Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lord Egware Dies by Agatha Christie

Lord Edgware Dies is the thirteenth detective/mystery novel by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. It is also the seventh staring the Belgian detective with his "little grey cells" Hercule Poirot and his ever faithful friend, Captain Arthur Hastings. It also contains a guest appearance by Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Japp.

Interestingly enough current readers can find this novel printed under two different titles, which at times can be confusing. Out of curiosity I checked my local public libraries (two different library systems) and found that one had the novel listed under the original title, Lord Edware Dies, which was how the book was originally published in the UK during the early fall of 1933. The other library had the book listed as Thirteen for Dinner, which was the American title as published in the late fall of 1933.

Either way the story centers around the murder of Lord Edgware, though that is not how it begins. Like so many of the previous murder cases Poirot and Hastings have been involved with, this one began with no suspicion of a crime. While enjoying dinner at the Savoy Poirot is approached by the beautiful American actress, Jane Wilkinson (a.k.a. Lady Jane Edgware, wife of George Alfred St. Vincent Marsh, fourth Baron Edgware). Jane begs for Poirot's help in getting a divorce from her husband, but foolishly adds that if he can't help her she will be left with no alternative but to "bum him off myself." Curious as the interesting situation Poirot agrees to pay Lord Edgware a visit.... which leads to some surprisings news: Lord Edgware will give his wife the divorce she so desires. Poirot returns to give Jane the news and all seems well until things take a nasty turn... The morning after Poirot's visit, Lord Edgware is found dead and it appears the very last person to see him was his wife! One thing leads to another and the bodies start to pile up...

In typical Christie fashion, the reader is taken on an exciting ride the moment the story begins with twists and turns and clues and false clues and dead ends before reaching an exciting reveal. As for the detectives... Japp, as usual, jumps to conclusions, Poirot is as reserved and puzzling as ever, and Hastings as skeptical of Poirot's methods as always... You'd think he'd get over it with time and the rate of success by Poirot! In the end Poirot solves the case, gives the credit to Japp and the rest of Scotland Yard, and if the reader is attentive enough they should not have to difficult a time figuring out some, if not all of the answers to this mystery. I was so very close to solving this one, but was off a small degree with my guess of "who dun it". (Oh well, better luck next time.) As a side note, I did notice an echo of familiarity about some of the characters or settings in this story, yet even with that feeling the story remained a enjoyable read with a fresh plot.
On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate Lord Edgware Dies (or Thirteen for Dinner) a 3.5. I liked it; it was a good read.
Next on my list to read is: Murder on the Orient Express. Watch for a review in May. To read any of my past Christie mystery reviews click on the Agatha Christie label on the right-hand sidebar.

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