Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night

Books

Agatha Christie fans, rejoice: Sophie Hannah brings back famed detective Hercule Poirot in the riveting Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night, the latest entry in her authorized reboot of the iconic series. 

Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool (Hannah’s own invention) are taking on a new case, this time brought to them by Cynthia Catchpool, Edward’s mother. Even as she invites  them to celebrate Christmas with her, Cynthia enlists their help in solving a murder—and preventing another. Catchpool thinks his mother is only scheming to spend time with him, but Poirot senses something amiss and agrees to take on the case.

They travel to Norfolk, where a well-liked and amiable man was recently murdered in a busy hospital ward. Local officials have yet to figure out how the killer was able to escape unseen, and Cynthia’s friend Arnold is due to be admitted to that very ward. Arnold’s wife believes her husband will become the next victim, so Poirot and Catchpool are asked to unmask the killer before Arnold is admitted—and possibly murdered. When Poirot and Catchpool begin their investigation, they have high hopes for a neat solution and a quick return to London. But as they unravel the mystery, the sleuths realize there’s more than meets the eye with this case, and they may be closer than they realize to the killer.

Hannah’s biggest departure is in creating Inspector Catchpool to narrate the series while Poiroit’s traditional companion, Arthur Hastings, is presumably in Argentina. The addition of a new viewpoint character allows readers to see the Belgian detective from a fresh perspective while also allowing Hannah to establish her own voice, which she does with aplomb even as she effortlessly captures Poirot’s essence. And Catchpool is a likable narrator: intelligent; bitingly funny, especially when ruminating on his complicated relationship with his mother; and devoted to Poirot.

The mystery itself is reminiscent of Christie, too—meticulously plotted and engaging, with multiple likely suspects. Readers looking for another puzzling outing with the famed Hercule Poirot will be richly rewarded with this new installment.

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