Am back with another review for my BCCC! This time I have gone with an old classic Agatha Christie. Long ago and am pretty sure almost a decade now, I had brought a Hercules Poirot omnibus titled The French Collection but never got around to reading it. I just couldn’t get past the language then. This time too it was a distraction but I decided to read it as part of my challenge.
Here’s the plot:
A millionaire, Paul Renauld, has been murdered and his body is found in an open grave. Just before his murder, he wrote a distress letter to Poirot calling for help. Unfortunately just as Poirot arrived, the man is declared dead. At first the case seems straightforward but the closer Poirot looks the more devious it seems.
I must admit that I have no idea who Captain Hastings is, who is the narrator of this book other than him been a good friend of Poirot and is unnecessarily giving his Point of view. It definitely put me off from reading this book as it wasn’t a third person point of view but of a character I don’t think is relevant to the story. The next part I wasn’t fond of was the language. It was also dated in it’s mind set which is to be expected but was still in bad taste. A lot many times Poirot gives the assumption he has solved the case but never reveals the full facts till the end. Captain Hastings proved more than once he isn’t the right person to be hanging around crime scenes which themselves were been butchered by bad decisions. Suspects are questioned without lawyers present and allegations made casually. Strangers are shown around the crime scene which itself should have been closed off. The character Detective Giraud was probably for a comic effect but was irrelevant. The police themselves seemed like a joke.
This is the second book in Poirot series with just 171 pages and perhaps that reflects in the authors writing as he is not fully fledged yet you can see the potential he has. The crime itself was interesting and was the sole reason the book was good. The ending though not shocking came full square.
Pros: plot, hercule poirot
Cons: Characterisation, setting, language
Bibliogyan verdict: A short read for Christie and Poirot fans.