Although it was once considered one of Christie's best works, the fame of DEATH IN THE CLOUDS has been somewhat eclipsed over the years by other 1930s works such as AND THEN THERE NONE, THE ALPHABET MURDERS, and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS--but even so, it really should be ranked among her finest efforts.
In some respects, the novel resembles ORIENT EXPRESS, for it offers us the tale of a murder committed on an aircraft, a circumstance which gives the writer a very tightly drawn field of suspects. In this case, the victim is a French money lender of somewhat dubious repute and the murder occurs directly under the nose of an air-sick Hercule Poirot and seemingly in the most incredibly improbable manner imaginable.
In addition to one of Christie's most effective jaw-dropping plots, the book is extremely witty, sometimes almost to the point of parody. Christie frequently mocked mystery writers who found ridiculous ways in which to dispatch the victim, and here she not only presents us with an impossible murder, she offers us exactly such a novelist as one the primary suspects! But in typical Christie fashion all is not as it seems: there are numerous twists to the fast-paced tale--and only the most astute reader will be unsurprised by her solution. Extremely enjoyable, clever, lots of fun, and highly recommended.