Peril at End House by Agatha Christie. Audiobook narrated by Hugh Fraser.
Opening sentence: “No seaside town in the south of England is, I think, as attractive as St. Loo.”
As with all Christie novels, there is always a hook, a twist, an unexpected element that makes it stand out from your average murder mystery tale. And here it is for Peril at End House: “To detect a crime before it has been committed, that is a rare difficulty.” Yes, Monsieur Poirot has to put his little grey cells to exceptional use in this story and track down a murderer BEFORE they actually kill their intended victim, a Miss Magdala (known as ‘Nick’) Buckley.
Published in 1932 and the sixth in the Hercule Poirot series, Poirot finds himself holidaying on the south coast of England, in Cornwall, with his good friend and partner in crime, Captain Hastings. They are enjoying afternoon drinks on their hotel terrace and meet an enigmatic young woman – Nick Buckley. She lives at End House, a grand old property she has inherited. She throws parties there and has a buzzing social circle, but is one of her acquaintances not all they seem? The thing is, she has had several attempts on her life, and it’s up to Poirot to ensure there isn’t another one. He not only has to track down just who it is trying to kill Nick, but figure out their motive too. An impossible task you might think – and for the average person, yes – but for Monsieur Poirot? Well, he’s not known as the world’s greatest detective for nothing… (Or is Sherlock Homes known as the world’s greatest detective? Either way, they’re both pretty good.)
Maybe it’s because I’ve started my Agatha Christie run on some of her greats (And Then There Were None and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) that this – although still very clever and entertaining – didn’t quite hit the 5/5 mark for me, I mean, it’s still a 4/5, a cracking read, but the deduction of this case – a very important part of any murder mystery – didn’t have quite as much intrigue as previous Christies I’ve read. Not that that’s put me off in any way – onto the next Christie! Let me know if you have any recommendations of what it should be!