I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Agatha Christie mystery. It stars both Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, a combination I find very hard to resist. The mystery begins with an American celebrity--an actress, Jane Wilkinson--asking Poirot for help. She's not asking him to solve a crime, exactly. She's asking him to go to her husband--whom she hates--and ask him if he'll grant her a divorce. After this consultation, she "carelessly" mentions how she wants her husband to die; at one point she even shares just how she would kill her husband. A few take her seriously pointing out to Poirot that Wilkinson is the type of woman who would kill without thinking it wrong. But Poirot likes to make up his own mind, come to his own conclusions about people's characters and motives.
So when a little time later, Lord Edgware is killed, Poirot becomes interested in the case...
"I always find alibis very enjoyable," he remarked. "Whenever I happen to be reading a detective story I sit up and take notice when the alibi comes along." (122)
"Between the deliberate falsehood and the disinterested inaccuracy it is very hard to distinguish sometimes.."
"What do you mean?"
"To deceive deliberately--that is one thing. But to be so sure of your facts, of your ideas and of their essential truth that the details do not matter--that, my friend, is a special characteristic of particularly honest persons." (128)
"The positive witness should always be treated with suspicion, my friend. The uncertain witness who doesn't remember, isn't sure, will think a minute--ah! yes, that's how it was--is infinitely more to be depended upon!"
"Dear me, Poirot," I said. "You upset all my preconceived ideas about witnesses." (129)
"My good friend," he said. "I depend upon you more than you know."
I was confused and delighted by these unexpected words. He had never said anything of the kind to me before. Sometimes, secretly, I had felt slightly hurt. He seemed almost to go out of his way to disparage my mental powers.
Although I did not think his own powers were flagging, I did realize suddenly that perhaps he had come to depend on my aid more than he knew.
"Yes," he said dreamily. "You may not always comprehend just how it is so--but you do often, and often point the way."
I could hardly believe my ears.
"Really, Poirot," I stammered. "I'm awfully glad, I suppose I've learnt a good deal from you one way or another--"
He shook his head.
"Mais non, ce n'est pas ca. You have learnt nothing."
"Oh!" I said, rather taken aback.
"That is as it should be. No human being should learn from another. Each individual should develop his own powers to the uttermost, not try to imitate those of someone else. I do not wish you to be a second and inferior Poirot. I wish you to be the supreme Hastings. In you, Hastings, I find the normal mind almost perfectly illustrated." (133)
"You are like someone who reads the detective story and who starts guessing each of the characters in turn without rhyme or reason." (135)Read Lord Edgware Dies
- If you enjoy murder mysteries with more than one murder
- If you enjoy Agatha Christie
- If you love Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings
- If you enjoy vintage, British mysteries