The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

The first of Agatha Christie’s Poirot series from Sophie Hannah

Book blurb

The new Hercule Poirot novel – another brilliant murder mystery that can only be solved by the eponymous Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

Since the publication of her first book in 1920, Agatha Christie wrote 33 novels, two plays and more than 50 short stories featuring Hercule Poirot. Now, for the first time ever, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

In the hands of internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London – a diabolically clever puzzle that can only be solved by the talented Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

My thoughts

This is the first of what is now four Poirot mysteries by Sophie Hannah. I have not read any of the Agatha Christie Poirot books. Maybe this is why I am able to enjoy the Sophie Hannah books, I read without comparing.

Sophie Hannah writes well and only ‘knowing’ Poirot from the large and small screen I find Sophie’s Poirot quite believable and he is only a little less irritating than the screen versions of which I am not a great fan! One day I will have to read a Christie to see whether it is her character or just those portrayals that I dislike.

Instead of his usual sidekick – Captain Hastings – Sophie Hannah has created and brought in Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Certainly in this book he does not feel like a character that should be in charge of murder investigations and, indeed, Catchpool eludes to this himself in the book! He comes across as rather incapable but, hopefully, in future books this will right itself. I don’t recall when reading the third of these books being particularly concerned by this character.

On the other hand Fee – from Pleasant’s coffee house – is already a likeable character and I am pleased that she goes on to be in the other books.

The story is that of three deaths at a London hotel and Poirot’s concern for Jenny, who he meets in Pleasants, and has told him that she afraid implying someone is after her and yet she does not want to be saved or rather deserves what is coming.

It is quite a complicated plot and, perhaps, may have profited from being a little more direct in order to make the plot move along still it has not only the ‘whodunnit’ but the how did they do it element which lovers of Christie will appreciate.

So with this book I went back to the first of the series and it does show that Sophie Hannah grows into her role as the new Poirot mystery author having read a later one in the series. Nevertheless, I found it enjoyable and engaging. Is it possible that I may come to like M. Poirot? Perhaps not but I can certainly enjoy testing the ‘little grey cells’ in this credible series.

Book: Purchased

Previous books read in this series: The Mystery of Three Quarters

Here is a really interesting discussion on classic golden age crime fiction as part of SlaughterFest it’s introduced by Karin Slaughter, chaired by Martin Edwards chatting with Sophie Hannah, Ruth Ware, Kate Weinberg and Lucy Foley.

This was the book club read for November. For all information about the Virtual Crime Book Club visit The Virtual Crime Book Club where you will find links to our zoom meetings, how to sign up and much more.

Information

Imprint: HarperCollins (May 21, 2015)

Buy: Your local bookshop | Waterstones | AmazonSmileUK

Author: Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer. Her crime novels have been translated into 34 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie’s death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. Sophie’s novels The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-level throughout the UK. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, two children and dog.

Sophie Hannah’s website | @sophiehannahCB1 |Sophie Hannah AmazonSmileUK

Books

Fiction – Little Face | Hurting Distance | The Point of Rescue | The Other Half Lives | A Room Swept White | Lasting Damage | Kind of Cruel | The Carrier | The Orphan Choir | The Telling Error | Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen | A Game for All the Family | The Narrow Bed | Did You See Melody? | Haven’t They Grown

Hercule Poirot mysteries – The Monogram Murders | Closed Casket | The Mystery of Three Quarters | The Killings at Kingfisher Hill

Non-Fiction – How To Hold A Grudge | Happiness: A Mystery—and 66 Attempts to Solve It

For a full and updated list of Sophie Hannah’s books UK and US titles check out SophieHannah BOOKS

THE AGATHA CHRISTIE COLLECTION

Mysteries – The Man in the Brown Suit | The Secret of Chimneys | The Seven Dials Mystery | The Mysterious Mr Quin | The Sittaford Mystery | The Hound of Death | The Listerdale Mystery | Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

Parker Pyne Investigates – Murder Is Easy | And Then There Were None | Towards Zero | Death Comes as the End | Sparkling Cyanide | Crooked House | They Came to Baghdad | Destination Unknown | Spider’s Web* | The Unexpected Guest* | Ordeal by Innocence | The Pale Horse | Endless Night | Passenger To Frankfurt | Problem at Pollensa Bay | While the Light Lasts

Poirot – The Mysterious Affair at Styles | The Murder on the Links | Poirot Investigates | The Murder of Roger Ackroyd | The Big Four | The Mystery of the Blue Train | Black Coffee* | Peril at End House | Lord Edgware Dies | Murder on the Orient Express | Three Act Tragedy | Death in the Clouds | The ABC Murders | Murder in Mesopotamia | Cards on the Table | Murder in the Mews | Dumb Witness | Death on the Nile | Appointment With Death | Hercule Poirot’s Christmas | Sad Cypress | One, Two, Buckle My Shoe | Evil Under the Sun | Five Little Pigs | The Hollow | The Labours of Hercules | Taken at the Flood | Mrs McGinty’s Dead | After the Funeral | Hickory Dickory Dock | Dead Man’s Folly | Cat Among the Pigeons | The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding | The Clocks | Third Girl | Hallowe’en Party | Elephants Can Remember | Poirot’s Early Cases | Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case

Marple – The Murder at the Vicarage | The Thirteen Problems | The Body in the Library | The Moving Finger | A Murder Is Announced | They Do It With Mirrors | A Pocket Full of Rye | 4.50 from Paddington | The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side | A Caribbean Mystery | At Bertram’s Hotel | Nemesis | Sleeping Murder | Miss Marple’s Final Cases

Tommy & Tuppence – The Secret Adversary | Partners in Crime | N or M? \ By the Pricking of My Thumbs | Postern of Fate

Published as Mary Westmacott – Giant’s Bread | Unfinished Portrait | Absent in the Spring | The Rose and the Yew Tree | A Daughter’s a Daughter | The Burden

Memoirs – An Autobiography | Come, Tell Me How You Live | The Grand Tour

Plays and Stories – Akhnaton | The Mousetrap and Other Plays | The Floating Admiral† | Star Over Bethlehem | Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly

* novelized by Charles Osborne † contributor

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