The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding
First came a sinister warning to Poirot not to eat any plum pudding, then the discovery of a corpse in a chest. Next, an overheard quarrel that led to murder, the strange case of the dead man who altered his eating habits, and the puzzle of the victim who dreamt his own suicide. What links these five baffling cases?
Reviewed on 26th July 2015
Almost certainly the most unusually titled entry in the Poirot series, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding put me in mind of episodes of the Postman Pat and Vicar of Dibley TV series, in which each of the title characters have to eat too much at Christmas. However that’s not the case here, where in fact this is just one of a collection of short stories released under this banner.
The first two stories are fantastic, and depict Poirot at the height of his abilities, and Christie presents both in a way that leaves the reader wanting more. Both carry the rich array of characters and intrigue that make the series so strong, and the mystery is pleasantly and enjoyably resolved.
The three later Poirot stories in this collection didn’t quite grip me with the same intensity - while they are all good mysteries, they didn’t feel quite as substantial and indeed in two of them I felt it was rather too obvious what was going on.
The final story provides an interesting twist, as I was thrown back into the world of Miss Marple - a character who I thought I had read everything about, and it was very nice to experience a story again from that perspective, even though it suffered similarly to the two earlier books in being rather obvious what was going on.
All in all, a nice little collection, with a couple of chunky substantial stories and some other short diversions.