Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Jane Wilkinson was once America's darling of the stage.  Today she is better known as the unfaithful wife of eccentric Lord Edgware.  Unfortunately, her confidential admission to Hercule Poirot that she'd do anything to escape her miserable marriage couldn't have come at a worse time: the very day before her husband is found stabbed to death.  Lucky for Lady Jane she has an alibi as impeccable as her taste in lovers.  But is she truly innocent-or is she giving the performance of a lifetime?  The outcome of Act III is up to her newest fan, the brilliant Belgian sleuth, sitting front row center...

This is not my favorite of the Agatha Christie books I've read so far, but that doesn't mean what it would when a different author is being talked about.  I will take her "average" book, of which this is one, over most author's "great" books.  No matter what, Agatha Christie shines at creating a complex, story driven mystery that hooks you in and never really lets you go.

What I have a problem with in this book, is what I generally have with any book that Hercule Poirot is the star of.  He just gets on my nerves a little bit.  He's quirky, egotistical, and pompous.  For the most part I'm okay with that because he is a brilliant mind who is worthy of that egotism.  Sometimes though I just want to throttle him and tell him to shut up.  Luckily, Hastings was in this books and he, at least for me, humanizes Poirot a bit.

As for the mystery itself.  I was able to figure this one out early on, but it still kept my attention and let me get lost in the case.  Christie is brilliant at creating a series of events and situations that by the end of the book come together in a way that makes sense.  She never pulls a solution out of thin air and gives the reader all the clues they need to figure it out before the detective does.  This was a solid book and one worth reading.

Challenges:  A-Z, M&S, FF, VM


bermudaonion said...

I'm really embarrassed that I still have not tried Christie's work.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever read this one. It's not ringing any bells, but it doesn't sound like I'm missing much.

I actually really like Poirot, but I can see your points.

J F Norris said...

Part of what I love about the older mysteries is that the detectives are not at all like real people. You may find, as you continue your reading in this challenge, that many of the fictional detectives of this era are exactly like Poirot. Sherlock Holmes is all three of those adjectives you use. Well, "pompous" may be a bit strong for Holmes. It's definitely a trend to have the detective of this era to be a bit of a superhuman in terms of intellect so that he outshines the police. Only after WW2 do you start to see detective characters that shy away from this arrogant egotist mode.

Unlike you I have always found Hastings to be a bit of a dunderhead and far too virtuous. Almost a prude. Read Poirot Loses a Client (aka Dumb Witness) and see what you think.


Yvette said...

This is not my favorite Christie, that's for sure. I seem to remember it also has another title, but right now I can't think what. I have the film version with David Suchet and it's ok. Probably better than the book, but only just.

A funny thing: Something that really bothered me was the death of the impersonator. It seemed so
cruel and heartless.

I never mind Hercule Poirot's eccentricities. I adore the character and always will. While reading these books in high school, I actually fell in love with Poirot. Yes, I did. And Nero Wolfe. I'm a sucker for brain power and eccentricity, obviously. HA!

Ryan G said...

Kathy, Get started on her books soon and I'll be more than happy to recommend one when you are ready.

Carol, I know I'm in the minority on my feelings for Poirot, but I would take Jane Marple over him anyday. I'm getting ready to read "Murder on the Orient Express" which is one book I do enjoy him in.

JF, There are a few Poirot books I like but most of those are after "Murder on the Orient Express". Right now I'm reading her books in publishing order so eventually I'll get to the one you recommended.

Yvette, I think the other title was "Thirteen at Dinner" or something close to that. The next few books are those that I really enjoy so I'm really looking forward to them.

Whitney said...

Great review! I've never read anything by Agatha Christie, looks like I'm missing out.

heidenkind said...

I've never even noticed Poirot is egotistical, although now that I think about it I can see how it would bother you. With Sherlock Holmes, though, his egotism drives me crazy--one of the reasons why I don't read Sherlock Holmes.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Ryan, I'm with kathy, I have never read an Agatha Christie and I don't know where to start. This would be a good time to pick her for my "C" pick. What do you suggest?

Thanks again for signing up!