I am not a great lover of continuation series, books written by a new author after the death of the much-loved originator. It seems a cynical moneymaking move and I fear it will ruin my love of the original author’s books. I grew up loving Agatha Christie and have not, until now, been tempted to read the new Poirot stories by Sophie Hannah. But about to go on holiday, feeling tired and longing for something familiar but new, I picked up The Mystery of Three Quarters. And what a delight it is.
The story starts as Poirot is challenged in turn by four strangers, each accusing him of naming them as a murderer. Affronted that fraudulent letters have been sent in his name, Poirot sets out to investigate. He suspects however that the supposed victim Barnabas Pandy does not exist. But Pandy does exist, or did, for 94-year old Barnabas Pandy is dead, drowned in his bath. Told by Poirot’s police sidekick, Inspector Edward Catchpool, this is a clever and mystifying story of Pandy, his two grand-daughters, and long-buried guilt and shame.
Hannah writes with ease and I slipped seamlessly into loving and believing in her Poirot. As with all good crime fiction, I had suspicions about the identity of the murderer but only during Poirot’s customary reveal did I connect together the unpredictable clues laid so carefully throughout the novel. And as always, it is satisfying to know I had guessed correctly. At 400 printed pages The Mystery of Three Quarters is longer than Christie’s Poirot novels, which come in at under 300 pages, but I flew through it in one day. Just the ticket for a holiday read.
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE MYSTERY OF THREE QUARTERS by @sophiehannahCB1 #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3yD via @Sandra Danby