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Stella Matutina
books and stories and musings, oh my!
41. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie 
17th-Mar-2009 06:41 am
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
Pages: 219
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!

LibraryThing Info

Amazon Info

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.

3 stars

Challenge Stuff:

999 Challenge - this one was mighty short, so I'll count it as one of my Short Books.

Other Reviews:

Joyfully Retired
Mysteries in Paradise

Please let me know if I've missed your review!
Writerly Thoughts
21st-Mar-2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
I have GOT to read more books by her! I've only read And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express which I really loved (both, and their movie adaptations are reviewed on my blog).
21st-Mar-2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Those are two of her best. I also love THE SECRET ADVERSARY, (her first Tommy and Tuppence novel) and DUMB WITNESS, (solely for the little dog), but most of her books are at least good, if not excellent. I'd say she wrote very few that aren't worth reading.
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