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Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – Oct 25 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Oct. 25 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062074016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062074010
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"How dreadful that the holidays should begin with a wailing scream and a deathly gurgle! Never has Poirot's mighty brain functioned more brilliantly than in "Hercule Poirot's Christmas,""--The New York Times

From the Back Cover

Christmas Eve, and the Lee family’s reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, histhroat slashed.

When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hatethe old man. . . .

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 11 2009
Format: Hardcover
When most families get together for Christmas, they can end up wanting to kill each other. Most don't actually do it.

But when a family patriarch is a malevolent old lecher like Simeon Lee with vast quantities of money, it's no surprise when he ends up dead. Agatha Christie's "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" is a decidedly unsentimental little Yuletide murder mystery, full of snow-covered manorhouses, gruesome noises and plenty of people who have come for the holidays -- and aren't what they claim to be.

As the book opens, a young Spanish girl named Pilar and Stephan Farr from Africa encounter each other on a train, heading for the exact same house -- that of Simeon Lee. Oh yeah, and they both obviously have something to hide.

Turns out that old diamond mogul Simeon is gathering his adult children at his house, where the downtrodden Alfred and increasingly fed up Lydia live. Among the kids: stuffy MP George and his slinky wife Magdalene, globe-trotting "black sheep" Harry, and sensitive mama's boy David and his steadfast wife Hilda. Pilar and Stephen are welcomed with open arms, but Simeon starts playing mind games with his resentful offspring by revealing the intention of changing his will. That night, the house is roused by a gruesome howl -- and he's found with his throat cut in a locked room.

Due to the puzzling nature of the crime and the bizarre evidence, local superintendent Sugden calls in the famed detective Hercule Poirot -- especially since Lee has not only been killed, but his uncut diamonds have been stolen. With his little grey cells, Poirot begins unravelling all the family secrets and lies -- including some surprising facts about Pilar and Stephen.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Have you ever gotten one of those easy-to-assemble kits and discovered that no matter how you try, the pieces just will not go together? Have you ever labored to solve a puzzle only to find a piece or two missing?
In this case Christie assembles a cast of suspects, gives them ample motive and opportunity, gives them all reasons to lie, throws in a group of clues that simply cannot be reconciled in any logical fashion, and then brings off a solution which explains everything and exposes a killer you'd never suspect.
The story (originally titled "Murder for Christmas") was written in 1938, the same year Christie wrote "Appointment with Death." The two stories share much in common. "Appointment" features a fabulously wealthy, tyrannical matriarch who delights in tormenting her children. "Christmas" features a fabulously wealthy, tyrannical patriarch who delights in tormenting his children. By the time the matriarch/patriarch is bumped off, the reader is ready help kill him/her. The children in both stories are all pathetic weaklings. Despite their weakness, the reader can develop affection for some of them.
"Appointment" featured a rather straightforward, easily achieved modus operandi and Christie's favorite murder weapon--poison. "Christmas" served up a locked room mystery with a diabolically clever methodology fraught with the peril of miscarriage.
One feature of the murder was the vast amount of blood shed when the victim was stabbed. The murderer would have been covered with blood, but none of the suspects seems to have any blood on them. Having read "Murder on the Orient Express," I was familiar with Christie's seeming lack of understanding of the dynamics of blood spatter in stabbing cases.
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