I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas! Mine hasn’t been great, unfortunately. My grandfather, who is eighty-five, fell and broke his shoulder last week and has been in hospital over Christmas. Because of his age and poor general health, the doctors haven’t been able to say whether he will make a full recovery or when he might be able to go home. My grandmother, who also has health problems, can’t be left on her own so we are all helping out with taking care of her until we know what long-term arrangements will need to be made. As you can probably imagine, it’s been quite a stressful time and not conducive to writing good book reviews, so this is just a short post to record some thoughts on a recent Christmas-themed read.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is a classic locked-room murder mystery which begins with an elderly millionaire, Simeon Lee, inviting various members of his family to spend Christmas with him at his home, Gorston Hall. The family are surprised and suspicious – they are not all on speaking terms and as they begin to gather at Simeon’s house tensions are running high. When the old man is found dead in a pool of blood in his locked bedroom on Christmas Eve, there is no shortage of suspects.
Who could the killer be? Could it be one of Simeon’s sons – the money-obsessed George, maybe, or Harry, who has been estranged from the rest of the family for many years – or one of their wives? What about Pilar Estravados, Simeon’s granddaughter, newly arrived from Spain? Or Stephen Farr, son of Simeon’s former business partner, who has come unexpectedly from South Africa? Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate and as he begins to piece together what happened on the night of the murder, some family secrets are brought to light.
This is not very high on my list of favourite Agatha Christie novels, but I did enjoy it. As usual, I failed to solve the mystery before Poirot did and although there were a few times when I thought I’d figured it out, I never even came close to being correct! Despite the title, it’s not a particularly Christmassy book (Christmas Day passes almost without mention) but I found it fun, entertaining and quick to read, which is just what I was in the mood for. I was reminded of Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer, which is also set at Christmas and has a similar storyline.
With plenty of other unread Christie novels still to look forward to, I’m sure I’ll be reading more Poirot in 2016.
19 thoughts on “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie”
Hope your grandfather gets better soon!
I quite like this one because of the reveal of the killer at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like that prior to this. But, it also might not be on my favorite lists.
Thanks. I was surprised when the killer was revealed too. I had never even thought about suspecting that person!
Oh dear hope your grandfather recovers quickly. What a worrying time for you.
I love Hercule Poirot’s Christmas it’s one I have read a couple of times.
Thank you. I will probably read this book again at some point too to see if I can spot the clues I must have missed the first time.
Sorry to hear about your grandfather. Hope he recovers fully.
Thanks, Carmen. I think it will be a slow recovery process, but hopefully he’ll start to make an improvement soon.
I’ll have to remember this for next Christmas – I really try to read one seasonal mystery each year. 🙂
I like to read at least one seasonal book every Christmas too. Next year I might try Agatha Christie’s other Christmas book, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.
I’m sorry as well to hear about your grandfather’s accident. I’m sending good thoughts for him, and for you and your family as you care for your grandmother. Books can be a lovely distraction, when you have the time and the energy to focus on them though.
Thank you, Lisa. I’ve started and abandoned two or three books in the last few days, but now I’m reading Amberwell by D.E. Stevenson, which is just the sort of comfort read I was hoping for!
I’m sorry about your grandfather. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be when elderly relatives who have been managing on their own suddenly need not only extra support but to think about whether they can continue in the way of life they have become used to. I hope that things work out well for everyone.
Thanks, Alex. It’s understandable that elderly people like to remain independent for as long as possible, but I think the time has come now when my grandparents are going to need a lot of extra care and support.
It always seems worse when these things happen at Christmas time. I hope everyone is okay and the extra support is forthcoming.
I recollect the to adaptation of this one, but know I have never read the book.
Thank you. It’s unfortunate that this has happened over Christmas, as it does seem to have made things feel so much worse.
I haven’t seen the adaptation of this book, so the story was completely new to me.
I am sorry to hear about your grandfather – your family and him with be in my thoughts and prayers. It is times like these we need comfort classics, like Christie.
Thank you, Jessica. I think I’ll be reaching for more comfort reads over the next few weeks.
I hope your grandfather is much better now. Nice idea for a Christmas post.
Thank you. His shoulder has improved and he is in less pain, but he has now picked up a chest infection while in hospital so he still can’t come home yet unfortunately.
Oh dear, that seems to be the way of it when staying in the hospital.