I’ve talked before about discovering Agatha Christie in my teens. I snapped up faded copies of her books from second hand stores when home from University and devoured them. They’re books I’ve kept and—when I had hour-long* baths—were the perfect bath-reading fodder as I could easily read the exploits of Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot in a sitting.
I was excited when it was announced that Sophie Hannah would be reviving Poirot. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is the fourth book following Poirot’s resurrection. I commented in my review of Closed Casket that Hannah has a different style to Christie… the books are much longer, the crimes more complex and Poirot feels more verbose but it’s wonderful to be reunited.The Killings at Kingfisher Hill
by Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #4
Published by Harper Collins
Source: Harper Collins
Genres: Crime Fiction
Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank.
There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.
On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports' home with a note that refers to "the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in."
Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?
Poirot is joined by his friend Inspector Edward Catchpool from Scotland Yard again in this outing. It has to be said Catchpool is an entertaining narrator and full of self-deprecation.
I did comment previously that I would have actually liked to have seen Anthony Horowitz revive the series as I think his style is more suited to Poirot’s character (and I believe he was involved in the TV series) but Hannah is inhabiting Poirot’s character and idiosyncrasies more as the series progresses.
This is a satisfying read. We’re probably not entirely privy to the information we need to guess the whodunit part but that’s okay as it’s entertaining nonetheless. Interestingly my favourite character—who I’d soooo like to meet again—was the elderly aunt of one of the bit players. She provides Poirot with some useful information but is sassy, smart and delightful. It felt like she had the upper hand over Poirot who (despite his famous arrogance) seemingly cowered in her presence. In fact, I would love to see her (Hester Semley) in her own series…. a Miss Marple replacement kinda thing.
‘Please explain,’ said Poirot.
‘Well of course I’m going to explain!’ Hester Semley glared at him. ‘How could you begin to understand what I’m talking about if I didn’t explain? Really M. Poirot, I don’t know if you’re in the habit of conversing with people who lack the power of speech and comprehension or only tell you half a story—’
‘I am in the habit of trying to obtain as much information as possible from those who are determined to tells me as little as possible.’
‘I see. Well, I am trying to to tell you as much as possible so please do not interrupt me again…’
(Mic-drop! Rounds one, two and three to Hester!!!)
The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah was published in Australia by Harper Collins and now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
* ie. ‘short’ baths.