The Murder on the Links is the second Agatha Christie novel to feature her infamous detective, Hercule Poirot. Having solved The Mysterious Affair at Styles Poirot has been summoned to France in the form of a mysterious plea from a man who is in fear for his life, but refuses to say what it is he is so scared about. However when Poirot – with Captain Hastings in tow – arrives in France he finds the dead body of his client and a perplexing mystery that has more twists and turns than a hedge maze. Poirot is beginning to pick up clues, clues that the French detective dismisses as ridiculous, but before he can make any dramatic revelation, another body turns up to throw a spanner in the works.
As always with Christie novels, this is going to be a review centred on how much I love Agatha Christie and how I can always rely on her novels to cheer me up and provide a cosy, comforting read. I broke from the norm slightly with this book and although I didn’t manage to guess the murderer, I did a good job at theories about why the man was killed in the first place. Actually as I look back on that last centre, I guess it isn’t really breaking from the norm, as is usually guess something, but never come to the real conclusion, which in guess is the beauty of Christie’s writing in the first place.
The Murder on the Links did open my eyes a little to the character of Hastings. It is told from Hastings’ perspective, as is the first novel, and having read both of them fairly close together, they have changed my perception of Hastings. From the TV programme, I have this image of Hastings as bumbling English gentleman sidekick to Poirot, I certainly never had him down as a flighty lothario. In the first two novels Hastings falls in love and proposes to two different women, one of whom makes him lie to Poirot – horror upon horror! I find it interesting how TV adaptations can influence your perception of literary characters and I certainly wouldn’t have thought this of Hastings from the times I have seen him in the programme, but then again maybe I’m too involved in the crime to pay that much attention to his love life. And again as I type this I am thinking that maybe I did have an inkling of his romantic liaisons, it is just reading that has brought this to the forefront of my mind.
Overall an enjoyable read, just as I expected. I am curious as to why The Murder on the Links is one of the novels said to be inspired by Christie’s time in Devon, but I’m sure I can solve my own mystery when I go on another holiday there in the summer.