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Appointment with Death Hardcover – Facsimile, 3 January 2007
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A facsimile first edition hardback of the exotic Poirot book, based on Agatha Christie’s own travels in the Middle-east with her archaeologist husband.
Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sat the corpse of Mrs Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist was the only sign of the fatal injection that had killed her.
With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: ‘You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?’ Mrs Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he’d ever met…
To mark the 80th anniversary of Hercule Poirot's first appearance, and to celebrate his renewed fortunes as a primetime television star, this title in a collection of facsimile first editions is the perfect way to experience Agatha Christie. Reproducing the original typesetting and format of the first edition from the Christie family's own archive, this book sports the original cover which has been painstakingly restored to its original glory.
‘Twice as brilliant as Death on the Nile, which was entirely brilliant.’
About the Author
Agatha Christie is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in over 70 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 20 plays, and six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott.
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 000723449X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007234493
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The location them moves to the mysterious ancient ruins of Petra in Jordan, where the Boynton family are uncomfortably reunited with Drs King and Gerard, in the company of a handful of other tourists, including the indomitable Lady Westholme. Mrs Boyton's presence casts a shadow over them all, so it's something of a relief when she is found dead - apparently from natural causes.
But Dr Gerard is not so sure, and when he raises his suspicions with the authorities, good old Hercule Poirot, who happens to be staying with one Colonel Carbury, is at hand to get to the truth of the matter. And he has an interesting clue already at his disposal - the fact that he overheard two of the Boynton children in the hotel in Jerusalem discussing murdering the tyrannical old woman.
This is one of those Christie stories clearly taken straight from her own experiences travelling in the Middle East, which I always find rather thrilling. It is also one of her stories that has a big build up before we get to see the genius of the little Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, at work. The preamble is full of much delving into the psychology of the Boynton family through the conversations of Drs King and Gerard, and their observations on the interactions between the sadistic mother and her children/stepchildren. It is all perhaps a little overworked, but it does give a good picture of the lie of the land before the murder itself ups the place, particularly given the complexity of the red herrings Poirot takes you through before unveiling the killer.
Poirot, as usual, puts his little grey cells to good use to weed out the truth among all the dysfunctional 'psychologies' he loves to ponder on so much, and picks out the little clues that don't seem all that significant in the grand scheme of things, but are, of course, the very ones that point to the guilty party. He is especially methodical in solving this case, and indulges in his characteristic gathering of suspects to explain the hows, whys, and wherefores which I always love.
It has to be said that, although enjoyable, this is not one of my favourites, as it is a little lacking in stand-out characters for me. The greater part of the cast is taken up with the Boynton family who, beyond the clearly reprehensible Mrs Boynton herself, are all a little insipid. The romances are a bit lacklustre too. Poirot himself is as marvellous as ever though, although maybe a trifle judgemental given the thorough nastiness of the murder victim, and I do have a soft spot for old Colonel Carbury and his insistence on making the case neat and tidy.
The very best thing about this mystery is the exotic locations that Christie weaves into the tale. The backdrops and sense of history are glorious, and make up for the sameness of a big chunk of the characters. I also love the masses of misdirection she works into the story.
The setting of Jordan/Israel is obviously a little more exotic than a mews cottage or stately home, but for me, it lacked the romance of, say, Death on the Nile. There was also a fair bit of moving around, which made things a little messy and not the neat, hermetically sealed environment that the whodunnit branch of detective fiction genre requires.
Usually, Saint Christie gives us enough clues to solve the crime - at least in theory. However, I felt that the culprit in Appointment with Death could easily have been written in as an afterthought. To me the conclusion felt somewhat lazy.
A fun read, for sure, but not one of Agatha's best and hardly a stellar example of the genre that she usually owns.
The ending, as others have written, is flat, a disappointment.