Closed Casket

Sophie Hannah, authorized by Agatha Christie's estate to reboot the Hercule Poirot franchise, follows 2014's The Monogram Murders with Closed Casket.

When Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard receives an invitation to Lady Athelinda Playford's home, he assumes it's because the famous mystery author would like to consult with him for her next book. When he arrives, he runs into Poirot, the renowned Belgian detective. Perhaps Lady Playford needs two consultants, Catchpool thinks.

Turns out, she needs both men there for a different reason: to prevent a murder she believes one of her guests--family members and trusted associates--will attempt to commit after she announces she has changed her will to leave her entire, considerable estate to her secretary. A murder does occur, but not at all in the way Lady Playford anticipated, leaving Poirot and Catchpool to solve the confounding puzzle and expose the killer in their midst.

Closed Casket is an entertaining marriage of Christie's style and plot structure, and Hannah's wit and characterizations. She describes one man as having "a bottom lip that curled downwards... as if he had just said, 'Look at this ulcer I have on my gum,' and was attempting to display it." Catchpool is an engaging narrator, the overly discreet butler is a hoot, Lady Playford's unpleasant children are nevertheless well drawn and, of course, Poirot has his moment to shine when he gathers everyone 'round and reveals what happened to the victim in the parlour with the wooden club. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd
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