Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

Death in the Clouds, first published in 1935, is one of Agatha Christie’s many novels featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Ten people are travelling on a plane flying from Paris to London. During the flight a woman is found dead in her seat – apparently a murder has taken place without anyone seeing it happen. Among the other passengers is Poirot, who can’t believe a crime has taken place right under his nose! The mystery proves a difficult one to solve and after landing in England the suspects are allowed to go back to their everyday lives. As Poirot continues to investigate, he uncovers some secrets about the murdered woman and discovers that more than one of her fellow passengers had a reason to want her dead…

Like many classic mysteries, the crime takes place in a confined space so that we know from the beginning who the suspects are. The fact that this novel is set on a plane makes a nice change from the usual country house! The suspects include a beautiful aristocrat with a cocaine addiction, two prominent archaeologists, a doctor, a dentist, a businessman, a hairdresser – and my personal favourite, a crime novelist, whose inclusion gives Christie a chance to have some fun at the expense of her own genre. The characters don’t have a lot of depth and there are only a few that we get to know well, yet Christie makes it easy to remember who is who. There are plenty of red herrings to make the reader suspect first one person and then another; it’s even possible that Poirot himself could have committed the murder!

I enjoyed studying the seating plan at the front of the book and the list of the contents of the passengers’ luggage in an attempt to work out what had happened – but as usual, I didn’t even come close to solving the mystery. In a way I’m glad that my crime-solving skills are so bad because it means I can be surprised by all the twists and turns of the plot as the author intended.

I’m having fun working through all the Agatha Christie books available from my library’s ebook section, so you can expect some more Christie posts from me in the near future. It’s funny because her books had never held much appeal for me in the past, though maybe I was just unlucky with the ones I was choosing to read. Although Death in the Clouds is not one of the best that I’ve read so far, it was still an enjoyable read.

3 thoughts on “Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie

  1. wutheringwillow says:

    As a major Christie fan I have read most of her books. Death in the Clouds is one of the better early Poirot mysteries. It kind of reminds me of a later (and much more gripping) Poirot mystery Death on the Nile.

    Glad you are getting in to Agatha Christie’s books!

    • Helen says:

      I can’t believe it’s taken me until now to realise how great her books are! They just never really appealed to me before. I haven’t read Death on the Nile yet but am looking forward to it.

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