Peril at End House by Agatha Christie

“A classic whodunnit, Christie is the queen of crime!” – CUB’s perfect summer detective read

 

The first accident: a heavy picture that falls on Miss Buckley’s bed.

The second accident: the boulder that narrowly misses her on the cliff path.

The third accident: the car brakes that fail on a steep hill.

The fourth accident: the bullet that misses her head by inches.

Whilst Miss Buckley dismisses these near misses as mere accidents, Hercule Poirot is convinced that they are failed attempts on her life. But the killer won’t miss next time, of that Poirot is certain. As the private detective delves deeper into the case, his enquiry develops from protecting Miss Buckley to preventing another murder occurring. When he understands and pieces the facts together, the truth that Poirot discovers is more shocking than anyone could have guessed.

I love a good detective story and Agatha Christie delivers such a novel that leaves you shocked, stunned and completely satisfied. Her little Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is peculiar but brilliant; he possesses unusual habits while simultaneously seeing and understanding facts and truths where others gloss over them. His relationship with Captain Hastings reminded me very of the partnership between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson; there is a strong bond between Poirot and Hastings and although Hastings does not have Poirot’s same powers of observation, he is nevertheless crucial for Poirot to solve a case.  Hastings considers angles and questions that Poirot does not, and, together, they achieve the seemingly impossible.

Miss Buckley, also known as Nick in this novel, is a daft young woman in her refusal to believe that someone is trying to kill her. At first, this made her a little hard to sympathise with as the gravity of her situation is so obvious to the reader and yet she refuses to believe that someone is trying to kill her. However, this did not deter me from reading on and I ultimately learnt how deceptively clever she is – how I cannot divulge. All I will say is that you must read the book to find out! Charles Vyse is a prim and proper lawyer, yet his calm acceptance of events and facts made me suspicious of him. Nothing seemed to faze him, and his occasionally unusual behaviour marks him out as a character to keep an eye on.

Christie is incredibly clever in her structuring of this detective novel: what begins as a quiet and tranquil holiday for Poirot and Hastings quickly rises to a crescendo of tense race against both time and the killer before they strike again. Christie disseminates breadcrumbs of information here and there and you really have to concentrate if you want to put yourself in Poirot’s shoes and solve the case. Just when you think you might have cracked it, she stuns you with the truth as Poirot answers all questions in the final chapter. Christie was (and still is) the queen of crime and way ahead of her time as her novels, despite their age (Peril at End House having been published way back in 1932), are still just as good – if not better – than the books hitting the shelves today.

Peril at End House is a classic whodunit which keeps you guessing until the very end. When Christie unveils all, you will be left momentarily speechless and then itching to find out the who, what, when, why and how. This is a nice, short detective story with a gentleman of a detective at its heart.

 

Rating: 5/5

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