It’s with a heavy heart that I read this last novel in the Poirot series. I’ve been in companionship with him and solving mysteries alongside (not successfully all the time) for nearly two and a half years, so saying goodbye wasn’t easy. And it was made all the more painful by the author’s decision to end the series by ending the life journey of her favourite hero. In any case, it was a very sad parting. However, I’m happy that Agatha Christie has closed the curtain in style by giving us yet another great murder-mystery.
The setting is once again at the Styles where it all began many years ago, where we first met Poirot and Captain Arthur Hastings. Now, years later, both are back in Styles, Poirot in the last stages of life and Captain Hastings past his prime, to catch a criminal who is vicariously responsible for many past crimes and who may strike again and again if not stopped. Poirot being weighed down by ill health, it is Captain Hastings who must be his eyes and ears. As usual of course, Hastings muddles the matters :), but thanks to Poirot’s unaffected brain, everything is satisfactorily resolved.
Agatha Christie creates a clever and original plot here to mark the end of Poirot’s celebrated career. It is, to me, one of the best murder-mysteries of the series. Poirot is pitted against a dangerous and psychopathic criminal who commits crimes through others, being only vicariously liable for his horrific conduct, and as such, untouched by law. This is my first in a murder-mystery novel that I came across a criminal who indirectly instigates a crime, without whose manipulation the crime probably may never have been committed. Agatha Christie has given a lot of thought and consideration to this final story which I truly appreciate. After missing Hastings in the later novels, I was happy to have one last Poirot-Hastings combination, although we know how that combination works. 🙂
It was an interesting story. Even with the sad demise of Poirot, I enjoyed it. The very first novel in the series, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, is still my favourite, and Styles has a special affection for me because of that. Coming back there to end it all had a sentimental appeal. On the whole, Agatha Christie has done justice to her loyal Poirot fans, winding up the series with a grand finale such as this.