Sunday, September 28, 2014
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
Well the estate of Agatha Christie, not satisfied with the continuing flow of royalties from Dame Agatha's prodigious oeuvre, has joined the current craze for commissioning new stories by "authorized" authors.
Sophie Hannah, author of nine psychological thrillers, has produced a new Hercule Poirot mystery, The Monogram Murders, set in 1929. Poirot has ha new sidekick, Scotland Yard Inspector Edward Catchpool, who functions as the constantly clueless apprentice and narrator of the tale.
I have to admit that I was not impressed. This novel weighs in at 302 pages, and I could not but think, as I waded through its convolutions, that in Dame Agatha's competent hands this might have made a decent short story or at most, a novella. The characters were remarkably uninspiring; for the most part they were such unpleasant people that it was difficult to work up any sympathy for them. Even Hannah's portrait of Poirot lacked the human touch. The only character who had a spark of humor in her was Fee Spring, a waitress at Pleasant's Coffee House, who is shunted aside after a promising beginning, to reappear briefly at the end, when it takes Poirot almost sixty pages to dissect the mystery to his satisfaction for the hapless Catchpool's benefit.
I am in the minority in my opinion it seems, as almost review I could find was full of praise for The Monogram Murders. I have included links to three reviews below.
Click HERE to read Alexander McCall Smith's review of The Monogram Murders. for the New York Times.
Click HERE to read the UK's Independent review.
Click HERE to read the UK's Guardian's more mixed review.