Sophie Hannah - Shastrix Books

Sophie Hannah

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Closed Casket

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Sophie Hannah

8th October 2016

Sophie Hannah returns to pen her second Hercule Poirot novel in what appears to be becoming an officially sanctioned continuation series (although in the originals, there is little continuity between stories, and here we have several direct references to the previous story).

This time Poirot, and our returning narrator, Inspector Catchpole, are summoned to Ireland to the home of a dowager countess who plans to make a startlingly my announcement. It's hardly a spoiler to say that murder ensues, and we join the sleuths as they investigate.

Hannah captures brilliantly the balance of crime and humour that Christie's own works were populated with, particularly with the character who I felt was Enid Blyton-esque (though others have suggested it's Christie herself) who adds the necessary touch of comedy that keeps this style of whodunnit from becoming dark and gritty like much of the modern crime genre.

I was not massively impressed with Hannah's previous Poirot book, but this time felt that she had got it spot on - an excellent mystery which only mostly baffled me until the end.

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The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders

Sophie Hannah

21st September 2014

Sophie Hannah has been given the privilege and the responsibility of bringing back Hercule Poirot in his first 'official' continuation novel. A mystery triple death at a London hotel lands on Poirot's doorstep as he's living with our narrator, conveniently a local police detective.

While it was certainly interesting and entertaining to read, I don't think that Hannah's quite got a grasp on Christie's style, has overcomplicated the plot, and the books feels in places more of a parody than Christie's own writing does. The mystery itself is complex to the point that the number of false endings left be baffled as to what the actual conclusion was, and it felt like there were still loose ends which Poirot had not tied off.

The first-person narration seems to shift in time, in some places portraying itself as being written shortly after the events depicted, and in other place long after. The narrating character, a new one that Hannah introduces, has an irritating habit of insinuating things about his own sexuality over and over again, which while an interesting aside at first, becomes too blatant after much repetition and just feels awkward.

The words 'little grey cells', while often used by Christie, are over used here which just ends up being distracting from the plot. In conclusion, the story works fairly well for the most part, and there are hints of Christie's style, but overall it's just not up to a standard that respects Poirot's original creator, and I think it would probably have been better to let the Belgian detective stay resting.

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Unreviewed books

A Game for All the Family
Did You See Melody
Lasting Damage

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