“The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery” by SOPHIE HANNAH from WilliamMorrow was long-awaited at our house. It is a rare book that my other half and I fight over but he stole this one, hid it and now these are his thoughts…
I was very interested in reading this book as soon as I heard about it. The editorial reviews were very positive….so I put another book aside, and I dived in! After reading this book, I have a better appreciation of just how hard it must be to write a convincing pastiche. Many Sherlock Holmes pastiches, although pretty good stories, seem to miss the mark a bit. I feel the same about Sophie Hannah’s first effort at Poirot; pretty good book but not quite Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Sophie Hannah’s Poirot is not as charming as one is used to and comes across a little boring. In addition, the story itself seems at times to be overly complicated.
I may be overly critical here, but remember – we are comparing Ms. Hannah to Ms. Christie. The Poirot novels I have always enjoyed the most are those which include Captain Hastings. Hastings is missing in this novel, but the author does do a good job of utilizing Scotland Yard policeman Edward Catchpool for much of the narration. The portions of the book I enjoyed the most are those that highlighted Catchpool’s investigation (and did not include Poirot)!
Bottom line – I was interested enough in the book that I quickly read it to the end. Although not as satisfying as a Christie novel, it was good enough that I will be reading Sophie Hannah’s next Poirot novel when she makes her second effort. Hopefully, the Poirot we have enjoyed all of our lives will emerge in book #2.