The Mystery of Three Quarters
by Sophie Hannah
Genre: Mystery & Detective
I discovered Sophie Hannah a few years ago with The Monogram Murders, and her take on Poirot’s stories was delightful. I’m back for The Mystery of Three Quarters, her third mystery in the series. As a reminder, this author is I believe the only author who’s received the official permission to write new episodes with the famous Belgian detective, mais oui mes amis !
And you can easily understand why when you read The Mystery of Three Quarters: the character of Poirot is wonderful presented, with his usual quirks and habits, and it’s fun to identify them as they come up in the story. And the plot is much more complex than it first seems, even for Hercule!
I enjoyed the fact that the story is actually written from the point of view of Edward Catchpool, an inspector with Scotland Yard, as we learn at the beginning of chapter 5. This added an interesting extra narrative layer.
Poirot is faced with the most unique problem: four strangers, two men and two women, come and tell Poirot that they received a letter from him accusing them of the murder of an old man. Most don’t know him, Poirot does not know any of these people, and obviously, he did NOT send them this letter. So who did? Why in Poirot’s name? And why to these four people?
One of the four tells him the man actually died accidentally and was not murdered. Well, seeing the complexity of the issue, Poirot is not ready to believe this and let things go. It could still be a murder, and this case is anyway too intriguing for his little grey cells to just forget all about it.
Poirot first resorts to logic to identify the odd one out in the list of these four people, but later revelations will make things much more complex. He must hurry up, however, otherwise, he may end up with a series of deaths…
It even became a bit too convoluted to my taste at one point, but the end was satisfying, after a usual setting of convening all interested parties to reveal what happened, and why.
The plot is smartly put together, with a slew of elements often found under Agatha Christi’s pen, but to list them here would give too much away.
VERDICT: Imaginez, Poirot accused of murder! A unique problem for him. A new delightful opportunity for the reader to meet him again with his quirks and habits, and to see his little grey cells at work before it’s too late.
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
What’s your favorite modern take on Hercule Poirot?
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