41. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: lots of publishers have issued this over the year. My edition is by Granada. Berkley, a division of Penguin, currently publishes it in North America, while HarperCollins publishes it in the UK.
Publication Year: 1923
Price: $8.99 CAD, $6.99 USD, £6.99 GBP
Status: keeper, because I keep all Dame Agatha's work
TBR Status: one down! Horray!
When Hercule Poirot receives a frantic letter from a foreign businessman, he and Hastings head straight for the man's French villa. They arrive early the next morning to find the police in attendance - the murderer has already struck. With an arrogant chief investigator determined to ignore anything that doesn't fit with his pet theory, it's up to Poirot and his little grey cells to figure out just what went down.
Agatha Christie is a tough lady to review. Most of her early books - of which this is one - are fun. They're elegantly written, cleverly plotted, and just generally enjoyable. But when you get right down to it, there's not much to them.
Dame Agatha rarely pushes the envelope. She did a great deal to popularize detective fiction, true, but even her earliest stories are still built upon an older tradition. Poirot and Hastings are clearly her riff on Holmes and Watson; they fulfill their roles admirably, but that doesn't make them original or groundbreaking. She's done some flashy stuff in other novels, but THE MURDER ON THE LINKS is a fairly standard story. There's a heinous crime. Poirot uses his keen deductive skills to puzzle out what's happened. Hastings bumbles along and occasionally has a real gem of an idea. There's action and romance and all that good stuff. And, at the end of the day, the book is fairly unmemorable.
Wow, I'm really making you want to read it, huh? The truth is, this is a great little book. I didn't guess the ending, either, and I usually do. (My little grey cells work pretty well. Plus I've read, like, 98% of Christie's published work, and she recycles plots). It's interesting, too, to note how Christie's treatment of romance changes over the years. This early novel contains a couple of love-at-first-sight romances. Her later work emphasizes solid, carefully considered relationships in which neither party is particularly passionate about the other. I wonder how much this attitude owes to Christie's own romantic life.
I'd definitely recommend THE MURDER ON THE LINKS to anyone who's enjoyed Dame Agatha's work in the past or is looking to give her a try, but I'd caution you not to expect spectacular, mind-blowing things from it. This is a solid, enjoyable read and a good way to while away a few hours, but it's not going to change your life.
999 Challenge - this one was mighty short, so I'll count it as one of my Short Books.
Mysteries in Paradise
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