Peril at End House, the eighth book in the Hercule Poirot cozy mystery series, was selected as the next book to read in the April 2018 Agatha Christie Readathon that I'm hosting on my blog at This Is My Truth Now. Four weeks of books from all her different series and lots of fun with her canon. I'm really glad this book won the poll as I hadn't read it before. And who wouldn't love a book with a title containing the words 'peril' and 'end' ?
Poirot has never been more sarcastic and witty than in this book. It's charming but at the same time, if he said the things to me that he says to his sidekick, I'm not sure I'd turn the other cheek so quickly. But it makes his complex personality all the more interesting and readable! It's always amusing to see how he falls into the capers he investigates... in this one, he stumbles upon a woman who thinks she's just been hit with a tiny piece of falling debris, but it's a bullet. Then he learns someone is trying to kill her -- unsuccessfully three times prior to this experience. Who has that kind of luck? Both the victim for surviving all the attempts and the villain for not succeeding.
The cast is a great size in this mystery. There are a number of servants, guests and friends in the house where main character, Nick, a woman with little remaining family, is trying to find her way. In typical Christie fashion, the suspicion is cast on everyone from Nick's suitors to her cousin, her best friend to her lawyer. Or is there a team of killers? It gets more complex as we learn she was set to inherit more money than even she'd known about; now there's a motivation to kill, Poirot thinks. What if it's not about the money you currently have, but the money you're set to get... so let's kill off a few people in a row and make that chain happen more quickly. I'm not giving away any spoilers here, this is discussed fairly early on in the novel. But knowing that makes the details even more delicious. So does the different types of romance happening in the book, as well as the visit from the Australian couple who seem to know something more than they are letting on! So many wonderful little nuggets in this 100-year-old detective wonder. It's a bit sad, too, when you see what happens at the end. People are complicated and really need guidance in life, and it was interesting to see how Poirot can fill that role sometimes.
My only slight concern with this one and why I give it a ~4 is that the ending was a little confusing at the same time as open to a bit of interpretation. I can't say more than that without giving thigns away--and it's still a strong mystery--but I like my Poirot answers to be more concrete. He always leaves a few dangling threads but I was afraid if I pulled too hard on this one, I'd be left with a rather stringy garment, and who wants that? All in all, I'm really happy with this one. Descriptions are spot on and witty. I felt like I was at the house. The fireworks made it more spooky. The mysterious cousin who was really never intended to be there makes things even more interesting, especially when you learn some interesting facts about this family and their history.
My favorite part was the list of suspects draw out in the book like a chart... really pulls it together, but also helps readers decide for themselves whodunit?!?! I may have to re-read them all this summer when I have a bit more time! Thanks to everyone participating on the blog with this Readathon!
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (September 24, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008129525
- ISBN-13: 978-0008129521
- Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 1.6 x 13 cm
- Shipping Weight: 141 g
- Customer reviews: 1 customer rating
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11.355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)