Agatha Christie was one of the authors that sparked my interest in reading early in my life. I used to spend numerous hours captivated by the mysteries that she weaved. I then went many years without reading any of her works but have been trying to revisit them as I have a chance. I managed to fit a couple in over the last year and decided to start 2014 in the same vein by picking up “Peril at End House” and enjoying the adventures of her detective Hercule Poirot.
Hercule Poirot is on vacation in Cornwall when he meets Nick Buckley. Ms. Buckley has barely escaped several accidents that could have killed her in recent days and gives Poirot some of the details as they talk. Seemingly bothered by a wasp, Poirot looks at her hat and notices that it was not a wasp bothering her but a bullet that struck her hat from her head. He immediately suspects that someone is attempting to kill Ms. Buckley. Poirot, in his classic style, determines that it is up to him to keep Ms. Buckley safe and determine who is trying to harm the woman.
Poirot starts by making a list of the people involved and any reasons they may have for wanting to murder Ms. Buckley, labeling them “A” through “J” with “J” being a possible unknown person. But as the events of the story unfold and murder becomes a reality, Poirot begins to suspect that there may be more to the crime than first meets the eye and takes drastic measures to try to catch the murderer before any more lives are lost.
“Peril at End House” is written in the style that one would expect from a Hercule Poirot novel. As always, he takes control of the situation and works tirelessly until he finds the murderer. Christie generally writes her novels in a very straightforward manner and parcels out the clues as the story slowly develops. Logic is the key to figuring out the crime and a reader that is willing to untangle the strings of the crime as the story goes along will be well rewarded at the end. As with many of her other books, there is very little action or excitement in the novel but just a well thought out plot and a key sense of timing in developing the mystery.
I would not include “Peril at End House” among Christie’s best books but it is still a good mystery novel. Still, the novel shows Christie’s mastery of the genre. I like mysteries but this novel was a clear example of why I do not read more in the genre and that being that I figured out the murderer within the first quarter of the book. Still, “Peril at End House” is an interesting mystery novel and one that is sure to please the legions of Agatha Christie and mystery genre fans.