Day 40: Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie
Summary From Goodreads:
Amyas Crale was a celebrated painter . . . and an even more celebrated lover. His wife Caroline was as jealous as she was devoted. So naturally, she was convicted of Amyas’ murder. Now, 16 years later, their daughter presents Poirot with a challenge: find the fatal flaw in the case that will clear her mother’s name.
Agatha Christie does it again. Every time I read one of her books and think I know “who done it” I’m always wrong, without fail. She throws so many twists and turns along the way, and just when you think that without a doubt it must be person X, she reveals the truth and you look silly. I imagine Christie got a kick out of that.
Murder in Retrospect, like all of Christie’s books, takes me back to a time when things were written so much differently. The dialogue is handled in a way you just don’t see anymore, the characters fleshed out more than I ever could think possible, and the plot masterfully done so as to confuse the reader until the big unveiling. Christie throws the reader off the trail again and again, dropping hints here, implications there, but so methodically so as to make it seem that every character could be guilty at some point in the book.
My only complaint with Murder in Retrospect is that the latter half of the book does move a bit slowly, especially when the five suspects are retelling their stories in written form. The information they give in those is vital to be sure, but after already getting a personal account from each it does feel repetitious.
However, the desire never wanes, at least not for me, to figure out with finality who the culprit is and why. Always the why, never forget the why. The who, the how, certainly important, but the why is what matters most. That is something that the main character, Poirot, repeats throughout, how humanity wants to know the why now. Perhaps at one point just the romanticized story of it all was enough, but no longer, the curiosity for knowing the purpose behind everything is what fuels the reader’s desire. This is still true.
I enjoyed Murder in Retrospect quite a bit, most especially the ending reveal. The buildup was a little long, but it was certainly worth it. I still think Passenger to Frankfurt is my favorite Christie book thus far, but I’m quite happy to have read this one. Spy novels people, I’m bringing them back! (kidding of course, but seriously read one, they’re awesome) Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 41!