Murder After Hours by Agatha Christie

(Hercule Poirot, #25)

Lady Angkatell, intrigued by the criminal mind, has invited Hercule Poirot to her estate for a weekend house party. The Belgian detective's arrival at the Hollow is met with an elaborate tableau staged for his amusement: a doctor lies in a puddle of red paint, his timid wife stands over his body with a gun while the other guests look suitably shocked. But this is no charade. The paint is blood and the corpse real!

Christie described this novel as the one "I had ruined by the introduction of Poirot." It was first published in 1946 in London. In the USA it was published under the title Murder after Hours. Christie adapted the novel for the stage though with the omission of Hercule Poirot

This one holds an almost dreamy ambience, especially at the end. It reminds me of Death in the Nile with that rare quality. It's true that it DID take longer than usual to get to the actual death, but it's an unusual Christie story anyway. She delves into the personal aspects of the characters lives, something she rarely does, even to the degree where the details became irrelevant to the mystery at hand.

You might think this would be distracting, bad writing; instead, it was a refreshing change. One would never accuse Christie of writing cardboard characters, but she usually doesn't delve too deeply into personal tidbits that aren't part of the tale. Because of her doing this, I fell more for the people. I also loved the humor with the Lady of the house and how everyone related to her, including the poor detective.

Like I said, it takes awhile for any death to happen, almost 90 pages! Hercule Poirots intro into the scene is an amusing one too. That poor detective, he can never go anywhere. I suppose waiting till almost 1/3 of the novel was done was Christie's way of providing deep build-up of all the players in the game and motives they hold. You're not even sure who will be the dead body, although you know there MUST be one. The person who bit the big one didn't surprise me, as Christie didn't paint him as especially likeable some of the time.

The culprit surprised me, even though I had no firm suspicions. One of Christies best works, I think, and now a favorite of mine. Originally this book was called The Hollows, but was republished under this title as were many of Christies works.  The covers brilliant too, haunting and a bit creepy, as can be summarized in the story as well.

   Book Quotes:

“Where am I myself, the whole man, the true man? Where am I with God’s mark upon my brow?”

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