In this brand new Hercule Poirot novel, four people have received identical letters accusing them of the murder of Barnabus Panby, signed by none other than Poirot himself. But Poirot never sent these letters, or has ever even heard of a Barnabus Pandy. So begins an inquiry to discover whether Mr Pandy was really murdered, and who sent the fraudulent letters?
Sophie Hannah’s revival of Hercule Poirot is difficult to criticise. I have always been a fan of the TV version of Poirot played by David Suchet, though I admit I have never actually read one of Agatha Christie’s Poirot Novels. Because of this, I can’t compare the new Poirot to the original, but I can say that he matched up to the one in my head very nicely. He is as wonderfully eccentric and self-impressed as I remembered, and I loved him.
Likewise, the other characters were exactly what you would hope for in a Poirot novel. Hercule’s trusty sidekick, Catchpool (whose viewpoint we follow throughout the book), was a particular favourite of mine. He was able to point out Poirot’s many flaws from a position that didn’t create conflict or hinder the storytelling, while his narrative voice was very likeable and strong.
It took me a while to get into both the writing style and the plot but, once I did, I really enjoyed it. The story line was quite straightforward with no particular twists, but there was a good balance between mystery and light-hearted humour, making it an entertaining read. I wouldn’t say it grabbed me enough to make me particularly want to read more of the new Hercule Poirot mysteries, but it was very enjoyable as a one-off.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.