As I dove into another Hercules Poirot mystery I thought it would get formulaic again. This one was another one that surprised me, but not entirely. It also featured Mrs. Oliver who is in several other works and might in many ways be Agatha Christie herself as this character is a mystery writer and about the same age.
There were some good little turns in this book, and I liked the way she made the characters keep repeating some expressions. The most common two were,
“Elephants never forget”
“Old sins cast long shadows”
There was another little trick with using the dog in the story, but never actually showing it or making a definite character out of the animal. It was a plot highlighter so to speak. I usually read to enjoy and try not to follow too deeply the structure of the story, but I figured I knew the ending and the reason for the ending about half of the way through. This was a first actually for me as Agatha does like to throw odd twists. She left them out and in some way the story is more bare boned I think than other novels. Not that it is a bad read, Mrs. Oliver makes it worth reading on her own, but it is not a whirlwind sort of affair. Everything had already happened and Poirot just gets to the bottom of it, to leave it there.
As I said, I try to read for enjoyment. But as a writer it is important to see if you can find the plot and the tip offs to understand how they build up a book and make it conclude. Agatha was a master at this and I enjoyed this book, but will have to say it was average. Better than Sad Cypress, but not as good as Ordeal By Innocence.
Keep reading, and keep writing!