The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot, the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930.

Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.

Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I am going to make a confession – until this book hit my review stack, I’d never read a Hercule Poirot novel. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel. Now I know this isn’t a get-out, but I have watched many of the little and big-screen adaptations of the legendary Belgian detective. And when I think of the screen representation, I cannot see anyone beyond David Suchet in the role.

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The Mystery of Three Quarters is quintessentially Poirot in my view. All of the idiosyncrasies that make the eccentric character what he is are all present. Though the supposed crime is as grim as ever, the book has joviality that runs through it. The case itself is perfectly befitting of something Hercule Poirot would take on. It’s intriguing, filled with twists and turns with the culprit only truly revealed at the conclusion of the book.

The story is engaging and fun. It draws you in. Poirot has a way about him to draw the reader in. The cast of supporting characters around him is well-written. All are equally self-centred and only concerned about themselves, all equally likely to be the culprit. And while I’ve not read the original Agatha Christie novel, I felt I could imagine David Suchet playing this version of Poirot perfectly. With that in mind, I don’t think it could have been much better without it coming from Christie herself.

My rating:

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