MURDER ON THE LINKS by AGATHA CHRISTIE

MURDER ON THE LINKS by AGATHA CHRISTIE

“Murder on the Links” is book number 3 in my quest to read all the Agatha Christie books in order.

We are reunited with Hercule Poirot, whom we first encountered in Ms Christie’s very first book, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”.

Accompanied by his English friend Captain Hastings, M. Poirot heads to northern France, summoned by a potential client. Murder ensues and Poirot and Hastings decide to stay on in Merlinville-sur-Mer to try and discover the identity of the murderer.

The plot is quite complex, with most of the action taking place in France, but there are forays back to England for fact checking, and enquiries are made in South America, where the murdered man had business interests.

The elements of what we now consider the “classic” Agatha Christie mise-en-scène are all present in this book.

A large house, with gardens and servants. A front door left inexplicably open. Letters that give hints. Torn fragments of paper

We have an arrogant French detective. There is a beautiful young neighbour of the murdered man, whom Hastings begins to fall in love with, until a pretty, dynamic girl he had earlier met on a train in the opening pages of the book reappears. (Hmm, I hope that’s not a plot spoiler, folks…)

The book is quite “French” in its feel and language, and although I am only at the beginning of my Agatha Christie journey, I noticed with pleasure that yet again there is a feisty young woman, quite unconventional and outspoken – especially when you remember this was written 101 years ago.

According to The New York Times Book Review of 25 March 1923, “Here is a remarkably good detective story which can be warmly commended to those who like that kind of fiction.” (Ouch. Bit sarky.)

The review continues, “The plot has peculiar complications and the reader will have to be very astute indeed if he guesses who the criminal is until the last complexity has been unravelled.”

Yup. I can concur. I had NO idea until the closing pages of the book.

What a writer Agatha Christie was.

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