This book, like the other book I’ve read most recently from Agatha Christie (By The Pricking Of My Thumbs) comes from Agatha Christie’s later works (remember, gentle reader, she started in 1920; this book is from 52 years later and is the penultimate book she wrote). Maybe I’m crazy, but I like the earlier works better, back before the main characters got old.
This book features Hercule Poirot and Mrs. Oliver trying to suss out the story behind a murder/suicide fifteen years earlier. A rarely-seen goddaughter of Mrs. Oliver is set to marry, but the groom’s mother worries about the goddaughter’s parents’ deaths. The protagonists puzzle it out based on reminisces and rumors from people only tangentally involved with the story. As a matter of fact, a main part of the story turns on the goddaughter not knowing her own family or forgetting things that happened at age 14.
So it’s not a very satisfying book in Mrs. Christie’s canon, but reading the book, I’m reminded that she had her own book club as late as the 1980s; one could join the club and get a different Agatha Christie book every month for several years if one was inclined. Wow. I remember Stephen King had one, too, and he’s the only author of our generation that I can recall having such. These days, nobody reads enough to rope them into something like that. And I notice the BOMC offers to send out two books automatically each month unless you send back the card. Just so they can soak the negligent double until they cancel, I guess.