Friday, December 28, 2012

Peril at End House

I have been plowing through mysteries from the library on my Nook. Last night I finished Peril at End House by Agatha Christie.

Here we find M. Hercule Poirot and his trusted friend Hastings on a brief holiday in the (fictional) seaside town of St. Loo on the Cornish coast. Poirot explains to Hastings that he is retired...unless a mystery should happen to drop in his lap. Which of course it does. 

Poirot and Hastings meet one Nick Buckley who lives in rambling End House next to the resort. She has inherited the mansion from her grandfather but no money to keep it up. In casual conversation, she tells Poirot that she has had some close calls lately - the brakes failed on her car, a huge painting fell off the wall over her bed, a boulder nearly smashed her as she was walking down the cliff to the sea. Then, Poirot witnesses a bullet whiz by Nick's head. 

He is on the case. Who wants Nick dead? And why? There are plenty of suspects: Freddie, Nick's good friend (all the female characters have male names in this one) who has a cocaine habit; Captain Challenger who is in love with Nick; Charles Vyse, Nick's cousin and attorney; and, an assorted crew of others who come and go through the doors of End House.

Poirot makes lists, mistakes (mon Dieu!)and there are fireworks, gunshots, and poisoned chocolates before he can solve the mystery of who is trying to kill Nick. 

I have to say I didn't see the solution coming, but then that is what Dame Christie does so well.

Next up: Fer-de-Lance, Nero Wolfe's first case, by Rex Stout.


  1. I have never read any of Agatha Christie's work but after watching a documentary on her "method" of writing the "who-did-it" novels most fascinating and the above I may give it a try. I enjoy the TV Poirot (Suchet?) very much especially the 2 hour versions where there is more time to develop the plot and characters than the 1 hour cramming! I recall my mother devouring all Christie's books but Georges Simenon's Le Commissaire Maigret was her favourite.

  2. I would love to watch that documentary to learn about her methods. Her endings always surprise me.

    I adore David Suchet as Poirot. When I read the Poirot novels I hear his clipped voice in my head. He has the character down perfectly. And those mustaches!

    The Maigret books are wonderful for their plots, the scenes of Paris, and the sprinkling of French. I read a couple of them for the 'Paris in July' marathon. Always entertaining.