An average of 5 stars for this silly mystery? please. Nobody enjoys an Agatha Christie mystery more than myself, but I never expected all her books to be of the same quality. Therefore I wasnt too surprised to find that HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS belonged to that small group of lesser interesting writings. I can give you four reasons. Firstly, the characters are gravely underdeveloped. It just seems that there was such a great need for suspects that it didnt matter if some of them were almost completely left out of the scope of the pointing finger of blame.
Secondly, the most fascinating of a Poirot mystery is the little Belgian, pocket Hercules, himself. And although Dame Agatha usually does such a splendid job of describing him beautifully and thoroughly down to the smallest detail, here we are faced with just a shadow of this talent. The same goes for the story as a whole, it seems more a preliminary sketch rather than a finished project, as it always seems to rush you along, introducing too many characters and too many sub-plots in too little time and with too little detail.
As a third point Id like to point out, what all readers must have found very annoying, is that at the end, one supposed clue to the mystery is given as never having been a clue at all. It seems it was simply something necessary to baffle us even more in the beginning, that was forgotten by the writer during the solving of the mystery, and put in at the end when it was remembered, with a silly excuse. All this makes the haste and the hurry of the last pages seem even more annoying, is extremely dissatisfying and gives one the impression the writer just wanted to get it over with.
And finally, as for the last point. IT WAS OBVIOUS. Its true, we all try to find the culprit and with the brilliant Agatha Christie pointing the carrot in all directions we usually fail, and this makes the ending usually so exciting and fulfilling. But this time Christie has failed. When, still far from any conclusion to the story, Poirot goes to a certain store, and buys a certain item, then the solution was obvious, and the ending probably not even worth reading.
It may be argued the whole point of the Agatha Christie mysteries is the mystery itself and the suspense, and not the character analysis or the background or the complexity of the plot. But in this case, in the case of HERCULE POIROTS CHRISTMAS, I find there to be a lack of all expected ingredients. Had it been a mystery to the end, had the unveiling of the murderer been a surprise, then maybe it would have deserved 4 stars, but as I said before, Christie, this time made it too obvious.
Nevertheless I can only recommend that this Poirot mystery be skipped, because the rest are very enjoyable little pleasures (and I highly recommend THE MURDER OF ROGER ACROYD).
That little Belgian, with his little grey cells. Yes, he is truly a remarkable creation, is he not Hastings?