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The focus is on Christmas celebrations in the rich Lee family where complicated relationships go back years and where certain surprises are thrown into the mix. Hercule Poirot is asked to assist the police when head of the family, Simeon Lee, is murdered on Christmas Eve.
This story was originally published in 1938. The writing itself and the way the characters express themselves and is quite formal and adds to the old fashioned feel of the story. I find the writing fabulous. As I enjoy historical fiction so much, I very much enjoyed how this trait sets Agatha Christie’s writing apart from the more contemporary fiction. She does thorough and believable character creations and descriptions. I feel invested in the life of this rather large and wealthy family in the nineteen thirties Midlands.
I felt Simeon Lee was a believable yet Agatha Christie makes him out to be a very unsympathetic character. In spite of his ailing health, he enjoyed controlling his adult children by threatening to take their funding away. Because of the way he acted towards his children, the number of people suspected of having murdered him seemed to increase by every page I read. That kept the story alive until Poirot made his appearance.
The plot of this story builds quite slowly considering it’s just 200 pages long. Must say I worried along the way that some parts would feel rushed, but Christie managed to tie it up nice and evenly. Poirot turned up quite late. Felt I kept waiting for him throughout the first 30, or so, pages. I have seen quite a few of the tv episodes of Poirot, including this one, and I found that the book gave much more depth to the story. Exactly what I expected as it has always been the case when I have read a story and seen a film version.
Even though the story is called Poirot’s Christmas, there is not a lot of of Christmassy vibe to it. The murder takes place on Christmas Eve. Other than that it’s business as usual for Poirot and the police. This is a crime story, so it makes sense that solving the case takes center stage. The murder on Christmas Eve put celebrations on hold before they could even start.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is a great story and would be recommended for Agatha Christie fans and for readers of crime fiction.
(All opinions in this review are my own)
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