Series: Hercule Poirot
Book Number: 3
Read this book for: quick reads, classic mystery, quintessential detective, classic whodunnit puzzles
Quick Review: A quick and simple read with a lovely selection of classic Christie puzzles, although not essential canon Poirot reading.
A series of short cases solved by the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot: from the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat to a locked room murder, a pharaoh’s curse to a mysterious robbery at sea, and even the abduction of a prime minister. See Poirot at work as he tests his mind against these fascinating puzzles.
POIROT INVESTIGATES is listed as the third in the series of Hercule Poirot mysteries, but is actually a collection of short stories about smaller cases that could fit almost anywhere in the Poirot series. Although a large portion of the Poirot mysteries do not need to be read in any particular order, this one is particularly unlinked from the series, with cases that could have taken place at almost any time; the only chronological linkages being one case that references Styles (THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES), and one case that takes place before Poirot comes to England.
It’s a wonderful little collection, with many of the puzzles carrying the classic style that Christie is known for – little twists that result in seemingly impossible situations, and a colourful detective to guide you through. The cases themselves are simpler than a regular Christie plot, but are very effective at boiling down the main elements of a typical story into bite-sized pieces.
One of the really nice things about this collection of short stories is that it really brings to the forefront the relationship between Captain Hastings and Poirot. You can see (and sympathize with) just how crazy Poirot drives Hastings sometimes, between the gentle taunts about Hastings’ tendency to lose his head over pretty women to his exasperation over Poirot’s conceit. However, the strongest emotion that comes through is Hastings’ warm affection for his little friend that goes beyond admiration of his talents.
Although I would not call POIROT INVESTIGATES essential reading as part of the Poirot series, I would recommend picking it up if you are interested in a light read full of interesting brain-teasers, or want to delve a little deeper into the character of Hercule Poirot.