), pieces of the history and psychology of these baffling crimes emerges, but are only clear to one person: Hercule Poirot.
I guarantee you will like this one if you love the classic British murder mysteries. I hope you will agree with me that the use of Agatha Christie’s famous detective is not inappropriate and is, in fact, an homage to her legacy."