“Since she was a woman of disconcertingly rapid thought processes, Lady Angkatell, as was her invariable custom, commenced the conversation in her own mind, supplying Midge’s answers out of her own fertile imagination. The conversation was in full swing when Lady Angkatell flung open Midge’s door.
‘–And so, darling, you really must agree that the weekend is going to present difficulties!’ ‘Eh? Hwah!’ Midge grunted inarticulately, aroused thus abruptly from a satisfying and deep sleep.”
A house party in the country, where each guest struggles with some internal conflict. The plot is pretty standard for a Christie novel, and so it the resolution. What really drew me to the book, tho, was it’s focus on the characters. Not all of the characters are likable, some are down-right horrible, but what I really liked was that many of them are either transformed by the events of the book or undergo some serious soul searching.
The weakest part of the book was the ending. Although, it makes for a convenient conclusion, this is one of the Christie books where I felt she could have strayed from the path of formula and presented something more – not controversial, but – challenging as she had done in some of her other books – Endless Night for example.
Despite the weak(-ish) ending, I immensely enjoyed the book. I think this is the one that made me constantly think about why I prefer Poirot to Marple (even Poirot is almost a nuisance in this one). I believe the reason I am drawn to Poirot instead of Marple is their difference in outlook – where Marple seems a grounded old lady without many quirks, I have always found her to be a bit of a judgmental snob who seeks out the worst in people – and the gloats when her expectations are confirmed.
Poirot on the other hand gives the appearance of an eccentric but for all his quirks, he still manages to express his faith in and hopes for many of the characters he encounters. I really noticed this in his observations about Lady Angkatell, the most beautiful of which was:
“Hercule Poirot thought: ‘She is old–her hair is grey–there are lines in her face. Yet she has magic–she will always have magic…