The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary: ‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’
Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...
I just don't know what to say. I was so eager to read new adventures of Hercule Poirot and was thrilled to get my hands on this book. I'm sorry to report that I didn't love it. It was a little more than okay but also a little less than a "like". I didn't take to Catchpool at all and as a substitute for Hastings, he falls terribly short. He has none of Hastings' endearing qualities as an accompaniment to Poirot. He's supposed to be a proper police investigator but there's no evidence of that in his personality or method. I wanted Japp to show up and flog him for good measure. Poirot was rendered in a way that I found very superficial to what I'm used to. And I can't quite put my finger on it. This is the first encounter I've had reading Poirot where he actually annoyed me. I'm still shocked about that! They murders and the backstory were well done and I thought the suspects were rendered well. Oddly, the one I found most memorable was the hotel manager, Lazzari. He reminded me of the railway director Bouc from Murder On the Orient Express.
As just a mystery, I liked the twists and turns and did feel this worked on that level. As a Poirot story, woefully short of my expectation. Perhaps I should not have had any expectations but as the cover has 'Hercule Poirot' & 'Agatha Christie' splashed across it (and Christie's family/estate approved this work), I did so... there it is. Now that I know what this is, I'll likely read the next in the series because a good mystery is still worth the read in my book life. I'd recommend this to mystery lovers but would recommend with my aforementioned caveats to Poirot and Christie fans.
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