After a serious fall down her stairs, Miss Emily Arundell writes to Hercule Poirot with suspicions that someone is attempting to murder her. Her fall is blamed on the dog, Bob and the ball he likes to push down the stairs, however with her money hungry family visiting, Emily is convinced the real culprit is among them. Could it be the fashionable and out-spoken Teresa? Or is her rakish brother, Charles to blame? There is always quiet, unassuming Bella, who has married a Greek doctor, but then again. After all she remembers putting Bob’s ball away herself. Unfortunately by the time Poirot reads Emily’s letter she is already dead, not from the fall, but from the liver disease that has plagued her for many years. Of course Poirot isn’t entirely convinced this is the case, especially when he discovers that Emily’s family do not benefit from the will, instead her companion, Miss Lawson does. He is anxious to discover the true culprit behind the fall and ensure that no one else comes to any harm; he is adamant that the guilty criminal could strike again.
I love Agatha Christie and I find she is one of my go to authors; when life is getting a tad stressful and I need some light relief I know I can depend on a Christie novel to cheer me up. Of course Dumb Witness is no exception. It is a novel I have never come across before, having never seen a TV adaptation or heard it mentioned in various readings. As always I failed to guess the murderer, well I had an idea but only in the last twenty pages and my motive was completely wrong. As I have said before this is part of the beauty of Christie’s writing, I like the idea of guessing and hoping that one day I will get it right. Perhaps the most memorable characters were Teresa and Charles, both of whom seemed to exude an attitude of rich and spoilt which contrasted well the the Victorian morals of Emily Arundell. The differences in attitudes and opinions of generations is always interesting and I quite like the idea of a rich, disapproving, old aunt in the country – it reminds me of Jeeves and Wooster, although slightly less jovial. A great read and one less book from my Poirot reading list.
Dumb Witness ticks boxes in three challenges; TBR Pile 2015; Reading the Twentieth Century and Reading England as some of the novel takes place in Berkshire. It is the first book on both my TBR Pile for the year and for Reading England so I am pleased to have gotten off the ground with these two challenges.