Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review--> Hercule Poirot #2- The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

 Murder on the Links
Title and Author: The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Print Length: 275 Pages
Publication Date: 1923
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Classics, Detective Fiction

Book Review:

An urgent cry for help, two dead bodies of almost similar men and the dark secrets of the past that have come back to haunt an affluent man. Poirot is called to France by a well known South American millionaire named Renauld. But Renauld is murdered before Poirot can reach him. 
Once Poirot begins investigating, it soon becomes clear that this is a murder most extraordinaire.

Can Poirot solve this confusing and seemingly motiveless puzzle which contains many more puzzles inside it?

As is the case with Agatha Christie, none of her books are ordinary. The mysteries she wrote have deep insight into human character and crimes that are so ingenious that they leave the reader breathless!

This too is a classic example of a multilayered crime where everyone has a story of their own and different motivations to commit murder which aren't noticeable at first. The only difference that I saw in the book is that the author has relied on the coincidence technique several times like a chance meeting on a train, a coincidence that two people who have painstakingly hid from one another for years are suddenly neighbors in a small town in France. Some key characters are introduced almost at the end which makes this mystery almost impossible to solve because no one other than the author knows all the key players.

I loved the red herrings that Christie throws at every strategic point in the book, challenging the reader to unearth the true mystery under all the glossy irrelevance. The characters are most expertly sketched and a study of their behavior proves to be very entertaining and a learning experience. The author shows her deep knowledge of the human character and the societal pretenses of people and uses her knowledge to perfection.

The story moves swiftly with each and every event bearing a strong connection to the ultimate solution to the drama. Each and every character has a part to play and his/her every action bears relevance to the mystery. But it is a challenge to separate the less important from the critical. The dialogues are memorable and I loved to see Captain Hastings fall for a woman and his behavior which is just like us, normal people when in love! :)

Poirot, on the other hand, is his usual eccentric yet very learned self. He makes us believe in his stupidity and then stumps us with his casual brilliance.

Agatha Christie also comments on the change in the world at that time in early 1900s specially in the change in the behavior of women who were getting more independent and straightforward, and leaving behind their days of being a perfectly trained lady with a set image.

“Now I am old-fashioned. A woman, I consider, should be womanly. I have no patience with the modern neurotic girl who jazzes from morning to night, smokes like a chimney, and uses language which would make a billingsgate fishwoman blush!” 

The battle of supremacy and wits between Poirot and the French Detective, Giraud was both thrilling and totally entertaining. While Giraud is the "human foxhound" with his diligence in matching shoe tracks and canvassing the crime scene with a magnifying glass, Poirot is all about "the little grey cells" and feels content with sitting in one place and exercising his grey cells to reach the solution. The contrast between these two detectives, both of whom are famous in their own way, is beautifully portrayed and judged by the author. Giraud is the detective fitting all criteria set by the normal public for a detective and Poirot is the unusual detective who is content with his little grey cells and with finding odd clues like a piece of lead piping which fail to impress anyone but still are able to solve crimes.

In the words of Captain Hastings,

"If there's anything to find he'll (Giraud) find it. Now you-"
"Eh bien! I also have found something! A piece of lead-piping."
"Nonsense, Poirot. You know very well that's got nothing to do with it..."

While Poirot is his usual enigmatic self and states a yet another golden fact.

"Mon ami, a clue of two feet long is every bit as valuable as one measuring two millimeters!"

I loved the book and if not the best this is a yet another gem from the Queen of Mystery and Crime. A must read, I give  The Murder on the Links 4 out of 5 just because I felt that I could not have solved the mystery because all characters were not introduced beforehand. Go read the book and enjoy this great mystery. A story of love, betrayal, murder, sacrifices, genius planning of crimes and an even more genius criminal make The Murder on the Links a must read. :)

Some quotes that I loved.

"The heart of a woman who loves will forgive many blows."

“Two people rarely see the same thing.” 

"Mon ami, a clue of two feet long is every bit as valuable as one measuring two millimeters!"

Also watch the Poirot series featuring David Suchet. He is the best Poirot and the TV adaptations are spell binding. :)

Buy From:
Amazon.com: Paperback | DVD (Featuring David Suchet as Poirot)
Amazon.in: Paperback | Kindle Ebook | Hardcover
Flipkart.com: Paperback | EBook
























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