Monday, July 18, 2016

Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (1932)

I was giddy about this book, although not because it's so good - it's one of the middling Christies for sure.  I was giddy because I guessed "whodunnit" about midway through and was RIGHT.  Maybe that is what makes it middle of the road.  But it did make me feel quite smart.

The title sounds like an old Nancy Drew.  

This book was filled to the brim with Poirot French.  So many, many French phrases.  
This book was also the most anti-semitic Christie I had yet read, with several phrases like "He's a Jew, of course, but a frightfully decent one."  Yet, interestingly, the Jewish character gets his girl at the end (although she is a drug fiend), and is really quite heroic.  So perhaps Christie makes her character say something horrid and exhibit the casual anti-semitism  of the time period, something she herself didn't believe in or ascribe to.

I loved how she described one girl as someone "with the kind of hair that has just become fashionable by accident."  Droll and witty.

And at another point, Poirot becomes quite philosophical and existential:  "To all us," he tells a grieving girl who wishes she were dead, not her fiance.  "There comes a time when death is preferable to life.   But is passes.  Sorrow passes, and grief.  You cannot believe that now, I know.  It is useless for an old man like me to to talk."

Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8)Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a middle of the road Christie; not brilliant, but solid with a fun whodunnit. Although, let's be honest, the title is lifted right out of Nancy Drew. Christie's wit can be positively Noel Cowardian at times, such as when he described one girl as someone "with the kind of hair that has just become fashionable by accident. That's what makes even middling Christies such a pleasure.

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