AUTHOR: AGATHA CHRISTIE
Details: no. 33 Hercule Poirot
I needed a lighter read after Arcadia and before starting on The Wilderness for my reading group read, and this Hercule Poirot mystery fit the bill exactly.
The story starts in the Middle Eastern Sheikhdom of Ramat which finds itself on the cups of a revolution. The young Sheikh knows his life is in danger and asks his friend, a British pilot, to find a way of smuggling a small fortune in jewels out of the country. The pilot’s sister happens to be in Ramat with her young daughter, Jennifer, and he hides the jewels in their luggage without having a chance of telling them and while being secretly watched.
Next the story switches to Meadowbank, a posh and well respected school for girls in England where Jennifer is a new student when the summer term starts.
The term is only a few weeks old when one of the teachers is shot and murdered in the sports pavilion and although the police get assistance from a, for them unexpected, source, they have no idea who may have committed the crime or why exactly.
There a few interesting characters in the school though. There is the Middle Eastern princess, a cousin of the former Sheikh of Ramat, a few new staff members and Julia, whose mother worked in the secret service during the war and who quickly becomes fast friends with Jennifer.
When a second murder is committed, it is Julia who puts a few clues together, finds that which had been hidden and travels to London to ask Hercule Poirot for advice. And with Poirot on the case it isn’t long before the various mysteries are solved.
As always with Christie’s mysteries, this was a very enjoyable read. The mystery is well plotted and the characters, although they tend to be a bit stereo-typical, are well drawn and easy to picture.
The reader has a lot of inside information that the investigators in the book don’t have, but that didn’t make the mystery any easier to solve for me. Although I had a few suspicions with regard to a certain character in the book and was proved right in them, most of the mysteries stayed just that for me until Poirot unveiled the solution in his usual manner not in the least because of one or two well placed red herrings.
This book was exactly what I expected and needed it to be; easy to read, light, interesting and entertaining. It won’t be too long before I’ll bring another one of Christie’s books home with me.