Oh, Agatha Christie. It almost seems silly to write a review for one of her novels, and yet, it’s necessary in case someone who has never read one of her books might stumble upon it and, thereby, happen to pick one up.
There isn’t a writer or reader who could easily dismiss that she is the Grand Dame of mystery writing. Her characters are rich and well-created but, most importantly, her crimes are both brilliantly crafted and brilliantly solved. Each novel is full of deftly planted clues — clues that the reader is blind to until the mystery is solved, when it’s plain that they were there all along!
But each clue is nestled in a bucket of red herrings, including some red herrings that are revealed so subtly that the reader thinks that he or she is being clever and has noticed something amiss. Each novel is a brilliant puzzle that is rarely complete until the very last page.
In “Peril at End House”, we are reacquainted with one of her most popular characters, the brilliant, if foppish, Hercule Poirot. He and his good friend Lt. Hastings are taking a holiday and contemplating a retirement, all of which, of course, is soon to be rent asunder by the arrival of an attractive young woman whose life is in danger. Indeed, someone has been trying to kill her and this mystery assassin seems to be getting closer and closer to their mark.
Poirot and Hastings insist on helping this young woman identify her assailant and, truly, to give any more of the plot away would be an injustice to the prospective reader. Suffice it to say, the mystery is intriguing and the conclusion is truly a triumph of detective work and, thus, writerly skill.