>> Sunday, February 08, 2004
‘There was that about her which made every other woman on the beach seem faded and insignificant. And with equal inevitability, the eye of every male present was drawn and riveted on her.’It was pretty enjoyable. A B-.
Including Hercule Poirot’s. She is Arlena Stuart, the famous actress, enjoying — like the famous detective — a summer holiday on Smugglers’ Island, and she will become a common enough sight, sunbathing on the hot sands. Then one azure morning her beautiful bronzed body is discovered in an isolated cove, in the shade. She is dead, strangled. And Poirot, as luckless as ever when he attempts some downtime, will learn in the course of his investigation that nearly all the guests of this exclusive resort have some connection to Arlena. But who had the capacity and the motive to kill her?
The mystery side was really outstandingly good. It was beautifully constructed, with every single piece of the puzzle fitting perfectly, and we had more than enough clues disseminated throughout the book.
What wasn't so good, however, was the way Arlena Stuart was demonized by everyone. She was a scarlet woman, who seduced good men and led them to their downfall. Oh, for heaven's sake, that idiocy just drives me mad. I hate it when the men are excused that way. And that ending! I won't say anything for fear of spoilers, but argh!!!