Thursday, March 14, 2013

Curtain by Agatha Christie

cover of Curtain by Agatha Christie
I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie since I was a teenager. I remember getting Curtain as a Christmas present one year. It was the only time I read the book, and I remember that I was quite shattered by the book. Obviously, I don’t want to give any spoilers to someone who hasn’t read the book, but it is Hercule Poirot’s last case. Agatha Christie originally wrote the book in the early 1940s in case she was killed in one of those bombing raids on London. Her thought was that the Poirot and a Miss Marple, Sleeping Murder, would help support her daughter and grandson in her absence.It was locked away until the 1970s when it became obvious that Christie would not be able to write another book.Curtain was published shortly before Christie’s death. Sleeping Murder was published after Christie’s death.

Curtain, as I mentioned, was Poirot’s last case. He and Hastings returned to the site of their first case, the country house named Styles. Hastings was a recent widow, and he was quite disturbed to find Poirot in a much weakened physical state. Poirot was after X, a person who was responsible for several deaths that had been done by others. For example, in one case, the daughter murdered her repressive father, and then went to the police to turn herself in. Another time, a husband murdered his wife. Poirot knew that X was at Styles, which has been turned into a boarding house, and that murder was soon to follow. Also at Styles were Hastings daughter, Judith, who is working with a research doctor, Dr. Franklin. Dr. Franklin was unhappily married to woman who claimed to have poor health. Mrs. Franklin’s old beau was there, Mr. Norton, a bird watcher, and Elizabeth Cole, who was the sister of the woman who murdered the repressive father. It became obvious that there was tension in the air. Even the new owners, Colonel and Mrs. Luttrell showed signs of cracking under the strain. After the Colonel accidentally shot his wife, who was not badly injured, Hastings was on the watch. But could he stop the next murder? With concern over his daughter Judith, Hastings himself almost stooped to murdering a man Hastings thought was going to use his daughter in a nasty affair.

The story was very gripping, and I enjoyed reading the book more this time the first. Knowing how the story ended, I was on the lookout for all the potential clues, and they were all there. The book was a very fitting end to both Christie’s and Poirot’s careers. I would recommend the book to any mystery lover. Just keep in mind that the ending might be a bit of a shock. I’m glad that I finally got over my negative feelings about the book and reread it. Agatha Christie is one of those authors who should be read and reread many times!

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