Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Setting: Early to mid-20th century Europe, mostly focused in Britain.
The book is a compilation of over 50 short stories written by Agatha Christie featuring Hercule Poirot. Although some of the stories go beyond “short” and run into over fifty pages! The stories were published over a period of 20 years from 1920s to 1940s.
“Mon Ami”. We all love Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective, with an egg-shaped head and a neat walrus mustache, who focuses on order and method, and makes his deduction by exercising his little grey cells, dislikes needless running around, but never hesitates to make his energetic presence felt at the scene of action. And is always in control of the situation. But the most compelling feature of Hercule Poirot’s personality is the kindness of heart, something which many detectives seemingly lack.
The stories evolve with time, which is understandable given that they have been written over a period of more than two decades. Society itself changed a lot during the era, especially given the impact of the great wars.
My favorite story was not one but a set of twelve, right at the very end. The twelve labours of Hercules, as the detective called it, making them his swansong as he goes into retirement, a happy and content man. Funnily enough, I had read these as a separate compilation long time ago, and yet they did not seem as poignant at the time. Probably because they were read out of context! After all, while all the stories are independent there is a subtle link going through them.
There are lots of references to a certain British detective who precedes Poirot by a few years. Just goes to show, how big a fictional (and real world) phenomenon was Sherlock Holmes.
Now a confession time. It took me nearly seven years to read through the compilation. Says a lot about reading speed and enthusiasm these days. Well, in my (feeble) defense, it is a nearly 900-page tome and there is no immediate urge to go onto the next story after one ends! And in the interim, a few other books jumped in the queue. But having completed it, look forward to revisiting more of Christie classics! And yes, the stories truly are "Masterpieces in Miniature"!
Previously on BookMarks – In the Name of God