The Monogram Murders

Since his introduction in 1920's The Mysterious Affairs at Styles, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot has captured the hearts and minds of readers everywhere in more than 30 novels and countless film, radio and television adaptations. The Belgian detective, noted for his full moustache and keen eye for detail, makes a return appearance in Sophie Hannah's The Monogram Murders, a Poirot novel sanctioned by Christie's family and estate.

As with so many of Christie's mysteries, The Monogram Murders begins rather simply: Poirot is staying in a boarding house in 1920s London, where he has befriended young Catchpool, a relatively new member of Scotland Yard. When Catchpool reveals to Poirot that three bodies have been found in a local hotel, all poisoned and all with a monogrammed cufflink placed in their mouths, the esteemed detective is immediately captivated by the crime, setting off with (or without) Catchpool to collect as many seemingly trivial details as possible, all of which inevitably become very important as the case grows in complexity.

Hannah (The Little Face) spectacularly captures Poirot, building around him a mystery worthy of Christie herself. The Monogram Murders draws in enough detail from the original Poirot mysteries to satisfy even the most die-hard Christie fans--from Poirot's irritating habit of making his peers wait for an explanation of his thoughts to a truly convoluted motive that only Poirot could have seen. The work never feels derivative or unoriginal, though, as Hannah builds an unusual murder case so complex that readers will delight to find their "little grey cells" racing to keep up. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

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