Poirot Gets Sleuthing Again
Sophie Hannah’s third book in the Hercule Poirot series leaves you craving for Agatha Christie.By Remya Nair
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah is her third attempt at working with the character of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective. I shall, however, start with a warning. This is no Agatha Christie. In spite of all the reviews you read online about the book, this is no Agatha Christie. Read the novel with this presumption and you’ll be fine.
The story is about four suspects who have been wrongly indicted for murder, or so they claim. Two of them have strong suspicions on who would’ve framed them, or so they claim. A famous detective who has been accused of making false allegations, which he claims he didn’t. And in the middle of all this, you find yourself wondering – did a murder even take place for all this confusion (and your time spent for that matter) to make sense?!
And, that my friends, is how you feel two chapters into the novel. Two chapters are done and you still are not sure if there even IS a murder! A fairly well-written novel by internationally acclaimed writer Sophie Hannah, who has over 50 titles to her credit ranging from psychological thrillers and crime fiction to children’s works to poetry. Her forte is apparently creating well defined deep characters that add to a brilliant plot.
A brilliant plot, this is not. Twisted, yes. There are enough twists in the plot and revelations of their past to make you want to draw a chart. There are also characters that make no sense, their past neither revealed, their connection not established and their unusual behavior left unexplained.
But you would actually want to get to the end just to see if there is truly some clarity to the confusion created throughout the novel. And as you get to the end, the past that gets unveiled, the loose ends that tie up leave you wishing there was some more meat to the whole story. It’s how you’d feel when you make a long and tiring trek up a not particularly interesting hill with the sole promise of a breathtaking view at the top, but instead, all that greets you is barren land with no view to speak of and you are just glad that it is over. The reason behind the so-called act is more of an evil intent than the act itself. Which is a bummer? And apparently the intent needs to be punished. As quoted by a character, “There is a difference between an unforgivable act and an unforgivable character.”
Shaking your head still? I told you it is no Agatha Christie. It’s just poor old Poirot who took on a case just because he had some time to spare. What are the three quarters the title speaks of, one might ask? You’ll be asking this question even after the reason has been revealed during the course of the final chapters in the book. Why was such a name chosen? Now that is a mystery worth solving