The little grey cells are back for more.

The little grey cells are back for more.

“I was standing at the window of Poirot’s rooms looking out idly on the street below.”

Last Saturday was a pretty nice day. I was in London for one of my best friend’s engagement parties and, while there, was asked to be a bride’s attendant at her wedding. This is basically an usher but on the bride’s side – a male bridesmaid I suppose. This was obviously hugely exciting for me but was it the most exciting thing that had happened that day? It was hard to say, because that morning I had been to Agatha Christie’s house.

Someone still lives there, but the blue plaque adorns the wall, informing one and all that the small, beautiful house in Chelsea was once home to the Queen of Crime. Being the fanboy that I am, I confess that I became more than a little overwhelmed by the whole thing, sitting down outside the house for a while and soaking up the notion that Agatha Christie once walked down this very street and, behind that door, undoubtedly killed many times.

Immediately prompted, the next book I picked up was, of course, a Christie. One of her first in fact, Poirot Investigates, which is actually eleven short stories. Before this one, she had only published two Poirot novels, so the character was still very new to the world. This seems to be her attempt to get readers up to speed with just how amazing Poirot is by showing him working quickly to solve puzzling problems.

Christie's former home in Cresswell Place

Christie’s former home in Cresswell Place

There’s the story of the diamond theft, the suicide that was actually murder, the weird-sounding but very good “mystery of the absurdly cheap flat”, one of the first locked room mysteries, a pharoh’s curse, a phone call from a dying man, a Brighton jewel robbery and many more besides. With plenty of assistance from Hastings and Japp, Poirot is not alone in his pursuit of the criminals, although he is of course the one who continually solves the problem. In one particularly good one – The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge – Poirot is in bed with the flu and lets the excitable Hastings go off with Japp to get to the bottom of it. Despite not even being present, Poirot solves the case via telegram, just showing how incredible he is.

The thing is, you can completely accept it about the man. He has a deep understanding of people and human psychology. He is at his most brilliant, most funny and most irritating in this collection, and it is definitely one for any Poirot nut who wants to know what the great man is up to in between his big cases.

Well done Christie, another timeless classic in the bag.

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