Joanne is revisiting one of her favourite holiday reads with a revised review of one of Agatha Christie’s best.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
By Agatha Christie
Also published as A Holiday for Murder and Murder for Christmas.
Simeon Lee, a cantankerous old and shrivelled man has sent word to his children scattered hither and yon, that he wants them all home for Christmas at Gorston Hall. None of them are under any illusion that the reunion is going to be a “let bygones be bygones” gathering or a celebration of “happy families”. No sooner have they set foot inside the stately home than Lee baits them with his announcement that he has made preparations after Christmas to change his will. The die is cast and it’s later that evening, Christmas Eve, that Simeon Lee is found murdered in his locked room.
When Colonel Johnson, Chief Constable of Middleshire, is notified of the murder, he’s entertaining his good friend, Hercule Poirot. Poirot gladly agrees to accompany Johnson to Gorston Hall when Johnson admits that Superintendent Sugden who has answered the first call, though a “good man”, is not “an imaginative chap”.
Upon viewing the crime scene and talking to the household, Poirot decides that the way to the truth is through the victim himself. He must understand the psychology of Simeon Lee – “the character of the dead man”.
And in saying that, Poirot conducts a detailed and comprehensive psychological examination of Simeon Lee, leading to a solution that is just short of brilliant.
No wonder Agatha Christie is considered the Queen of Crime!