Anyone taking on the task of taking Hercule Poirot and carrying on his tales is gong to always come in for some criticism – not least because it can never be the same. Very true but in a world where nothing is ever going to be the same, it is refreshing to revisit a familiar character doing what he does best – using the little grey cells to solve crime.
In this case, Poirot is waiting to board a coach to the Kingfisher Hill Estate. The coach is full and whilst he intends to sit with his friend and colleague Inspector Catchpool of Scotland Yard, the ramblings of a woman who thinks she will be killed if she sits a certain seat means that the journey Poirot and Catchpool take is very different.
Whilst one of them sits next to someone convinced they are going to be murdered, the other site next to someone who confesses to having done such a thing.
It is all very unsettling for Poirot, especially when the real reason for going to Kingfisher Hill is at the bequest of Richard Devonport. His fiancee is waiting to be hanged – for killing his brother Frank Devonport. The rest of the Devonport family are not to know why Poirot is really there.
But when another disclosure prevents Poirot from remaining undercover and unnoticed it seems that there is much to learn about the Devonport’s and the Kingfisher Hill Estate.
With numerous confessions, lies and truths littered throughout the book, it seems that it can only take Poirot to the right answer – which it turns out has been obvious from the beginning of his quest.
Can you see what Poirot can see?
Poirot’s nature, his use of his little grey cells, the way that his sidekick, Catchpool’s seemingly innocent in what is taking place round him and with some twists along the way, make it for an entertaining and intriguing read. Likeable and loathsome characters, changeable sympathies with the people along the way, the reader is drawn right in to the puzzling mystery.
If you can think of the best Christie you have read and team it with the best David Suchet Poirot adaptation you have seen then you have captured the essence of this book (and Hannah’s three previous Poirot novels). It works, don’t ask me how it just does.
Sophie Hannah’s novels are the closet we are ever going to get to wishing for more Agatha Christie stories – they are a must for all Golden Age Crime fans.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is out now.