Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Hollow by Agatha Christie

288 pages
Published in 1946 by Dodd, Mead & Company
Reprinted in 2007 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

The Hollow is the 37th crime novel by Agatha Christie and the 22nd to include Hercule Poirot as lead detective. It also marks the return of Poirot after a four year absence (1942-1946).

The Plot:
"Lady Angkatell, intrigued by the criminal mind, has invited Hercule Poirot to her estate for a weekend house party. The Belgian detective's arrival at the Hollow is met with an elaborate tableau staged for his amusement: a doctor lies in a puddle of red paint, his timid wife stands over his body with a gun while the other guests look suitably shocked. But this is no charade. The paint is blood and the corpse real!" (Summary courtesy of AgathaChristie.com)

My Thoughts:
Overall I enjoyed The Hollow. It is similar to Sparkling Cyanide in that the story holds true to the traditional Christie "who-dunit" mystery with the murder set in the heart of the English countryside, a house party, and a shocking murder. The story plot itself is a twisting puzzle complete with a red herring or two and plenty of interesting characters. I particularly enjoyed the return of Hercule Poirot since it has been months since I last encountered him (Five Little Pigs) and have felt his absence in a few of the Christie novels I've read in the interim.

What I liked best about The Hollow was the fact that even though it has a similar setting to other Christie mysteries and even though the motive isn't exactly unique the story still felt fresh. I found myself puzzling out the answer to the mystery until the last chapters. The only aspect that keeps The Hollow from being a high-rated favorite for me was the combined fault of of the characters and the plot. I never attached myself to any one particular character, thus I was not pulled emotionally into the story, which left me feeling somewhat indifferent to the ending. As for the plot, I was stumped for a time, but not completely. Had it left me guessing to the very end and had I found an attachment with a character I might have loved this story, but as it stands it is in my opinion a mid-level mystery from Agatha Christie's collection. A good puzzling read, but not a complete thriller.

Up next, Taken At the Flood.

Related Links:
Other Agatha Christie Reviews:
*Novels published from 1920-1923 see note below.

The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
The Secret of Chimneys (1925)
The Big Four (1927)
The Mystery of the Blue Train
The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)
The Murder at the Vicarage
The Sittaford Mystery (1931)
Peril at End House
Lord Edgware Dies
Murder on the Orient Express (1934)
Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
Three Act Tragedy (1935)
Death in the Clouds
The A.B.C. Murders (1936)
Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)
Cards on the Table
Dumb Witness
Death on the Nile (1937)
Appointment With Death (1938)
Hercule Poirot's Christmas (1938)
Murder Is Easy (1939)
And Then There Were None (1939)
Sad Cypress (1939)
One, Two Buckle My Shoe (1940)
Evil Under the Sun (1941)
N or M? (1941)
The Body in the Library (1942)
Five Little Pigs (1942)
The Moving Finger (1942)

* Christie's novels written from 1920 (The Mysterious Affair at Styles) through 1923 (Murder on the Links) I read before I began this blog hence no reviews are currently available.


Mystica said...

A classic and always a top favourite author!

Marie Cloutier said...

I've never read Christie- I have to make room for her soon on my shelves. Sorry this wasn't a favorite but it sounds like a pretty good time.