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09 March 2015

Agatha Christie's The Murder on the Links

The Murder on the Links is the third of Christie's novels and the second featuring Hercule Poirot yet this was my first encounter with the story. The ITV series didn't air the tale (in all of its "made-for-tv-ness") until part way through the sixth season and I'm still only on the second. (I took a break from watching them on Acorn since they ARE so different and SO out of order. Still very watchable, of course, but I'd like to get more of them read before watching.)

Once again, Hastings is the narrator. In fact, he starts out the tale by breaking my heart into a million lit-crushing pieces:
Ah .... Hastings wouldn't have patience for me! Totally not his type. Of course, my Tom isn't what I ever would have considered to be my type so maybe my lit-crushing fantasies can continue ....

The woman in question Hastings meets while on a train returning to London from Paris. It is some time after The Mysterious Affair At Styles and he and Hercule Poirot were living and working together. While on the train the two talk about life, Poirot, and Styles. They part ways in much better spirits than they started (see? There's hope for my modern neuroticism!) but he doesn't get her name. She says it's Cinderella as she leaves.

Hastings returns to Poirot who is lamenting about being bored because there are no great criminals about to let him work his "little grey cells." Waiting for him in the mail, though, is a call for help from a man in France who feels he is in danger but does not wish to go to the police. He begs Poirot to come at once and, of course, the two take off for France but arrive too late. The man was murdered and his body found on a nearby golf course (the "links" from the title).

The local authorities already know Poirot and there is another detective milling around -- a French Sherlock-ish character who irritates Poirot (he refers to him as "the human foxhound"). There are also mysterious South Americans, family members household staff, a mysterious "secret," a supposed mistress and her "goddess"-like daughter (oh, Hastings ... you're such a dog sometimes. What about the girl on the train?), twins ... and the Cinderella girl and her sister.

Everyone is a suspect at one point or another, and Poirot is brilliant at picking apart what's what and who's who until everything is all solved and tidy again. Since this is told by Hastings, though, we're left quite in the dark at times just as he had been.
Oh, yes. I know the feeling well. At the same time, though, I often feel like giving my beloved Hastings a good shake because of how obvious it is that the "nothing" isn't "nothing" at all. Love him dearly, but Hastings definitely isn't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree sometimes and definitely isn't in this outing.

I blame Cinderella.

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