Monday, April 12, 2010

Three Act Tragedy (1934) - a book starring Hercule Poirot - written by Agatha Christie

Another book in the line-up of Hercule Poirot books written by Agatha Christie. This book is also another of those books that had a different name in Great Britain ("Three Act Tragedy"), and a different name in the United States (Murder in Three Acts). In addition to Hercule Poirot, this was the Poirot novel featuring Mr. Satterthwaite (who featured in other books starring Mr. Harvey Quinn). The movie has one of those mysteries of Christie where there is some amount of misdirection to confuse the readers; the story is that of a dinner party with 13 people at dinner. And one of them dies - he is the vicar Reverend Stephen Babbington, dead after choking on his cocktail; yet an analyis of the drink does not reveal any poison, so maybe the death was accidental after all. And he was mild-mannered, with no ostensible enemies, and so no motive for anybody to murder him. Yet, this happens again, and again. So, there are murders happening.

One problem with this particular book is that this does not entirely seem to be Poirot's book; he does not seem to present in some parts of the books. The investigation is carried out in large stretches by a trio - an ageing actor, a young admirer of his, and the third man. They try to speak to witnesses, do the discussion and try to resolve the murders. In the end, when everything starts to come together, Hercule Poirot does the final bit of putting together of the various pieces of evidence along with the evidence arising from a third murder.
However, this is also a novel where you find Hercule Poirot doing something that he normally does not do, which is give an explanation about why he speaks in a way that people consider him very proud of himself, and his English is also a bit formal (his reason is that this makes people consider him more of a buffoon, not somebody very skilled, and there is a greater chance of under-estimating him and thus being less on their guard).

Three Act Tragedy (1935) - a book starring Hercule Poirot - written by Agatha Christie

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