Tag Archives: Hercule Poirot

#Bookreview ‘The Killings at Kingfisher Hill’ by @sophiehannahCB1 #crime

Red herrings, twists and turns, lots of lies, confusing motivations and a long list of characters make The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by crime writer Sophie Hannah the type of book you need to read when fully alert. Fourth in Hannah’s series of continuation Hercule Poirot mysteries, I finished it with mixed feelings. Sophie Hannah

Direct comparisons of Hannah and Christie seem unfair as these are continuation novels. Christie was a highly accomplished author who balanced likeable characters with dense but ultimately solveable crimes, while at the same time making the novels appealingly comfortable to read. If The Killings at Kingfisher Hill were a standalone novel featuring an unknown detective, it would be free of these comparisons. I enjoyed The Mystery of Three Quarters, third of Hannah’s Poirot novels, and will continue to read this series. It has also given me renewed impetus to re-read the Christie originals.

The complications start at the beginning. Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are about to board a char-a-banc for Surrey and the exclusive Kingfisher Hill development, when they encounter not one but two women passengers behave strangely. One fears she is about to be murdered on the bus if she sits in a specific seat. The second woman confesses she has killed someone. Christie’s novels always have options – for victim, and murderer – but the options here did seem rather full-on with numerous characters introduced or mentioned in quick succession with none fully-formed in my mind. At one point I felt as Inspector Catchpool does, ‘My mind blurred, then went blank.’ So many possibilities in quick succession made me long for Christie’s more leisurely pace. True to character, Poirot is totally in charge of his investigation. He tells Catchpool, ‘Once one has a point of focus, all of the other details start to arrange themselves around it.’

Throughout I felt two steps away from the action because the murder has happened before the book begins. We are told the story of Poirot’s investigation by Catchpool and hear much of the necessary information as told to Poirot by third parties. Hearsay. I longed to be in the moment as it actually happened, or at the very least immediately afterwards – I think here of Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, Evil Under the Sun and Death on the Nile.

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill wasn’t quite what I expected.

Here’s my review of The Mystery of Three Quarters.

If you like this, try:-
No Other Darkness’ by Sarah Hilary
Cover Her Face’ by PD James
The Secrets of Gaslight Lane’ by MRC Kasasian

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL by @sophiehannahCB1 #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-58W via @Sandra Danby

#Bookreview ‘The Mystery of Three Quarters’ by @sophiehannahCB1 #crime #mystery

I am not a great lover of continuation series, books written by a new author after the death of the much-loved originator. It seems a cynical moneymaking move and I fear it will ruin my love of the original author’s books. I grew up loving Agatha Christie and have not, until now, been tempted to read the new Poirot stories by Sophie Hannah. But about to go on holiday, feeling tired and longing for something familiar but new, I picked up The Mystery of Three Quarters. And what a delight it is. Sophie Hannah

The story starts as Poirot is challenged in turn by four strangers, each accusing him of naming them as a murderer. Affronted that fraudulent letters have been sent in his name, Poirot sets out to investigate. He suspects however that the supposed victim Barnabas Pandy does not exist. But Pandy does exist, or did, for 94-year old Barnabas Pandy is dead, drowned in his bath. Told by Poirot’s police sidekick, Inspector Edward Catchpool, this is a clever and mystifying story of Pandy, his two grand-daughters, and long-buried guilt and shame.

Hannah writes with ease and I slipped seamlessly into loving and believing in her Poirot. As with all good crime fiction, I had suspicions about the identity of the murderer but only during Poirot’s customary reveal did I connect together the unpredictable clues laid so carefully throughout the novel. And as always, it is satisfying to know I had guessed correctly. At 400 printed pages The Mystery of Three Quarters is longer than Christie’s Poirot novels, which come in at under 300 pages, but I flew through it in one day. Just the ticket for a holiday read.

If you like this, try:-
The Silent Twin’ by Caroline Mitchell
‘An Uncertain Place’ by Fred Vargas
A Death in the Dales’ by Kate Brody

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE MYSTERY OF THREE QUARTERS by @sophiehannahCB1 #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3yD via @Sandra Danby