Sunday, May 31, 2015
Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
☆☆☆☆This review contains spoilers☆☆☆☆
The difficulty in making Hercule Poirot one's dupe is that he's too smart for anyone to outwit. There will always be those criminal elements who think too highly of themselves and decide they can pull it off. This will always conclude in failure for their little murdering souls and another success for the honored Poirot.
Nick, our little protagonist, parties 1930's style--she's a young woman who may soon succumb to a murder's desire to see her dead. The reason for her aspired death is a mystery for she hasn't any money or enemies. When Poirot meets her at his hotel on holiday, he finds out that several attempts on her life have failed, and proposes to keep her safe while finding the murderer before the murder actually takes place.
He tells her to send for her cousin Maggie whose constant presence should function as a deterrent against the killer. Tragedy strikes the first night she arrives when the killer believes she is Nick and the sound of the shot, hidden by local fireworks, finds its mark.
Nick's shawl, worn by Maggie, throws the killer off and the wrong woman is shot. Poirot is devasted that this should happen when he promised protection. A nursing home appears the safest place for Nick though the murderer attempts another success by sending chocolate filled with cocaine.
During the course of the investigation, Poirot finds love letters from Nick's fiance who recently died, leaving Nick a rich woman. Finally, he is able to put the facts together and takes the action he loves, assembling everyone suspected together to tell the identity of the killer. He does this for suspense and to show off his wondrous gray cells.
We find out that Nick isn't a sweet person after all, and she killed her cousin and pretended all the other attempts on her life happened. She overdosed on the cocaine by her own hand and put the gun used to kill Maggie in her best friend's coat. She did all this for the same reason many people kill--for the money.
Nick and Maggie share the same first name of Magdala, so when Nick found love letters from the famous and rich fiance to her cousin, she claimed them as her own. Who would know the difference, since the engagement had been a secret.
Yet again, Poirot allows a suicide for the wrongdoer, so there's not a need to face hanging. Yikes, hanging seems so archaic, but eight women died this way in the US and England in the 1930's.
This is one of Christie's best since no one can guess who the real culprit is though I must say I had my suspensions early on. I'm still hoping that one day I can go to the world of the make-believe past, and become Poirot's sidekick. Hmm, but would there arise the need to kill Hastings. Mon Ami, mais oui c'est possible--pauvre Hastings.