Classic Poirot: a great mix of drama and mystery. 4/5 stars.
The blurb: The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting’ nothing is ever quite what it seems...
This review will be rather sparse to avoid any and all spoilers.
I read my first Agatha Christie last year: Murder on the Orient Express. I “only” gave that book 3 stars because I felt it lacked build-up: it was too economical with its descriptions of the setting and background to the murder. Death on the Nile, another Hercule Poirot mystery, lacks in none of these departments. The pre-death drama is top-notch and Christie gives us just enough descriptions of Egyptian temples and other tourist hot spots to create a sense of the exotic without turning the book into a travel guide.
In fact, this book contains a great balance of dialogue, narration and description. My only slight gripe – as with Orient Express – was that there were too many characters to keep track of. On the bright side, this does mean there are so many plausible suspects that the guilty party remains hard to guess. I felt the edition I read would have been improved by featuring a diagram of the boat, showing all the cabins the characters were staying in (Agatha Christie: Cluedo game board edition!).
Overall: a classic murder mystery with great pre- and post-death drama. I’m planning for my next Christie read to be a Miss Marple. Any recommendations?
Claire Huston / Art and Soul