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Hercule Poirot Mysteries #20
Goodreads⎮Reviewed Dec. 2017
Narrator: Hugh Fraser
Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
Publisher: Harper Audio⎮2017
Synopsis: Christmas Eve, and the Lee family’s reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.
When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man….
4 ★ Audiobook⎮ I heard Murder On the Orient Express around Thanksgiving and enjoyed it so much that I vowed to hear more Agatha Christie soon. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas presented the perfect opportunity to hear another Christie novel as well as a holiday tale. It turned out to be more of one than the other, but I’m still pleased with this relatively brief listen.
Agatha Christie has proven herself to be more than capable of telling a complete story in just a few hours time. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was a perfect holiday listen, not because it was filled with holiday cheer, but because its brevity allowed it to fit into my jam-packed holiday schedule. I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to find time for audiobook listening during the holidays, but Hercule Poirot’s Christmas was not only a quick listen, but an easy listen as well.
I’ll admit I was hoping for a little more “cozy”, but I guess that’s not Christie’s style. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of holiday atmosphere, especially considering that the title is Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. The holiday itself played very little into the setting or plot. Aside from the title and the fact that Christmas was the reason for the family reunion the plot centers around, this could have been any other time of year. That’s not a huge detraction, but I was hoping this story would help enhance my Christmas spirit.
As for the mystery itself, I feel like this one was a bit more obvious than Murder On the Orient Express. Still, it had me debating right up until the big reveal. And, what a reveal! Classic Poirot. I’m getting more of a sense of his character now and it’s only compelling me to hear more of his mysteries.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is the 20th book in the series and Murder On the Orient Express was the 10th, so I’m definitely reading these out of order. But that’s another fantastic thing about the series: Each installment truly stands on its own. I don’t remember hearing any references to previous installments, so it’s possible Christie planned it this way.
The Hercule Poirot Mysteries will be one of those series that I return to whenever I’m in the mood for a solid mystery, without the pressure of having to hear the series in its entirety.
Narration review: Although this was my second Hercule Poirot mystery, it was my first time hearing Hugh Fraser’s narration. He is apparently well known for having narrated the entire Hercule Poirot series and even though this is a series that has been covered and recovered by many voice actors, it seems that Fraser is a fan favorite.
Fraser’s dynamic voice allowed him to be quite colorful in his characterizations, which helped my understanding of the plot tremendously. His accents were exceedingly well-done, especially the South African accent, which I was previously unable to recognize. I’m looking forward to many more of Hercule Poirot’s mysteries with Fraser at the helm. ♣︎