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The Monogram Murders

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‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’ Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at ‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’ Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...


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‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’ Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at ‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’ Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim...

30 review for The Monogram Murders

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I am SO SUSPICIOUS of this book. If the estate approved it, it must be all right???? But can anyone successfully write Poirot in the year 2014???? I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK update, 10/30: okay I READ THE THING. To be honest, I think the mystery wasn't terrible, and I might have engaged with it if it were not for Catchpool. He is the worst detective I have ever read about. Better detectives include: parodies of detectives, amateur sleuths, and people who are actively attempting to sabotage investiga/>update, I am SO SUSPICIOUS of this book. If the estate approved it, it must be all right???? But can anyone successfully write Poirot in the year 2014???? I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK update, 10/30: okay I READ THE THING. To be honest, I think the mystery wasn't terrible, and I might have engaged with it if it were not for Catchpool. He is the worst detective I have ever read about. Better detectives include: parodies of detectives, amateur sleuths, and people who are actively attempting to sabotage investigations. I mean, Catchpool literally leaves three dead bodies overnight, without calling in any forensics or backup, and without investigating the crime scene, because he is squeamish about the murder and can't bring himself to act. He spends the entire book musing about how horrid the murder is and shivering when he considers the murderer is still out there. Give me a break, bro! You are a detective! THIS IS YOUR ACTUAL JOB. And it's not like adding a secondary character perspective is unique in the Christie universe. It has been done very well before. If you're going to resurrect Poirot, you could also choose to resurrect any number of people who act as sidekicks. The obvious choice is Hastings, of course, but you could also go with Superintendent Spence, Inspector Japp, or even Superintendent Battle. No one needs a ludicrously inept original character who serves only to add page count to this book. Not only is Catchpool the worst detective ever, he's also just the worst to read about. He keeps interjecting himself into scenes where he only says things like, "I almost agreed, but then realized no one cared what I thought." That is some serious meta content right there. And he comes up with some real dumb shit, like "I started to wonder if I might not prefer to fail alone and entirely under my own steam than succeed only thanks to Poirot's involvement." I AM NOT HERE TO READ ABOUT YOUR TERRIBLE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS THAT WOULD RESULT IN A MURDERER GOING FREE. God. Nothing about him was remotely redeemable. Anyway! The rest of the writing was fine, not great. It made me appreciate just how skillfully Agatha Christie drew scenes and characters. I felt like Hannah didn't come close to making me invested in or understanding of the characters in this book. In Hannah's version, Poirot also spends a lot of time being fairly ridiculous (again, through Catchpool's eyes, which is another thing I blame him for) and a lot of time speaking French, which I don't remember from the original books. And he says "little grey cells" about a zillion times. I don't know. It all felt a little off to me. The mystery itself was crazily convoluted, and I thought (view spoiler)[the inclusion of the Ives scandal was very strange and not particularly well done. I did like the time of death being moved around - that surprised me. (hide spoiler)] This might have gotten a few more stars (maybe it was a two-star book??), except I'm still shaking my fist forever about Catchpool.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Poirot just knows... A terrified woman bursts into the coffee house where Hercule Poirot is partaking of the best coffee in London. When Poirot tells her he is a detective, she seems tempted to share her worries but in the end tells him only that she is about to be murdered and that, once she is dead, justice will have been done. Pausing only to beg him to prevent the police from investigating, she pleads cryptically 'Oh, please let no one open their mouths' and flees back into the night. Meanti Poirot just knows... A terrified woman bursts into the coffee house where Hercule Poirot is partaking of the best coffee in London. When Poirot tells her he is a detective, she seems tempted to share her worries but in the end tells him only that she is about to be murdered and that, once she is dead, justice will have been done. Pausing only to beg him to prevent the police from investigating, she pleads cryptically 'Oh, please let no one open their mouths' and flees back into the night. Meantime Mr Catchpool of Scotland Yard, who lives in the same lodging house as Poirot, has been called to the Bloxham Hotel where three guests have been found murdered. Poirot (psychically) suspects there may be a link... In fact, I hadn't ever before realised just how psychic Poirot was. How remiss of Ms Christie never to reveal this fact! All these years she led us to believe he came to his conclusions based on his reading of the clues, his ability to see through the red herrings to the facts, the superior power of his little grey cells. Ms Hannah kindly lets us in on the true secret though. Clues are unnecessary. Poirot just knows what has happened. At each stage, as other people flounder to make sense of the plot (well, I certainly did!), Poirot sees straight through to the truth without the need for any pesky evidence or suchlike nonsense. What a gift! Unfortunately not one that makes a detective novel work very well though... If this book had been written about a detective called Smith, it might have rated maybe three stars. The plot is convoluted, psychologically unconvincing and over-padded. The list of suspects is far too small, meaning that there are no big surprises come the reveal. But the writing style is quite good, some of the characterisation is fine and the descriptions of the places involved in the plot are done reasonably well. BUT...there is a great big 'Agatha Christie' on the front of the book, so this should really read like one of hers, shouldn't it? It doesn't. From the very beginning Poirot is not right. For a start, he has moved into a lodging house because he wants to escape from his fame for a while and be anonymous. Doesn't sound like the Poirot I know! Secondly we hear almost nothing about his little foibles – his vanity, his moustaches, his rotundity, his endearingly egg-shaped head, his patent leather shoes. We do get to hear a little about his passion for order but just as a sop. Thirdly he goes about searching rooms and seeking out physical clues like Holmes on an eager day. The real Poirot, as we know, is actually much more interested in the psychology of the crime. Fourthly, when the real Poirot speaks French, he kindly only uses words we're all going to get without resorting to a French-English dictionary – mais pas ce prétendant. Fifthly, at the end he actually participates in a formal police interview in a police station – but I was past the stage of caring long before then anyway. So I'll be kind and spare you sixthly, seventhly...etc. I saw Sophie Hannah being interviewed about the book on the BBC News channel, and she said that she had decided not to try to recreate Christie's style. So she created a new character, Catchpool, to be the narrator so that he could bring a new voice to the story. I was willing to go along with this idea, though it seemed a shame not to have Hastings along for the ride. But firstly (sorry), Catchpool is extremely annoying. He can't stand dead bodies, keeps walking away from the investigation, is as thick as a brick and basically hands the entire investigation over to Poirot (mind you, with Poirot's amazing supernatural abilities, who wouldn't?). Secondly, he's struggling not to reveal that he's gay – that's never spelled out, but it's quite clear from the unsubtle hints that are dropped all over the place. Now I know it's obligatory that every police officer in detective fiction is either gay or drunk these days, or both, (I suppose I should be glad that at least he was sober), but this is supposed to be a Christie-style book. I'm certainly not arguing that all gay men should be portrayed like Mr Pye in The Moving Finger, but the idea of Ms Christie having a gay policeman is frankly ridiculous. And Poirot's psychic powers let him down on that one, since he seems determined to pair Catchpool off with a nice woman. Thirdly, Catchpool tells the story in the first-person (past tense, thankfully), and yet knows every detail of what happens when he's not there. So he can describe all of Poirot's conversations verbatim, tells us when people stand up, sit down, blush, etc. – clearly Poirot's psychic abilities are catching. The last fifth of the book is taken up with the traditional get-together where Poirot reveals what happened, but it goes on for ever and is mainly just Poirot telling us the whole story, with no reference as to how he came by all these amazing insights. As I said before, he just knows! And considering how silly and unlikely the plot is, that seems beyond miraculous. I can only say that I sincerely hope there won't be another of these. If there is, even I will be able to resist the temptation next time. Because now (cue spooky music), FictionFan just knows too... www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ray Carr

    Overwritten, over-long, rambling, unsubtle and simply wrong. You know that from the very first chapter which teems with irrelevancies and silly quirks. (Poirot drinks coffee before dinner because it is 'the best coffee in London' -- he is served vermicelli -- he lives in a lodging house -- even his French sounds too selfconscious and too careful.) A faint flutter of interest is generated when a distraught character introduces her enigmatic problem, but that evaporates fast as the novel plods on. Overwritten, over-long, rambling, unsubtle and simply wrong. You know that from the very first chapter which teems with irrelevancies and silly quirks. (Poirot drinks coffee before dinner because it is 'the best coffee in London' -- he is served vermicelli -- he lives in a lodging house -- even his French sounds too selfconscious and too careful.) A faint flutter of interest is generated when a distraught character introduces her enigmatic problem, but that evaporates fast as the novel plods on. Hannah's skills have been vastly over-rated and extravagantly praised. Of course there are readers who rave about the book but then, in the words of Mrs Oliver, "Some people would read ANYTHING." Makes you appreciate Christie's effortlessly clever plotting, her concision, wonderful readability and talent for creating suspense and delivering ingenious twists. I very much doubt if the MM would have received any publicity at all if the detective's name had been not Hercule Poirot but something else.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    As an Agatha Christie, and especially a Hercule Poirot, fan, I was excited to see a new Poirot mystery written. Sophie Hannah does a decent job developing a story and Poirot's character, but it is obvious to me that she is not Dame Christie, no one is. In this mystery, three people appear to be murdered at London's Bloxham Hotel. Each of the three have a monogrammed cufflink in their mouth so to the casual observer, the murders must be linked as well. Poirot is in London at the time enjoying a s As an Agatha Christie, and especially a Hercule Poirot, fan, I was excited to see a new Poirot mystery written. Sophie Hannah does a decent job developing a story and Poirot's character, but it is obvious to me that she is not Dame Christie, no one is. In this mystery, three people appear to be murdered at London's Bloxham Hotel. Each of the three have a monogrammed cufflink in their mouth so to the casual observer, the murders must be linked as well. Poirot is in London at the time enjoying a sabbatical. With the help of his new sidekick Catchpool of Scotland Yard, he throws himself into solving this case. The story was enjoyable to the end but did not read as quickly as a normal Christie book would, although Hannah does try to convey a similar language to us. Layers upon layers of the case peel off, and, of course, Poirot thanks to the use of his little gray cells is two steps ahead of the rest of us. I read through to the end because I wanted to know how all of the details of the case pieced together like Catchpool's crossword puzzle. This is still a good mystery, just not up to par with Christie's masterpieces, and I would still recommend it to mystery readers; however, it left me wanting more, so I will have to read an actual Christie Poirot case sooner than later.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Let’s get the most important point out of the way: Hannah Sophie is no Dame Agatha Christie. With Laurie R. King, her Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series, which begins with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, you forget you are not reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, she so perfectly captures Conan Doyle’s voice. The same goes for Jill Paton Walsh when she is at her best and is completing an effort begun by Dorothy L. Sayers, as in Thrones, Dominations and A Presumption of Death (although not in her solo effort, The Attenbury Emeralds. Ugh!) Set in 1929, in The Monogra Let’s get the most important point out of the way: Hannah Sophie is no Dame Agatha Christie. With Laurie R. King, her Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series, which begins with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, you forget you are not reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, she so perfectly captures Conan Doyle’s voice. The same goes for Jill Paton Walsh when she is at her best and is completing an effort begun by Dorothy L. Sayers, as in Thrones, Dominations and A Presumption of Death (although not in her solo effort, The Attenbury Emeralds. Ugh!) Set in 1929, in The Monogram Murders, Hercule Poirot sets out to help the hopeless Scotland Yard detective Edward Catchpool (a clueless Captain Hastings stand-in) to investigate the cyanide murder of three guests in the posh Bloxham Hotel in London. All three were found laid out as if at a funeral parlor — except that each, a man and two women, had a monogrammed cufflink in the mouth. The two women — Harriet Sippel and Ida Gransbury — live in the village of Great Holling; the third victim, Richard Negus, once lived in that same village and was the fiancé of Miss Gransbury until he broke off the engagement in 1913. Earlier, Poirot had encountered a young housemaid named Jennie at a coffeehouse. Before fleeing, she predicts her own death and judges that her demise would be justice rather than murder. Despite Catchpool’s skepticism, Poirot insists that Jennie has a connection to the Bloxham Hotel murders. Want to bet who’s right on that one? Why had they been killed? Poirot senses that the clues to the motive lie in Great Holling, and he dispatches Catchpool to snoop around there while Poirot tries to track down the elusive Jennie. Both discover quite a lot, but I won’t spoil the novel by saying any more. Fair is fair, and The Monogram Murders should not be judged on whether it is pitch-perfect Agatha Christie — it clearly isn’t — but whether it is an enjoyable mystery. And there Sophie succeeds. No, the first Hercule Poirot novel since Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case was published in 1975 never comes close to Murder on the Orient Express, The A.B.C. Murders, The Labours of Hercules or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. But, while a bit too clever by half — too convoluted to ring true, too broad in its portrayal of Hercule Poirot as a romantic, too implausible in its denouement — The Monogram Murders proved a suitable companion on a day when I was home sick as could be. And I’ve never been one to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Agatha Christie has always been my favourite author and I have to admit that I felt trepidation when I heard that there was to be a ‘new’ Poirot novel by another author. I have never read anything by Sophie Hannah but, to be honest, I knew that I would not be able to resist giving this a try, despite my disquiet at having another writer try to recreate Christie’s world. Having now read this, I feel that is both a better read than I expected, but it is certainly not a Poirot novel, even though it Agatha Christie has always been my favourite author and I have to admit that I felt trepidation when I heard that there was to be a ‘new’ Poirot novel by another author. I have never read anything by Sophie Hannah but, to be honest, I knew that I would not be able to resist giving this a try, despite my disquiet at having another writer try to recreate Christie’s world. Having now read this, I feel that is both a better read than I expected, but it is certainly not a Poirot novel, even though it features his character. Obviously, it is a daunting task to write a book featuring such a beloved detective and it is something which probably should not have been attempted, but Hannah succeeds in some parts and fails in others. In order to give Poirot a different setting and a new character to tell the story (and in effect replace Hastings) he is supposedly taking a rest. Having bizarrely told everyone he has left London, Poirot decamps to a boarding house literally across the road from where he lives, and where a detective from Scotland Yard is conveniently also living. Edward Catchpool is, like Hastings, rather naïve and needing guidance. This works better with an amateur than an actual detective. Catchpool has a strange aversion to bodies, which is unfortunate, as he has to investigate the murder of three people found poisoned at the Bloxham Hotel. Meanwhile, Poirot has taken to visiting the Pleasant Coffee House, where his peaceful meal is disrupted by a woman, who rushes in a distressed state. When Poirot approaches to see whether he can help her, she says that nothing can be done to help her. Once she is dead, she tells him, justice will be done. When Poirot hears of Catchpool’s case, he feels the two events are linked and then joins up with helping the Scotland Yard detective solve the case – for which they have to go back into the past - to an event in a small village some years before. Golden Age crime novels are something you either love or find unbelievable and, certainly, there are few modern crime books featuring the type of amateur detectives that proliferated in the books written in the period between the wars. Still, I am not sure whether I found Lord Peter Wimsey any less believable than Catchpool and his Scotland Yard. You do not even hear of any other members of the police force until well into the book. Catchpool literally runs from the crime scene and then allows Poirot to dictate to him without the author first setting up any kind of role in the investigation for him (no Japp to ask him along for example). However, in many ways, the author provides a reasonable attempt at a Golden Age mystery; with a lot of plot twists and turns, a good setting and some interesting characters. Supposedly set in 1929, the modern world often slips in – as in when characters refer to the victims by their first name, when they would probably be more formal, for example – but this is much more a homage to Christie than an attempt to recreate her work. Hercule Poirot’s eyes may glitter and his ‘little grey cells’ work overtime, but this Poirot never speaks in his true voice and you never feel you are reading a ‘new’ Poirot novel. If I read enjoying the mystery for itself, it was a pleasant enough book. If I read imagining this was a new Poirot novel, it did not work for me. I am not sure, though, that any author could have pulled off a new Poirot. For me, the little Belgium detective, cannot exist in any other hands but Agatha Christie, who remains forever the Queen of Crime.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Hmm I am gonna have to think more about the rating for this book as it’s a difficult decision Before I write a proper review, suffice to say Poirot is spot on, Catchpool, agh 😱 Ok, here we go, I'm thinking by the end of me writing this review I will have finalised on a rating for this book. Sooo, its a good book, well written, an enjoyable Poirot novel, a believable Poirot novel, and for that I would give it 4 ⭐. However, and there is certainly in my mind, a big however, Catchpoo Hmm I am gonna have to think more about the rating for this book as it’s a difficult decision Before I write a proper review, suffice to say Poirot is spot on, Catchpool, agh 😱 Ok, here we go, I'm thinking by the end of me writing this review I will have finalised on a rating for this book. Sooo, its a good book, well written, an enjoyable Poirot novel, a believable Poirot novel, and for that I would give it 4 ⭐️. However, and there is certainly in my mind, a big however, Catchpool, Inspector of Scotland Yard. I have encountered a number of Christie's Police Detectives , and whilst some have been more enlightened than others, and some have been cleverer than others, none have been as feeble and ineffectual or even as stupid as Catchpool. Many moons ago I worked for the "Met" at the "Yard" and I cannot see how on earth Catchpool got promoted above Constable. And this is the problem, yes there have been not so intelligent "foils" to our detective heroes, Watson and even Hastings, but they have all had some redeeming feature which allowed you to emphasise with them, even love them, Catchpool, is a policeman and should know better. He shouldn't be this squeamish or useless. Yes some of the other police characters in Christie books, have not been the brightest sparks but they were dogged or demonstrated some other worthy characteristic that made them rise above the ordinary, again Catchpool, nothing, nada, zilch, sweet Fanny Adams. I really didn't like him. So what does that mean for my review or rating of this book, I'm sorry but I fear it going to have to be just 3 ⭐️ which is a shame as Sophie Hannah has written a great Poirot story. PS All of that said I will read the next Sophie Hannah Poirot as it was good

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peace

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was disappointing on every level. As a fan of Christie and Poirot, this was not true to either the spirit or talent of either. The plot was needlessly convoluted and nonsensical, lacking suspense but full of dumb contrivances to drag on the story for no good reason. The author attempted to recreate the magic of the Hastings/Watson style of narrator but the character she created, Catchpool, was so annoying it took away from my enjoyment of Poirot. Poirot's new friend Catchpoo This book was disappointing on every level. As a fan of Christie and Poirot, this was not true to either the spirit or talent of either. The plot was needlessly convoluted and nonsensical, lacking suspense but full of dumb contrivances to drag on the story for no good reason. The author attempted to recreate the magic of the Hastings/Watson style of narrator but the character she created, Catchpool, was so annoying it took away from my enjoyment of Poirot. Poirot's new friend Catchpool is an incompetent Scotland Yard detective who was terrified of dead bodies due to some incoherent psychological trauma in his childhood and was actively reluctant to actually investigate the murder. I was so aggravated by him- a Scotland Yard detective with no skills in detection. Why didn't Catchpool get the scandalous back story from the village constable? What was the point of waiting til tomorrow to hear it from Margaret? He never investigated anything, just waited around for people to tell him everything after pointless delays. At least Japp and even Hastings tried, however wrong-headedly, to figure things out. Catchpool was so uninterested and unmotivated he literally needed Poirot for everything. I'm not against re-imaginings of classic characters by new writers, but this was a major FAIL.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Orient

    A big fat puking spoiler coming this way. Beware. I am furious and sad every time I write bad reviews. However, it is really important for me to find believable, attractive plot and characters (especially in a detective book). Agatha Christie's fabulous mysteries have plots that are tricky yet comprehensible. Her mysteries shine with grand simplicity. Sadly I didn’t find any in “The Monogram Murde A big fat puking spoiler coming this way. Beware. I am furious and sad every time I write bad reviews. However, it is really important for me to find believable, attractive plot and characters (especially in a detective book). Agatha Christie's fabulous mysteries have plots that are tricky yet comprehensible. Her mysteries shine with grand simplicity. Sadly I didn’t find any in “The Monogram Murders”. This book is written by Sophie Hannah, who was inspired by Agatha Christie. The strangest thing is that S. Hannah got a permission to write this book and this book was approved by the Christie estate. I'm not familiar with Sophie Hannah's other books. I just read that she writes crime fiction and she likes Agatha Christie a lot. This book is a labyrinth with crimes, secrets and murders, but instead of catching interest and engaging, it was a trouble for me to get out of it. Maybe the trouble is in me. I just couldn't find the real personality of Christie's famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, or her basic storytelling features So let’s start from the beginning. Poirot meets a mysterious woman in a coffee house, who fears for her life. She talks strange stuff before disappearing into the night. It’s a good start except, for the real Christie fans, it’s obvious that Poirot enjoys sipping herbal tea, hot chocolate, creme de menthe or sirop de cassis, he has traveled a lot, he likes convenience and luxury, moreover he dislikes English food. And I found him sipping coffee and eating a beef chop and vermicelli souffle in a coffee house in a not wealthy part of London. It’s not all. Poirot is staying at a lodging house to rest from his work, he takes buses and he walks aimlessly. This is a really odd way to present Christie’s Poirot. Hannah’s Poirot has only Christie’s Poirot appearance. Poirot is not the only one strange character. Scotland Yard policeman Catchpool, the most dull, miserable, glum and incompetent detective I’ve ever read. He is afraid of dead bodies, that is why he left the murder victims in the hotel unwatched for all the evening and night. Moreover he is the only one officer in the police, investigating the Monogram Murders. A shame for all Scotland Yard descriptions. He is dumb and definitely a dreary fellow. Oh, Captain Hastings, how I missed you! Hastings was not always understanding, but his relationship with Poirot was always charming, affectionate and friendly. Poirot and Catchpool made an odd and not attractive pair of detectives. They seem not to like each other. Catchpool tries to match Hastings with his “magically” strange and incoherent remarks. The Poirot-Catchpool situation looks like a teacher tries to teach a hopeless student. It was nice with Hastings, but hopeless and quite irritating with Catchpool. Poirot even understates Catchpool. There isn’t any clear and attractive description of the places, it never came alive to me, while reading (or torturing myself in other words. In case you didn’t know: Yes, I’m the masochistic type!) I felt like examining an unfinished painting. If there were no years mentioned, I wouldn’t guess that this book was meant to show the Poirot times. The biggest part of the explanations is extremely unlikely. Definitely no clarity or conviction. No Agatha Christie. It’s sad but for me the most interesting characters in the book were the three murder victims. There are clues of a kind in this book that seem inspired by Agatha Christie, but they are not carried off with the flamboyant confidence of style or manner, that I enjoyed reading AC mysteries. Maybe I’m narrow-minded due to the Christie stuff. But I like it so and I like Poirot in Christie’s style I know that there will be another book about Poirot by Sophie Hannah and I really hope it to be one I really can enjoy reading.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan Johnson

    I've been a long time fan of classic Agatha Christie mysteries and went into this reimagining of a character feeling like there was no way that these characters that we were already familiar with could stand up to Christie's portrayal of them. Boy, was I wrong - and pleasantly so. I actually really, really enjoyed this book. The Monogram Murders is the story of a couple detectives in the heart of London who are faced with solving a case in which there are 3 bodies all found within the same hotel I've been a long time fan of classic Agatha Christie mysteries and went into this reimagining of a character feeling like there was no way that these characters that we were already familiar with could stand up to Christie's portrayal of them. Boy, was I wrong - and pleasantly so. I actually really, really enjoyed this book. The Monogram Murders is the story of a couple detectives in the heart of London who are faced with solving a case in which there are 3 bodies all found within the same hotel. The catch? They're all too similar. There's something fishy about it from the beginning, but as more and more clues are uncovered the more the picture begins to clear. It's not nearly as simple as once believed and, I have to say, I wasn't expecting the ending. So why didn't I give it 5 stars? I'm used to Christie's characters being a bit long winded and condescending, and Hannah did a fantastic job of carrying that over. However, I felt like toward the end it was just a hashing and rehashing of clues that we already basically knew. It's a picky thing, but it really took away from an otherwise really great flow of story telling. What did I think?: I really enjoyed The Monogram Murders and I thought that Hannah's ability to twist the story and make it into a truly complex tale really fascinating. I felt like I was there helping to piece together the puzzle and that made for an enjoyable read. Who should read it?: If you're a fan of Agatha Christie's style writing, her characters, or her ability to create complex scenes, I can't imagine that you wouldn't love this one. Any mystery fan I believe would take delight in reading this. WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    "One cannot do such harm to another and not wound one's own soul in the process." I'm leery of novels that seek to continue a series after an author is dead. This book is the first book to be sanctioned by the Christie Estate, granting permission for Sophie Hannah to continue the adventures of one Hercule Poirot. The book's plot is batshit crazy. I found myself racking my brain trying desperately to remember if Christie's murder plots were usually so amazingly insane.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Penelope Irving

    Oh dear - my second review of a book I've given up on. And if you give up on a murder mystery, that really says something about the author's failure to make that mystery compelling. I'm not going to go into great detail, because I struggled through only about half of this before losing the will to live. I don't blame the author for not reproducing Agatha Christie's style. She was a supreme genius of her own genre, and I think there would have been a place for 'fan fiction' set in the Oh dear - my second review of a book I've given up on. And if you give up on a murder mystery, that really says something about the author's failure to make that mystery compelling. I'm not going to go into great detail, because I struggled through only about half of this before losing the will to live. I don't blame the author for not reproducing Agatha Christie's style. She was a supreme genius of her own genre, and I think there would have been a place for 'fan fiction' set in the same universe and featuring some of the same characters, but well written in another style. Sadly, except on a superficial stylistic level, this is not well written. It's rambling, repetitious and filled with psychological and literal absurdities. Poirot is woefully out of character, for a start. But that isn't even as annoying as the new detective the author has created as a part-narrator and foil for the famous Belgian. Catchpool has to be the most ludicrously ineffectual detective ever employed by the Metropolitan Police. What a wuss. Absolutely unbelievably, he comes over all faint and girlie and decides to leave a triple murder scene - bodies in situ - overnight while he goes and has a lie down with some smelling salts? I mean, what? Even in the 1920s I'm sure the Met had better scene of crime procedures in place than that. He continues to demonstrate no behaviour remotely commensurate with his supposed occupation as a professional policeman, appears to be accountable to no superior officers at Scotland Yard, and lets Poirot do everything. And he broods on some trivial childhood trauma about his dead grandfather - why did he not get over himself years ago, during his police training and early experiences on the job? Police officers see all sorts of horrors day to day - and he seems to be gay, which apparently is never made explicit. But if the author was saving that up for a startling revelation in some sequel, I won't be gasping in shock and horror. I'm trying to analyse what it is that makes real Agatha Christie so clever and so readable, and contrast it to what we have here. One thing that occurred to me early on, while I was still giving the book a chance, is that often the murder itself (and Poirot's appearance) doesn't happen for many pages in. Sometimes, not until halfway through the book. Instead, we're introduced to the pool of suspects and the character who will before long become the murder victim. We get to know them and we're given reason to care about their fate. Here, a bunch of random people we've never heard of fetch up dead and I'm just not interested from the outset. I'll give it two stars since I didn't read until the end. Maybe it got better, although other negative reviewers suggest that the 'solution' is absurd and unbelievable. But this one is going back to Audible, I'm afraid. I think I'll swap it for one of the real thing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Sophie Hannah has done a great job in recreating Hercule Poirot. Its an engaging mystery that is intricately plotted. Catchpool is the policeman helping Poirot in this story. At a Coffee House, Poirot encounters a terrified woman, Jennie, who confides that she will be murdered and that she will have deserved it! At Bloxham Hotel, 3 bodies are discovered murdered, carefully arranged with an identical monogrammed cufflink in their mouths. Poirot is convinced there is a connection betwee Sophie Hannah has done a great job in recreating Hercule Poirot. Its an engaging mystery that is intricately plotted. Catchpool is the policeman helping Poirot in this story. At a Coffee House, Poirot encounters a terrified woman, Jennie, who confides that she will be murdered and that she will have deserved it! At Bloxham Hotel, 3 bodies are discovered murdered, carefully arranged with an identical monogrammed cufflink in their mouths. Poirot is convinced there is a connection between these murders and Jennie. The investigation leads to a village where all the dead had lived and where there was a double suicide of the vicar and his wife. It transpires most in the village had hounded the vicar and cast slurs on his reputation. The novel has a fabulous array of colourful characters from a well known artist, Nancy to the dubious Samuel Kidd. Sophie Hannah has handled this story and Hercule Poirot with aplomb and flair. She has written a compelling, twisted and gripping novel which kept me glued to the book. I hope she intends to write another! It is a great addition to the golden age of the detectives.

  14. 5 out of 5

    LG

    The Monogram Murders are solved, but I’m left with so many mysteries. So I’ll channel Poirot’s order and method, list my questions here, and hope this won’t deteriorate into just another fan rant. Unconcealed minor spoilers ahead: 1. Why, why Edward Catchpool? I know, I know – not original. But someone really needs to answer this. Most Christies, including iconic ones like Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, are not narrated by Captain Hastings, so there are plenty of precedents for The Monogram Murders are solved, but I’m left with so many mysteries. So I’ll channel Poirot’s order and method, list my questions here, and hope this won’t deteriorate into just another fan rant. Unconcealed minor spoilers ahead: 1. Why, why Edward Catchpool? I know, I know – not original. But someone really needs to answer this. Most Christies, including iconic ones like Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, are not narrated by Captain Hastings, so there are plenty of precedents for breaking the Golden Age convention of sidekick narrators. So why start this new series with one? Fans were sure to greet a new Poirot with some wariness, let alone a brand-new, infuriating Watson. 2. Where’s Japp? He’s not Scotland Yard’s brightest spark either, but at least he’s likable. He’s in Black Coffee, which is also set in 1929, and he’s Chief Inspector. Why wouldn’t he put himself in charge of a gruesome triple murder at one of London’s most fashionable hotels? Not credible. 3. What’s the point of the italicized refrain from Catchpool’s darkest memory, since he explains the whole thing in Chapter 4? This took up unnecessary pages and, with the immediacy of the murders and the lack of rapport between the two leads, created too noirish an atmosphere for a Christie mystery. Catchpool is too hung up on himself. Not good when you’re the new guy who has to prove himself to his associate’s fans. 4. Why must Poirot mention Hastings, late in the book and for a truly trivial reason? This just rubs salt deep into the wound. 5. Why did we get the entire sonnet? A poem is an invitation to analysis, and a sonnet has a dozen times the potency of ordinary verse. And a Shakespearean sonnet? My little grey cells fried themselves trying to figure out the couplet, when all I needed to get were the two words in the first quatrain. (view spoiler)[Even if the couplet does describe how Patrick’s “suspect of ill” (adultery) lost him the love of “kingdoms of hearts” (all the townsfolk), I know I’m just overanalyzing the stupid thing. (hide spoiler)] But my brain was all keyed up! It was going to solve the sonnet no matter how irrelevant all that iambic pentameter was! 6. Why Margaret Ernst? (view spoiler)[She never met the Ives, and yet she spends the church’s money on the sonnet and then the rest of her life keeping vigil … because she’s in love? What a saint. More likely, she’s just a human Google for the, frankly, lame and lazy inspector. He even confesses he doesn’t like villages. (hide spoiler)] A great pantheon of Great Holling villagers could have taken Margaret’s place – dubious characters like Stoakley who could rival the “who’s who” of Christie’s St. Loo or King’s Abbot. Instead, most of the Great Hollingers we meet are dead or in London or hiding from Catchpool, or some combination of the three. 7. Is Ambrose Flowerday some kind of in-joke? (view spoiler)[Thanks to James B. Sheppard, doctors are Usual Suspect No. 1, and Flowerday becomes even more suspicious than usual when he’s kept well out of view until the end, thanks to Catchpool’s nonsensical promise not to interview him. Not to mention those sinister italics about the doctor from the unnecessary childhood memory. Then Flowerday is revealed to be completely harmless – not to mention utterly irrelevant. And he ends up in the final romantic pairing that’s one of the hallmarks of a Christie mystery. (hide spoiler)] Is Hannah having a laugh? 8. Why invite all of London to the dénouement? OK, not all of London, but it’s clearly not a high-security event or Fee Spring wouldn’t have got in. (view spoiler)[Then all of London gets to watch Poirot fail, fail to prevent a fourth homicide – the fatal stabbing of a famous artist, no less, which happens right before their very eyes. Hello … Scotland Yard?? That’s why the unmasking of the killer is done in a closed circle! (hide spoiler)] And it isn’t the only dénouement either. The second one is straight out of Midsomer Murders, which I love dearly but, here, is overkill – sorry for the pun. 9. (view spoiler)[Why did we have to spend any energy on the cufflinks when, after more than 350 pages, the monogram has nothing to do with the murders? The fact that all the victims come from Great Holling should be enough to move the plot from hotel to village, where some other device could enable Catchpool to discover their relationship to PJI. And that two trios from the same village (Harriet, Ida and Richard; and then Nancy, Kidd and Jennie) could be so twisted and cavalier creates a tone that’s just so wrong. (hide spoiler)] Related question: Weren’t there so many italicized revelations that they seemed to be a parody of the real, endearingly over-the-top Christie hallmark? Ditto Poirot’s lapses into French. 10. Which is longer: the book or this list? A classic whodunit welcomes us into friendly competition with the sleuth, but this one was so convoluted it seemed to be trying to lose me. By the time Poirot’s celebrated cerebrum started to piece the puzzle together, I had pretty much given up. (view spoiler)[All I had were pieces – Sam Kidd’s voices, Dorcas’s coffee, Jennie’s damsel-in-distress act, Richard Negus’ being bogus – and as the page count mounted, my interest plummeted. (hide spoiler)] One does not want to have to write things down while reading a murder mystery. The Bloxham might be a 5-star hotel, but its book needed to be heavily renovated to get the same rating from me. I know I’m not supposed to read it as an actual Christie, but Poirot is not just some James Bond. His creator’s style is inseparable from his appeal; it’s what makes the little egg-head what he is. Without it, it’s like imagining him being played by someone other than David Suchet! Sacré.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aditi

    “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within--not without." ~ Poirot Hercule Poirot returns to life, 38years after being killed off by his creator, Agatha Christie in Curtain, in Sophie Hannah's new book, The Monogram Murders, who is the bestselling writer of contemporary psychological crime thrillers. That short-height, Belgian man with a mustache, who trusts in his gray cells more than what he is made to believe in, is back with a fresh new adventur “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within--not without." ~ Poirot Hercule Poirot returns to life, 38years after being killed off by his creator, Agatha Christie in Curtain, in Sophie Hannah's new book, The Monogram Murders, who is the bestselling writer of contemporary psychological crime thrillers. That short-height, Belgian man with a mustache, who trusts in his gray cells more than what he is made to believe in, is back with a fresh new adventure in London. But unfortunately, Poirot's new leash of life simple left me disappointed. I was jumping with joy, when I got the opportunity to read this book, but unfortunately it failed my excitement and anticipation. Synopsis: Poirot runs into a woman in a coffee parlor who confides in him that her life is in danger and that he should not look for the killer, when three guests are murdered in the most posh and reputable hotel in London. And all three were murdered in the similar fashion- poisoned to death and a monogram signed as "PIJ" is put between their lips. Scotland Yard investigator, Catchpool and Poirot jumps into the scene and starts building the puzzle which left everyone shocked and scared to death. Who is this woman in the coffee shop? And why continuously Poirot's mind is bugging with this mysterious woman's whereabouts? Will she be the fourth one to be murdered? From the blurb itself, the book sounds compelling, but once I started reading, I found my mind diverting away a lot of times. Well honestly, the book started very poorly, Poirot didn't strike me with his remarkable demeanor. The characters were well-developed, also the mystery was very brilliantly unfolded. But after reading so many Christie's book, I was expecting the book to be one of her creation, and that was my mistake! Remember, this is not Agatha Christie's book, this book is written by Sophie Hannah, so don't expect it to turn out to be another Agatha Christie novel. The plot is a complete pot-boiler, millions of twists and turns which will leave your brain more twisted if you try to build the puzzle, so guys leave it to Poirot, he will guide you with his brilliance to the end of the complicated maze. Poirot's charm is unmatchable but still the author has captured it quite vividly. The best news is that Poirot is back, and I think he is going to stay around a bit by surprising us with new adventures. Although I never read any of Sophie's books before, but I think her writing is quite crisp and emphatic and I will not compare her with Christie. Sophie has got some aura in her chosen words to pen down the tale and also her narration is very articulate. The huge cast of characters that Sophie has created is tastefully spun and their depth was eventually unrolled with the progress of the plot. Such a grueling plot is hard to miss, but then again people are judging this book based on Agatha Christie's Poirot. Oui! But this is entirely Sophie's creation and she has successfully delivered her key character to her readers. The cons would be at times, I felt I could not connect with the plot. Also at some places, I felt like I was losing interest due to introduction of too many unnecessary details. The book could have easily been made much shorter and some scenes and events could be easily avoided from the plot! Yeah! Boring Alert! at least in more than 10 chapters. Read this intriguing book, if you merely enjoy reading a good detective novel. But if you are reading with hope that you might find Christie's once remarkable and notorious character Hercule Poirot then you can easily give this book a miss! Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Sophie Hannah, for giving me the opportunity to read and review her book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Harsha Priolkar

    Disappointing :( I so wanted this book to whisk me back to Poirot heaven! Wasn't to be! The first chapter which was released earlier than the book seemed promising enough and yet the book let me down. I must admit at the outset though that I ADORE Poirot as Christie created him and so am definitely biased in my views! The mystery itself was not too bad...but the rambling nature of the narrative especially toward the end was extremely irritating. Also...what is with Inspector Catchpool Disappointing :( I so wanted this book to whisk me back to Poirot heaven! Wasn't to be! The first chapter which was released earlier than the book seemed promising enough and yet the book let me down. I must admit at the outset though that I ADORE Poirot as Christie created him and so am definitely biased in my views! The mystery itself was not too bad...but the rambling nature of the narrative especially toward the end was extremely irritating. Also...what is with Inspector Catchpool? Why is he even in Scotland Yard? He has no meaningful contributions to make and doesn't even use the Yard's resources to solve the mystery. He's obsessed by a dark childhood memory which I found frankly pathetic and nowhere near as traumatic as the author would have me believe...if Hannah wanted to give him a crutch, she should at least have given him a good one! Christie would have! The only character I liked in the book and was sorry to see so little of was 'Fee'- she at least showed some spirit! The only part where I felt Hannah was comfortable was when she was describing the village of Great Holling and the events that occurred there. Otherwise for the most part, it felt like this wasn't quite the right fit of author and subject. Sad that :( And my beloved Poirot...he 'was' but 'wasn't quite', if you get my meaning. It was like he was hovering on the author's consciousness but never fully materialised. And no sirop de cassis?!! Coffee instead? Sacrilege! :P The interaction between Catchpool and Poirot is not a patch on the friendship between Hastings and Poirot or even the witty rivalry between Japp and Poirot! Those felt real and authentic, this one feels contrived and foisted...I can only blame the poor characterisations for this. A pity really...such an easy problem to fix. I haven't read Hannah before and I'm unlikely to read her other work now given this book. I hope they don't continue with this experiment...or if they do...I hope Hannah decides to get rid of Catchpool and bring back Hastings or at least Ms. Lemon - both perfect foils to Poirot. One great thing though, this book made me appreciate Christie's genius once again - Fervently!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin M

    I really wanted to like this. I wanted to move past the initial premise of someone who was glaringly not Agatha Christie daring to casually revive M. Poirot like it's no big deal at all. (IT IS A MASSIVE DEAL BY THE WAY AND IT'S NOT EVEN ENDEARINGLY BALLSY) Anyway, what went wrong: Catchpool This was the worst example of a Scotland Yard detective (that we're supposed to like) that I have ever figuratively come across. He's shallow, lazy, demotivated and for no fucking good reason. There is/>

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzanna

    I was obviously not expecting this book to read like a real Christie, and I was not expecting a pitch perfect Poirot. However, I did not expect that this book was going to be actually terrible. The lack of any real period atmosphere, the cardboard cutout Poirot, the incredibly clunky storytelling, the absolutely idiotic narrator, and the nonsensical, overly complicated, and totally unbelievable mystery and solving by Poirot, who jumps to extreme conclusions more ridiculously than Christie's Poir I was obviously not expecting this book to read like a real Christie, and I was not expecting a pitch perfect Poirot. However, I did not expect that this book was going to be actually terrible. The lack of any real period atmosphere, the cardboard cutout Poirot, the incredibly clunky storytelling, the absolutely idiotic narrator, and the nonsensical, overly complicated, and totally unbelievable mystery and solving by Poirot, who jumps to extreme conclusions more ridiculously than Christie's Poirot (usually) ever did, all while leaving out huge gaps from the reader in a way Christie never needed to; this book went wrong in too many places to be redeemable. Arguably, several of these elements are present in Christie's mysteries from time to time, but they're usually still so enjoyable you don't notice, unlike here. I went into this with low expectations - I mean, I don't think anyone would think Agatha could really be imitated - but I didn't expect it to be such a waste of time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Heavy handed. Clumsy. Overwritten. Unsubtle. But the greatest sin is that it's boring. Everything that Agatha Christie was most certainly not. A travesty. No. That is all.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This Hercule Poirot mystery, written by Sophie Hannah, emulates the style of Agatha Christie. As the story opens Poirot is enjoying a meal at Pleasant's Coffee House in London when an agitated woman rushes in. Poirot soon makes her acquaintance, learning that her name is Jennie and that she believes she'll soon be killed - and that she deserves to die. Later that night three people are found dead in three separate rooms of the ritzy Bloxham Hotel, each body neatly laid out with a monogrammed cuf This Hercule Poirot mystery, written by Sophie Hannah, emulates the style of Agatha Christie. As the story opens Poirot is enjoying a meal at Pleasant's Coffee House in London when an agitated woman rushes in. Poirot soon makes her acquaintance, learning that her name is Jennie and that she believes she'll soon be killed - and that she deserves to die. Later that night three people are found dead in three separate rooms of the ritzy Bloxham Hotel, each body neatly laid out with a monogrammed cufflink in his/her mouth. Poirot, concerned that the deaths are somehow connected with Jennie, investigates with Scotland Yard Inspector Edward Catchpool (who narrates the story in the style of Poirot's old sidekick Captain Hastings.) Poirot soon learns that all the victims are from the village of Great Holling and are well acquainted with each other. As the investigation proceeds Poirot talks to many witnesses, including the staff of the coffee house and hotel. He also dispatches Catchpool to talk to the residents of Great Holling. However, though Catchpool gleans some useful information, he's a lot like Captain Hastings - a rather dim chap who functions mostly as a character for Poirot to bounce thoughts off. The story has lots of characters, including the waitresses of Pleasant's Coffee House, the manager and employees of the Bloxham Hotel, and numerous citizens of Great Holling - who are reluctant to talk to Catchpool. Nevertheless the Scotland Yard detective discovers that something terrible happened fifteen years ago that led to the current deaths. I won't say more to avoid spoilers. In typical Christie style Poirot figures out what happened and assembles the usual suspects to explain everything and reveal the perpetrator. Unfortunately Hannah doesn't really capture Christie's writing style and the story feels dragged out. Worse yet it leads to a denouement that's contorted, labored, and not believable. In short the book doesn't feel like a 'real' Agatha Christie and I wouldn't recommend it. You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/

  21. 4 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    ⚠ WARNING ⚠ I've only read the first 10% of this book because my brain was basically screaming for help by the time it took me to get there, and I happen to be kind of fond of my brain. If you think that's too little for me to be entitled to an opinion, I can see where you come from and you have my apologies. All the same, I'm going to say what I think. If it offends you, scroll down and read the next review. I have no idea why this thing was even written. I know for a fact that Sophie Hannah didn't int/>I ⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ I've only read the first 10% of this book because my brain was basically screaming for help by the time it took me to get there, and I happen to be kind of fond of my brain. If you think that's too little for me to be entitled to an opinion, I can see where you come from and you have my apologies. All the same, I'm going to say what I think. If it offends you, scroll down and read the next review. I have no idea why this thing was even written. I know for a fact that Sophie Hannah didn't intend to mimic Agatha Christie's style, and that's understandable, even though if I was in her shoes and that was my intention to begin with, I probably would have chosen to write something else altogether. Besides my not seeing the point, anyway, a personal choice is a personal choice, so let's not take into account the fact that the writing doesn't feel like Christie's at all. But how about Poirot not feeling like Poirot? I bet that's a bit more difficult to explain, isn't it? Because seriously, I have no idea who this guy is. And one would think that I would recognize him, after reading 30 books with him in them. (The original ones, of course. I'm not going to pick up Hanna's other Poirot book after this, even though I've already bought it.) Everything about Hannah's version of Poirot is just so off. Like one enjoying anonymity when in truth he's almost offended when people don't recognize his name. I'm not saying he would never do that or that it isn't possible that Christie herself wrote a line like this in some novel or short story (I highly doubt that, but I have no eidetic memory and haven't read all of Poirot's adventures yet; you never know); I'm only saying that to someone who is rather well acquainted with Poirot aka The Adorable Egg-Head, that sounds off, especially if it's like the very first thing you throw in your readers' face to characterize your main character. Another annoying thing was how every paragraph read like an useless info-dump. The thirty pages I've read could have been, like, fifteen and only gain from the cut. This is especially valid from chapter 2, when Catchpool makes his appearance. He is a homicide detective. Dead bodies make him sick. Also, I believe his middle name is Simona-doesn't-care. I abandoned this book because I couldn't stand to read it anymore, but I also abandoned it because, what's the point? There still something like six Poirot original novels which I haven't read yet and can experience for the first time, and even after that's done, I can always go back and reread the ones I don't remember very well. I'm not nearly as desperate as it takes to suffer through... this. And I bet none of you is either.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kortessa Giachanatzi

    Much better than the second one, Closed Casket. The second half made the book intersting. This one was quite close to Christie's writing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    M

    I'm giving this two stars instead of one for only these reasons: it contains some good, thought-provoking writing; it has a few well-drawn, interesting characters; and because of the first chapter. This was released a few days before the book itself and reading I had that same feeling as when settling down with an original Christie mystery, or watching the Poirot TV series: the feeling of entering a familiar, exciting world full of adventure and mystery. I thought it would be so wonderful if the re I'm giving this two stars instead of one for only these reasons: it contains some good, thought-provoking writing; it has a few well-drawn, interesting characters; and because of the first chapter. This was released a few days before the book itself and reading I had that same feeling as when settling down with an original Christie mystery, or watching the Poirot TV series: the feeling of entering a familiar, exciting world full of adventure and mystery. I thought it would be so wonderful if the rest of the book was as "Christie" as this first chapter. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is definitely Sophie Hannah. Poirot is portrayed convincingly and endearingly enough, but his detective skills are not up to par. I didn't feel there was any method or thoroughness in the way he, or the Scotland Yard detective who is his partner in this case, investigated the murders. One glaring example: there is no mention of the police checking the crime scenes for fingerprints! Since the people involved in the crimes are also not said to have worn gloves or wiped the stuff they touched, it means that had the police performed the basic routine of checking the fingerprints of these people against those found on the scenes, the case might have been solved from day one! I know fingerprints usually feature in Christie mysteries as false clues, but at least the police there are conscientious about investigating them and the murderers are smart enough not to leave them... Nowhere is this "new Poirot" as disappointing, however, as in the denouement of the mystery, which is after all what Agatha Christie is most famous for. It's true that I didn't guess who committed the "monogram murders", but only because I expected something rational and coherent. The solution was preposterous and involved the characters acting in a way that made no sense whatsoever! It was like the opposite of a Christie, where and apparently baffling and complex murder is shown to have a simple, logical reason... Oh, well, there is only one Agatha Christie.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    I liked the idea of having Agatha Christie back but no one is going to be approved enthusiastically for trying to step into her shoes, especially in the guise of Hercules Poirot. No matter how good they are, they will never be good enough. Sophie Hannah does an excellent job. I loved the book. I liked the idea of having Hercules Poirot back, even though it's not Agatha Christie.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Qube

    Ah! The thrill of reading a new Poirot mystery after decades! It kept me up much of the night and took me on a thoroughly enjoyable ride. Sophie Hannah does a good job of recreating the old magic by preparing a spaghetti bowl of clues and misdirections - a lot of both. She has constructed a pretty good Christie-like mystery. While it is not the same as an original, it is similar enough for her fans to enjoy it. She uses several of Christie's characteristic plot devices and ruses. Chri Ah! The thrill of reading a new Poirot mystery after decades! It kept me up much of the night and took me on a thoroughly enjoyable ride. Sophie Hannah does a good job of recreating the old magic by preparing a spaghetti bowl of clues and misdirections - a lot of both. She has constructed a pretty good Christie-like mystery. While it is not the same as an original, it is similar enough for her fans to enjoy it. She uses several of Christie's characteristic plot devices and ruses. Christie fans wiil enjoy many of them, and see through some. There is also a dark backstory that is so common in Christie Mysteries. The book itself is a tad longer than a typical Poirot mystery and perhaps a little more tangled. The combination of first-person and third-person felt strange, and the narrator of the first-person parts is quite a pain. His primary purpose seems to be make foolish observations, without being as endearing as Hastings or Watson. I felt the book would have been better without him. But I guess the author wanted a vehicle through which she could mess up the reader's thoughts. The ending is dark like some of Christie's less savoury mysteries. It was a little too twisted and long, and that robbed the book of an elegance that would have earned it a 5-star. My 4-star rating is essentially in gratitude of Sophie Hannah creating a good, Christie-like mystery, and offering me the opportunity to relive good times past. Thank you. I hope to see more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda Lou McCall

    IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!?! I can't even believe that ANYONE other than Agatha Christie would try to "write" a Hercule Poirot story! If an ordinary person could duplicate the genius of the most prolific mystery writer of all time, wouldn't we ALL try do it? I've read every Hercule Poirot mystery in print thus far. Some I bought in print version, then turned around and purchased the same titles on audiobook. I've read and listened to each Poirot book at least 5 times. I mourned when Poirot died IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!?! I can't even believe that ANYONE other than Agatha Christie would try to "write" a Hercule Poirot story! If an ordinary person could duplicate the genius of the most prolific mystery writer of all time, wouldn't we ALL try do it? I've read every Hercule Poirot mystery in print thus far. Some I bought in print version, then turned around and purchased the same titles on audiobook. I've read and listened to each Poirot book at least 5 times. I mourned when Poirot died in "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" - a true literary masterpiece! So where did this out-of-chronological mess come from with no familiar or recognizable characters? Let me see if I can tell prospective readers what is wrong with this book. Hmmmm.....how about EVERYTHING!? Although Sophie Hannah was given the "blessing" of the Christie estate to complete an unfinished Christie work, it did not "bequeath" to Hannah Ms. Christie's awesome talent. The beauty of Hercule Poirot is his supreme confidence without over arrogance, his quiet dignity, and his well-known fastidious in his dress, toilette, and famous mustaches. Here he is depicted as over-bearing, conceited, and OCD. The narrator doesn't even come close to sounding like Poirot. He can't seem decide if he's French, Belgian, French-Canadian, or Cajun!! And who is this awful Scotland Yard person? Where is Captain Hastings? He and Poirot made a great team while this new "partner" is confrontational, disrespectful, and is always bumping heads with the great Poirot. Really, Whatever-Your-Name-Is from Scotland Yard? He's so unlikeable and forgettable that I didn't even bother to catch his name! There are certain things in life that one doesn't mess with. NO ONE can sing "Respect" like Aretha Franklin, "Jailhouse Rock" like Elvis Presley, "My Way" like Frank Sinatra, dance like Fred Astaire, act like Bette Davis, smolder with sexuality like Elizabeth Taylor, or walk into a movie scene like Denzel Washington. There's no such thing as an "economy-priced" Maserati or a white boy who can rap like Eminem. There will be no more "wonders" like the Sphinx, Taj Mahal, or Grand Canyon. And no writer will ever be another Agatha Christie nor will there ever be a fictional detective to rival Hercule Poirot! Sophie Hannah must not have read "The Memo" - the rest of the literary world got it decades ago!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    It is nototriously difficult to emulate another person's work. There has been a spate of such attempts recently, with authors trying to copy Austen, Dickens & Conon Doyle - the only atempt I have read that was successful is Horowitz's attempt at recreating Holmes.Unfortunately, this attempt at bringing Poirot back to life has resulted in producing a cariacture of Christie's work rather than breathing life back into a character we all know and love. From the very first chapter, it is obvious It is nototriously difficult to emulate another person's work. There has been a spate of such attempts recently, with authors trying to copy Austen, Dickens & Conon Doyle - the only atempt I have read that was successful is Horowitz's attempt at recreating Holmes.Unfortunately, this attempt at bringing Poirot back to life has resulted in producing a cariacture of Christie's work rather than breathing life back into a character we all know and love. From the very first chapter, it is obvious this is not Poirot. He drinks coffee in an insalubrious coffee shop, stays in a cheap boarding house and travels on the bus - this makes me wonder if Hannah actually read any of the original Poirot novels or even watched any of the TV dramatisations (the screen writers for the ITV series and David Suchet's interpretation of the character is far superior in understanding Poirot than this work displays). Even the style of writing is devoid of Christie's style. Ms C believes in her characters and doesn't make fun of them, as Hannah mocks Poirot. Ms C also wrote to a specific format - our famous detective says in the last chapter or two 'mais non, but I have been so stupid", gathers the cast together and reveals all. Hannah's Poirot declares his own stupidity several times and the last 20% of the book is taken up by painfully slow, meandering and confused revelations. By the last chapter, I didn't give a rats fart whodunnit, I was bored to tears. I'm sure there have been far better attempts at recreating Christie's characters than this that have not been approved for publication. Why "The Monogram Murders" has been approved for publication is anyone's guess. For financial gain - undoubtedly. Unfortunately, this publication is going to be too great a temptation for Christie fans, as it was for me, despite reading the reviews warning me not to bother. Why the honour did not go to a more worthy attempt is beyond me. I won't bother advising Poirot fans not to bother.I would urge you to wait for the paperback issue or the price to drop on Kindle before going ahead with it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    Why try to resurrect a much-loved fictional character? As I was reading this book I couldn't help questioning why do this? Why try to recreate a fictional character many years after the character's and the author's demise? I must first say that I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. I have read every book she wrote, and some more than once. The books are wonderful-complex, tricky mysteries, wonderful characters and unusual settings. Why would Ms. Christie's descendents give their approval for another a Why try to resurrect a much-loved fictional character? As I was reading this book I couldn't help questioning why do this? Why try to recreate a fictional character many years after the character's and the author's demise? I must first say that I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. I have read every book she wrote, and some more than once. The books are wonderful-complex, tricky mysteries, wonderful characters and unusual settings. Why would Ms. Christie's descendents give their approval for another author to try to recreate the great Hercule Poirot with a new mystery book? And why would they pick an author that is not that well known to do it.? There are so many wonderful authors out there that have created mystery series with wonderful characters of their own, and these characters are recognizable to large numbers of people who are mystery aficionadoes like myself. I have never heard of Sophie Hannah, and after reading this parody of a book, I don't want to read any of her other books either. This mystery was so convuluted and confusing that I totally lost interest about halfway through. And Poirot was not the Poirot that I know and love and all. This character was a cariacature of the the wonderful Belgian detective. For example the "real" Hercule would not touch coffee. He was a tea and tisane drinker and would not drink any other hot beverages. In this book we first see this Poirot sitting in a coffee house enjoying a cup of coffee. I knew from there that this was no Agatha Christie writing this book. Don't waste your time with this book. It's a real disappointment.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot is given new life in the quite capable hands of Sophie Hannah. Her first Poirot story is full of period atmosphere & she does a great job in giving the reader the Belgian detective they know & love. It's so easy to fall into the trap of writing a caricature of Poirot, but Hannah avoids this & the book feels like one Christie could have written herself. The plot is nicely constructed at first, but soon becomes a bit convoluted. Mind yo Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot is given new life in the quite capable hands of Sophie Hannah. Her first Poirot story is full of period atmosphere & she does a great job in giving the reader the Belgian detective they know & love. It's so easy to fall into the trap of writing a caricature of Poirot, but Hannah avoids this & the book feels like one Christie could have written herself. The plot is nicely constructed at first, but soon becomes a bit convoluted. Mind you, even Christie herself fell foul to this at times. There's a good first half & a weaker second act, but it is still a good effort & a light & enjoyable read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ova - Excuse My Reading

    How nice it is to get our beloved witty Belgian back. Could we thank Sophie Hannah enough? OK. I won't lie. It's not a duplicate of what Agatha Christie offers but it is nearly as good as Christie. If anyone can pull a Poirot mystery together - that would have been Hannah. Her clever, complicated plots never disappoint. Highly recommended for Poirot fans.

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