HarperPaperback Berkley edition, April 2000
New York, NY
Death in the Clouds is the next mystery in line to be read for my personal Agatha Christie reading challenge. As noted earlier on this blog I am reading my way through all of Christie's mysteries in order of publication. This will mark the 9th novel read this year and the 17th read since I began the challenge in early 2008.
Twenty-one people have boarded the Prometheus at France's Le Bourget airport for a routine, one-day flight to London. But what begins as an ordinary excursion over the English Channel turns into a most extraordinary case of murder when a female passenger is shot with the venom-tipped dart of a South African blowpipe. Even more bizarre is that the killing could go completely unnoticed by any other passengers--including Hercule Poirot, the brilliant Belgian detective, sitting not fifteen feet from the victim. (Summary courtesy of the publisher)
Death in the Clouds is a fun read. It is also a little unusual, for unlike most of Christie's novels this crime has a closed crime setting. There are only 20 possible suspects who were aboard the airplane when the murder occurs, surely then this is an easier case to solve, right? Wrong. While I did catch on and solve part of the crime, in the end I was at the mercy of Hercule Poirot to find out the answer to this "who dun-it." Still, Death in the Clouds is a fast and entertaining read with a few twists and turns that keep the reader turning pages.
During the read I found a few things quite funny. First, Poirot makes a couple references to previous cases -- cases that I'd actually read like, Three Act Tragedy, Murder on the Orient Express and Murder on the Links (sorry no review). Knowing what his casual remarks referred to made the story that much more entertaining and intimate a read. Second, Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Japp makes an appearance in this book, which adds to the entertainment. Whenever he and Poirot get together there is always some witty banter to be read. The only one missing was Hastings, but other supporting characters made up for his absence and in the end I found myself really enjoying this mystery. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate Death in the Clouds a 3.5.
Stay tuned for my next read, The A.B.C. Murders.