And I had an itch to read one. So, imagine my surprise after attempting to read the prologue of Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night that I powered through, even though my brain was going “You should save this for Christmas…” and “You didn’t like the previous outings with Sophie Hannah’s take on Poirot. Why would this time be any different?”
Title and Author: Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah
Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by UK publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
Buy From (Affiliate): uk.bookshop.org
It’s 19th December, and both Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are planning their Christmas together, when a woman bursts in and begs for their help. This turns out to be Inspector Catchpool’s mother and she insists Poirot and Catchpool come to a Norfolk mansion to solve a murder and prevent another. In the safe haven of a hospital, a well liked man was murdered - hit over the head with a heavy vase - and soon, Arnold Laurier will be going to the same hospital (to the private room next to the murder scene) and his wife is convinced he will be murdered too, though she can’t explain why.
Against both their wishes, Poirot and Catchpool go and, if they want to be home by Christmas, they will need to get their little grey cells working quickly to catch the killer and maybe prevent a second murder.
Like I said at the start of this post, I have read two other novels in the New Hercule Poirot series written by Sophie Hannah - The Mystery of the Three Quarters and The Killings at Kingfisher Hill - and while I did like them, I wasn’t exactly on board either stories. I found The Mystery of the Three Quarters trying too hard to be smart and being overly complex (though I did like the first half of the book) and the Killings at Kingfisher Hill, while better, again was trying too hard. Only this time, it was trying too hard to be an Agatha Christie story.
But I found myself really enjoying myself with Silent Night. It reminded me so much of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (which I will be reading/audiobooking over the Christmas period, me thinks). We have an awful family (especially to each other), a really depressing Christmas, a murder with a close-circle of suspect, a surprising amount of dark humour and Poirot stuck in the middle of a case he doesn’t really want to be involved in, with people he doesn’t want to be with in a place he doesn’t want to be in.
You would think that, after the events with the Lee family, he would be avoid working a case so close to Christmas.
I think one of the reasons I found myself enjoying this so is Catchpool’s growth as a character over the past few outings I have with him (he’s grown as a detective and, while not an equal to Poirot, he’s not as hapless as the lovely Hastings. Catchpool can hold his own and isn’t afraid to push back with Poirot over his thinkings). Plus, Catchpool’s relationship with his mother was a surprising treat. It’s exasperation and yet, surprisingly funny - these two rubbing each other the wrong way help lift the book, otherwise the story would have been quite dry.
And while the case and resolution is quite smart, I’m not totally convinced over one or two elements of it, but I feel more satisfied with this compared to my previous outings with new Poirot.
But yes, I did like this outing with Poirot and I think it will scratch that itch for those who want a Christmas murder.