Title: The Mystery of Three Quarters
Author: Sophie Hannah
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot – the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930’s London.
Returning home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.
Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy, and has accused nobody of murder. Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…
Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
I eagerly await any new releases from Sophie Hannah, whatever series they may be, and her Hercule Poirot books are no different. This new offering feels very Christie-like, with its setting in the countryside, centred around the death of Barnabas Pandy, who drowned in the bath – but was it an accident, or in fact murder?
Poirot feels, to me, close to the original character in Agatha Christie’s novels – he’s entertaining, odd at times, and as excellent at sleuthing as ever – but with Sophie Hannah’s own excellent twist. The story is clever and intriguing (though you need to pay attention properly at the start, as there are lots of different characters and names across multiple families who are related in different ways). I’d definitely recommend this for anyone missing the original series – it doesn’t feel like a direct fit, as Sophie Hannah has injected her own style into these Poirot novels, but it strikes the perfect balance between intrigue and light-hearted entertainment, as Christie always did so well. Highly recommended!
Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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