Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie

Title: Hallowe'en Party
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Harper
ISBN: 978-0-00-712068-0
Pages: 336
Series: Poirot #36
Type: Adult Mystery
Source: Purchased

Mystery writer Ariadne Oliver is at a children's Halloween party where rather unpopular girl named Joyce boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her she storms out of the party in a temper, but then her body is discovered a few hours later drowned in an apple bobbing tub. Ariadne calls in her dear friend Hercule Poirot who leaps at the chance to investigate the crime that could be a murder, or a double murder.

As a fan of both Halloween and mysteries I grabbed a copy of this last month in hopes of a seasonal read and was not disappointed. Admittedly I didn't read it until after I had watched the recent ITV adaption, which stuck pretty true to the book, but I still found the book really enjoyable. The plot was well thought-out and full of twists and turns. Some of the descriptions of what the teenage boys wear are particularly amusing 'a rose-coloured velvet coat, mauve trousers and a kind of frilled shirting.'

I haven't read many of Christie's books so I was a little thrown by references to past cases (The Labours of Hercules and Mrs McGinty's Dead in particular) but these weren't too prominent nor did they give spoilers. There are two returning characters: Superintendent Spence and Ariadne Oliver. Ariadne is my favourite character from the book. She teases Poirot continually and makes some great sarcastic comments, like "Put that in your moustache and smoke it".

The one thing I didn't really enjoy about the book was the intermittent references to the relaxed nature of the criminal justice system (it was written shortly after the abolishment of capital punishment) and criminals being sent to psychological institutions rather than prisons. It doesn't detract from the book, but it is a recurring theme that most of the characters express an opinion on at some point.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 48/50

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