23 August 2016

(kinda, sorta) Review: Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie

Alternative title:  Lord Edgware Dies (original British title)

Genre: Detective fiction, murder mystery.
Themes: Murder, identity switch, sociopathy.

When I finished reading Cards on the Table I realised I only had one book left to finish the five-novel Poirot omnibus it is in, so I sat down and read Thirteen at Dinner in order to finish the book. 

The plot (if you aren't already familiar with it, from book or film) revolves around a murder apparently committed by a woman who has no fewer than 12 witnesses to give her an alibi, and yet was seen at the scene of the crime at the same time. Poirot, having already become involved before the crime was committed, is commissioned by Inspector Japp of the Scotland Yard to investigate, and does so, aided by his friend Hastings and the police.

I love the noir feel to these covers.
When I called Cards on the Table a proper mystery I was, of course, referring to the fact that I haven't touched a pure mystery novel in ages. Sure, I've read thrillers, romantic suspense, and even romances with mystery side plots, but not a single book in which the mystery was the main thing.  

Thirteen at Dinner is a proper mystery, and quite a good mystery as well, even if it does rely on a coincidence to bring out the final solution. It is fortunately not a deus ex machina solution, but merely that Poirot overhears a chance comment in the street that enables him to make the final connection and catch the murderer. (I'm not giving anything away, BTW, since Hastings, who is the narrator and one of two Watsons in the story, states as much in the opening chapter). 

It's not the best Christie I've read, but it's among the better ones, and since it is included in the same volume as Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express, two of my favourite Christie novels, I'm keeping it.

Readers: 

Would you read the book based on this review? 

 

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