Tuesday, 11 May 2021

3 Christies, 3ish Weeks... What Was I Thinking?!

While in the mist of my Easter Break, I went down a bit of rabbit hole with audiobooks and going "Sod it! Let me do my weird thing" and Audible decide to do a huge sale on all their audiobooks (I become a member again. No idea why. Oh yes, the offer of three months for 99p per month.) And, like the basic so&so, I love a good sale. And, finally, I decide to get those Agatha Christie's I've had my eye on: Cards on the Table. And then, a few days later, The Hollow and after a day of listening to The Hollow, Five Little Pigs. 

This is the order I bought them and listened to them, but if you are a Christie fan, all of these are Poirot investigations. Cards on the Table is his 15th outing, Five Little Pigs (or Murder is Retrospect, depending where you live in the world) is Poirot's 25th and The Hollow (or Murder After Hours, again depending where you live in the world) is the 26th instalment. 

So, yes, am listening to them in the wrong order and yes, I got a little sick of Christie last year so had to quit her for a while. I had plan to read other crime authors from the Golden Age of Crime (Dorothy L Sayers's Whose Body, Joesphine Tey's Daughter of Time and Ngaio Marsh's A Man Lay Dead to name a few) and some newer authors (PD James and Ruth Rendell among others), but Christie is the Queen of Crime and when these title are under a fiver, how was I to refuse?

Ok, going to be keep of each of these and I don't want this post to be too long. 

Cards on the Table is a locked-room mystery: four guests at a party play the card game Bridge while the host is in chair by the fire. No one enters or leave the room, but by the end of the night, the host has been stabbed and one of the four did it. The host, before he was murdered, believed these four had killed once before and got away with it. But who among the four has just killed again, and will they get away with it? 

The Hollow is a different animal. Poirot is invited to lunch with his holiday home neighbours in the country. When he turns up, he discovers a man dying by the side of the pool, his wife standing over him. He was shot and the wife is holding the gun. The wife claims she picked the gun ups without thinking when she discovered her dying husband. Is she telling the truth or did she pull the trigger? 

And Five Little Pigs is, again, completely different. Poirot is visited in his London flat by a young woman. She is going to be married soon, but she wants Poirot is look into her past. Sixteen years ago, when she was a child, her father was poisoned and her mother was arrested and sent to jail for it. But the now grown-up daughter isn't so such. She believes her mother is innocent and asked Poirot to investigate. If it wasn't her mother who killed her father, one of their five house guest poisoned him and let an innocent woman go to jail...Out of the three, Cards on the Table was the one I was the most excited over. It's a locked room mystery with four suspects and four detectives to solve the mystery stabbing. And for the first half of the story, I was there. I was on board. This is right up my street. And yet, the second half... the second half lost it for me. It felt, after a certain chapter, the book went off the rails and then, it was all rushed. I was really let down by the ending, and the more I thought about it over the next few days after finishing, the more disappointed I felt. Probably because I have been intrigued to read this for years and it didn't live up to my expectations. 

Now, The Hollow. And this is one I enjoyed hugely. Which is surprising as, in theory, this shouldn't work for me. The murder doesn't happen for a good 35-40% so this is very much character building and character driven. And the murder never felt like the forcal of this book, it was very much character driven and the murder felt like a subplot. I mean, I guessed the truth of who the murderer was very quickly, but the mystery wasn't;t the thing driving this. It was the character and the quirky, deliciousness of them. I see why this title is usually in most fans's Top Ten. 

And finally, Five Little Pigs. I'm going to be honest: I was in two minds when I bought this, I know this is one of the Big Titles Christie fans love. It's usually this, And Then There Were None (a masterpiece. I must reread this soon!) and The Murder of Roger Ackroydd (another I Must reread soon title) as well as a few others. Because people hold this one with such high regards, I was a bit unsure if I would get it or enjoy it. And while I get why people love this book, I'm not 100% if I did. I audiobooked this over a course of three days, but I did find it a struggle (plus, it's rare I do the same author back-to-back-to-back so maybe I was having a little Christie fatigue). I felt like I had my footing when Poirot started talking to his "Five Little Pigs" (what is it with Agatha Christie and nursery rhymes?) and, even then, it felt a little dry and lacking in emotion. 

I do think I will try and reread/readuiobook Five Little Pigs and make myself go a little slower with my reread. Same with The Hollow, as I did enjoy that. No to me rereading/audiobooking Cards on the Table. It didn't really work for me (some Agatha Christie novels I get on with really well and others I don't. I went through several of these last year and was annoyed with self over picking "Lesser" Christies). 

I do have two Christie's on my kindle - Crooked House (another Big Title of Christie) and Pale Horse (I know The BBC adapted a few years back but know very little/nothing about this) and I hope to read a few books from Golden Age of Crime era so, hopefully, this will be a nice gateway in for me. 

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