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The Mystery of Three Quarters
Hercule Poirot #3I
BY Sophie Hannah

HarperCollins UK
23 August 2018/ ISBN 9780008264451

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde 


London, 1930: Poirot is returning home after a lunch out when he accosted by an angry woman. She charges him of having written her a letter accusing her of having murdered a man called Barnabus Pandy, of whom she says she has never heard. Shortly after this, a young man arrives complaining of having received an identical letter. Poirot has to discover if the murdered man truly exists and tease apart a complex puzzle with its roots in the past.

There is only one Agatha Christie and she was one of the best selling novelists of all time. Trying to emulate her style, plotting, and characters is a daunting task, and I confess to being less than thrilled with the first two books in this series. However, this third offering delivers a real page-turner of a plot. which had me guessing until the end and unwilling to put the book down.

There is a whole trawler load of red herrings in here and some rather interesting characters that mostly rise above the stock variety, albeit not too much in some cases. This is very much a book where the plot is what carries the reader along and stays in the memory, although Agatha herself would have told the tale in far fewer pages. Poirot is a bit more like the original this time, and the tale is narrated, as usual, by Inspector Catchpool, a man reminiscent of Hastings, who still seems oddly naïve and unsuited for his career choice. I applauded the way the ending was unexpected, however. And despite the book’s length I wasn’t bored once and will certainly be reading book #4. This series had a somewhat shaky start but is improving dramatically and, considering the big shoes Ms Hannah is trying to fill, this is pretty impressive.


Reviewed 2018