Multiple murders. Concealed motive. Part played.
At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die…Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor’s house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison — just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was absolutely no motive!
I came by this book when grabbing a load of Agatha Christie’s from my local bookstore Xanadu. You can see some of the books I have got here previously here.
I purchased the book primarily because when I glanced at the blurb my eyes leapt at the simple word “Poirot” as I absolutely adore Hercule in both the books and in the TV series played by David Suchet. I didn’t really realise what the book was really about until deciding to read it.
This book had a interesting starting – it was difficult to know whether it was real or a play but it was obvious that this book had strong links to theater and that this would be a central theme throughout the novel. Eventually I realised that what was going down in the book was not just in a play – it was really happening.
The plot was excellent with the first murder occurring early in the piece: a Vicar Stephen Babbington who died by nicotine poisoning but unknown means of consuming the poison. Later, another murder occurs which I won’t tell the details as this is for the readers to find out.
This book was set out in traditional Agatha fashion, dividing the novel into readable chapters from examining the evidence to questioning the suspects. Poirot took a back seat in this novel to make way for the protagonists: Sir Charles Cartwright, Mr Satterwaite and Egg Lytton Gore, with Sir Charles taking over as playing the “great detective”. These protagonist were deep characters with each having a different agenda in solving the case.
The book was written in a style of simple language with some, not buckets loads, of description.
The best part about Agatha Christie stories is that they follow a predicable set out: the murder takes place, the protagonist find evidence and clues, suspects are questioned, protagonist are stumped and finally Poirot brings all the suspects together in that oh so compelling revealings of the truth when the murderer is announced. This book did not disappoint. Early on in the story I made my pick of who I thought the murderer was, only to be proven wrong with someone I should have suspected earlier. The motive was something Agatha doesn’t often use and I never would have guessed it. How did she come up with these puzzling plots!?
This book was awesome, and funnily enough a love story was at the center of it. I have given it 5/5 as it was compelling and so interesting in the way in which Christie goes into the psychology of each character. The theme of acting played a huge part (pardon the pun) and gave more depth to the plot. Poirot closes the case and the murderer and motive is revealed, which was completely unforeseen. I don’t know why this book hasn’t had more esteem. It should be on the ranks with Murder On The Nile, and in my opinion is better than Murder On The Orient Express.
As suspected this book contains mentions of murder, duh! Also, mention of love affairs and a brutal scenes. May be triggering for some.
Poirot, how could this little man with the sleek mustache and the little grey cells not be your favorite?
In all the world there is nothing so curious and so interesting and so beautiful as truth.Poirot
The final line of this book is especially one of my favorites but for the purpose of spoiler free content I will not mention it.matfiction
What’s In A Name?
Three act tragedy is just that – a THREE act tragedy. Did you catch my drift, I promised to be spoiler free. The fact that the title involves the word “act” is that it is implying the nature of the novel being set around plays and people playing their part. Tragedy is simply because the novel is a tragedy, people die.
QFTR (Question For The Readers)
- Have you read an Agatha Christie novel? What is your favorite?
- Did you see the end coming?
- How did you appreciate the interwoven themes of acting and actors playing their part?
- If you have any questions or don’t understand the plot just ask me below.