Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie
When a teenage girl is murdered at a Hallowe’en Party, one of the guests calls on her old friend Hercule Poirot to help solve the case. Finding the killer will require Poirot to interview everyone in the small town even tangentially related to the party, as well as looking into several unsolved murders in the town’s history.
- Has the confidence of the books written after Christie had proven herself and met with great success, where she was free to be a little experimental with style and pacing instead of purely focused on plot
- Character-driven, with a little less emphasis placed on Poirot and his eccentricities, in favor of letting the other characters assert their personalities
- Written in 1969, so parts of it feel jarringly contemporary. It’s fascinating to read an Agatha Christie novel expecting England in the 30s or 40s, and instead see characters complaining about how computers are ruining everything
- Felt oddly like Christie’s heart wasn’t in the murder mystery; it feels as if she were really wanting to write a novel about these characters and their relationships, but was obligated to have a mystery running through it
- The clues do eventually all come together, although it’s not in a particularly satisfying way. The feeling is less “a-HA!” and more “Okay, sure, I guess.”
- Everybody is surprisingly cruel about the murder victim and nonchalant about the killings
- More an observation than a “con,” but it was weird to see characters in an Agatha Christie openly talking about the possibility that it was a sex crime, or that the murder involved pedophilia and sexual assault. It’s unfair and condescending to Christie, but I always think of her work as being strictly G-rated-but-with-murders
Not one of Agatha Christie’s best, but I thought it was an interesting reminder that she was still cranking out these mysteries in my lifetime. The fact that turns out to be the central hook is compelling, even if the book itself is more pleasant than interesting — that makes it easier to see why it was the basis for a loose adaptation in the upcoming movie.1Although I admit I don’t understand why there’s going to be a third Kenneth Brannagh Poirot movie at all, since I thought the last two weren’t successful?
- 1Although I admit I don’t understand why there’s going to be a third Kenneth Brannagh Poirot movie at all, since I thought the last two weren’t successful?