February 20, 2019

Book Review: The Hollow by Agatha Christie

The Hollow

by Agatha Christie

Genres: Crime, Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Length: 299 pages
Published: August 30, 2011 (Originally published in 1946)
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Official Book Summary:

"Lady Angkatell, intrigued by the criminal mind, has invited Hercule Poirot to her estate for a weekend house party. The Belgian detective's arrival at the Hollow is met with an elaborate tableau staged for his amusement: a doctor lies in a puddle of red paint, his timid wife stands over his body with a gun while the other guests look suitably shocked.

But this is no charade. The paint is blood and the corpse real!

Christie described this novel as the one 'I had ruined by the introduction of Poirot'" It was first published in 1946 in London. In the USA it was published under the title Murder after Hours. Christie adapted the novel for the stage though with the omission of Hercule Poirot."

Quote:

"What alchemy there was in human beings."

Alternate cover

Excerpt:

"Midge gazed sternly at her. How maddening, how absolutely impossible Lucy was! Really, thought Midge, I don't know why we put up with her!

Yet even as she voiced the thought to herself, she was aware of the answer. Lucy Angkatell was smiling, and as Midgle looked at her, she felt the extraordinary pervasive charme that Lucy had wileded all her life and that even now, at over sixty, had not failed her. Because of it, people all over the owlrd, foreign potentates, ADCs, Government officials, had endured inconvenience, annoyance and bewildernment. It was the childlike pleasure and delight in her own doings that disarmed and nullified criticism....

'About the weekend? Why? What's wrong with it?'

Lady Angkatell sat down on the edge of the bed. It was not, Midge thought, like anyone else sitting on your bed. It was as insubstantial as though a fairy had poised itself there for a minute.

Lady Angkatell stretched out fluttering white hands in a lovely, helpless gesture.

'All the wrong people coming--the wrong people to be together, I mean....'"


My Book Review:

In Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel The Hollow, the Angkatell's extended family and a couple close friends gather at their family estate, The Hollow, during a summer holiday. Some come willingly, and others not.

Dr. John Christow is happy to be there with both his wife, Gerda, and his mistress, until the long-lost love of his life appears as well. With all three present, Christow contemplates which of the three women he truly loves most (or at least loves most at the moment). Neighboring private detective, Hercule Poirot, has been invited to the family gathering as well, but arrives to The Hollow just minutes after a murder. It is up to him to piece together the truth behind the murder and the identity of the killer.

As with some Poirot novels, Christie enjoys crafting a lengthy exposition with rising action as introduces readers to her main characters--the assortment of men and women who will compile the possible suspects in the murder. Though this is not an unusual move, it does seem somewhat atypical just how long it takes Poirot to appear in The Hollow--almost halfway through the novel. As explained in the book's summary above, Christie believed she should have completed the novel without her famed, Belgian detective arriving onto the scene at all. As a massive fan of Poirot but a larger fan of Christie herself, she definitely could have made the novel work without him, but it's fine with him arriving on the scene as well. As it stands, Poirot's entrance initiates the path to discovering the truth behind this family's motivations and their untold secrets.

The setting and characters were interesting, but overall the story was not as complicated nor as shocking as it could have been. There were a couple of surprises, but I correctly guessed one of the major plot points; since I'm usually wrong, there was something disappointing in being right, as if Christie should have made the murder plot more difficult to piece together.


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