This month’s theme for the Read Christie 2022 challenge is ‘a story Agatha wrote abroad’. After the Funeral, a Hercule Poirot mystery first published in 1953, doesn’t include any travel and is set entirely in England, but it was written while Christie was away on an archaeological dig with her husband Max.
After the Funeral begins, as the title suggests, just after the funeral of the wealthy Richard Abernethie with the family assembling to hear the reading of the will by his lawyer, Mr Entwhistle. As he has no surviving children of his own, it seems that Richard’s fortune is to be divided between his brother and sister, two of his sisters-in-law, and several of his nieces and nephews and their spouses. After hearing the terms of the will, Cora Lansquenet, Richard’s sister, remarks that her brother was murdered. This is not something that has occurred to anyone else, as they have all accepted that Richard died of natural causes, so Cora’s comments are not taken seriously. The next day, however, Cora herself is found dead, having been brutally murdered in her bed.
Mr Entwhistle, the lawyer, is convinced there must be a connection between the two deaths and begins to interview the family members, hoping that they will all be able to prove themselves innocent and avoid bringing shame on the family. As the mystery deepens, he decides that he needs to call in an expert – and so he contacts his friend, Hercule Poirot, who listens to the facts and agrees that an investigation is required…
This is maybe not one of the better known Poirot novels, but it’s one that I particularly enjoyed. After a confusing start – Christie throws a huge number of characters into the opening chapters and it takes a while to straighten out their relationships and remember who they all are – I became completely absorbed in this fascinating mystery, having a few guesses at the identity of the culprit and getting it wrong every time! It’s one of those mysteries where literally any of the characters (apart from Poirot, of course) could have been the murderer and the solution relies on a wonderful twist, which I don’t think many readers will have seen coming. Well done if you did, but I certainly didn’t.
Poirot himself doesn’t have a large part to play in the novel until the second half; before that, it’s actually Mr Entwhistle who is trying to investigate the deaths, by questioning suspects, speaking to doctors and establishing alibis. During that first half of the novel, I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t really essential for Poirot to appear in the story at all as Mr Entwhistle seemed to be doing such a good job! However, it’s Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’ that are necessary to spot that final crucial clue and solve the mystery.
Next month’s theme for the Read Christie challenge is ‘a story featuring adventure’. There are plenty of those to choose from!
16 thoughts on “After the Funeral by Agatha Christie”
Thanks for the reminder that I really need more Christie in my life… [grin] Should be scheduling either ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’ or ‘A Murder is Announced’ (or maybe BOTH?) soon!
Good choices! I loved both of those.
I enjoyed this one too, although it’s ages since I revisited it – must dig out my copy!
I think it would be an interesting one to re-read knowing the solution and looking out for the clues!
Yes, this one was impossible to guess. But I love just how everything (as usual) made complete sense at the end.
It was very clever. The solution never occurred to me at all!
Another Agatha Christie mystery I haven’t read yet. But it does sound like a very fun one. And one I’m sure I won’t be able to guess whodunnit. ;D
Yes, it was fun – and very hard to guess!
I just read Destination Unknown, which I didn’t think was one of Christie’s best. This one sounds better.
Was that for 1954 Club? I was thinking about reading that one, but not sure if I will.
Yes, it was. It was more of a suspense novel than a mystery. It seemed at first as if it was going to be about espionage, and it was, but not government espionage.
It’s more of a Cold War book than any of her others that I know of.
Ages since I last read this but I agree it’s a clever solution. I feel that poisoning cake is nearly as evil as poisoning chocolates though… 😉
Yes, especially wedding cake!
Oo I haven’t read this one (I think I listened to a dramatisation, but don’t remember much about it). I seem to have very few highly rated Christies left on my tbr, so I’m glad this one gets a glowing report.
I enjoyed this one more than some of the better known Christies I’ve read! The solution is particularly clever. I hope you like it.