Thursday, March 14, 2019

Murder on the Links: Review

As readers of the blog may know, I am currently doing a reread of Agatha Christie--reading the works in order. Some books I've read many times, others only a few or perhaps just once back in the mists of time. Murder on the Links (1923) is one that I have read a bit more often, so for this go 'round I decided to pick up a book on CD version from the library to take along on a trip back to my hometown last week. I had the privilege of listening to Captain Hastings himself--Hugh Fraser--read the novel to me as the miles rolled by.

As I mentioned the last time I reviewed this novel, it's difficult to realize that this is only the second Hercule Poirot novel and also the one where Hastings meets his wife-to-be. And soon Hastings will disappear to the Argentine and Poirot will be without his Watson for many cases. In fact, Hastings appears in only eight of the Poirot novels, though he narrates the majority of the short stories.

At first the story seems very straight-forward. The famed millionaire Monsieur Renaud sends Poirot an urgent message requesting the detective's assistance. He fears for his life and wants Poirot to get to the bottom of the threats. Poirot and Hastings head to France at the earliest moment, but they arrive too late to save Poirot's client. M. Renaud has been murdered...stabbed to death and left lying in a shallow grave in a bunker on a golf course he has sponsored. His wife has also been discovered bound (so tightly she has wounds on her wrists) and gagged. She tells them a story of mysterious South Americans who tied her up and forced her husband from the house while muttering threats about a "secret." There are other mysteries surrounding the case...the dark-haired woman who visited Renaud at night, the girl with (as Poirot says) "the anxious eyes," the dark-haired young woman who pops in and out of Hastings life, the strange tramp who quarreled with Renaud, a random piece of lead piping, the special daggers, and Renaud's son who was told by his father to go to South America, but who was in the area on the night of the murder. Who can get to the bottom of all this? Will it be Giraud, the darling of the French police with his modern methods and his Holmes-like way of crawling about in search of clues? Or will it be the older, wiser Poirot--exercising his "little grey cells" and considering the psychology? Need you ask?

I quite enjoyed Hugh Fraser's reading of the story and was thoroughly immersed in the world of Poirot and Hastings even as I traveled the roads of Indiana. Even though I was well acquainted with the story, I still loved listening to the twists and turns of the plot and was well-satisfied when "Papa Poirot" managed to show up the dandified Giraud. A wonderful visit with old friends in the mystery realm. ★★

[Finished 3/9/19]

All Challenges Finished: Agatha Christie, Just the Facts, Virtual Mount TBR, Calendar of Crime, Century of Books, World at War, Cloak & Dagger, Brit Crime Classics, Outdo Yourself, How Many Books, Six Shooter, Medical Examiner

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