The Under Dog and other stories, by Agatha Christie

>> Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Under Dog and other stories, by Agatha Christie is a compilation of a Poirot novella and 8 of his short stories.

The Under Dog - This one's the novella. Poirot is called by the wife of a murdered millionaire to investigate his murder, because she isn't satisfied with the police's conclusions. The police suspect the murdered man's nephew, who was heard to leave the room after a fight at about the right time, but the lady's intuition tells her it was the secretary who did it. For some reason, it didn't completely capture my attention. It felt kind of tired, as if the author had no original ideas to include, except for the hypnosis thing, which was cool.

The Plymouth Express - The body of a millionaire's daughter is found under a seat in a train. Ingenious, even if the solution was a bit obvious.

The Affair at the Victory Ball - A young lord is murdered at a masquerade, and the same night his fiancée is found dead after an overdose. Interesting, but I didn't have the required knowledge about the characters in the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, which hampered my enjoyment.

The Market Basing Mystery - A man is found dead, in an apparent suicide, only suicide is impossible. Excellent story, with a very surprising ending.

The Lemesurier Inheritance - The Lemesurier family has a curse: no firstborn ever inherits the title from his father, he always dies first. Poirot intervenes when the wife of the current title holder requests his help because her eldest son has had a couple too many life-threatening accidents, and she doesn't believe in curses. Not precisely surprising, but a very good yarn.

The Cornish Mystery - The wife of a small-town dentist asks Poirot for help because she suspects her husband is trying to poison her. By the next day, when Poirot arrives, she's dead. Interesting, but I found the murderer's motivation not too well done.

The King of Clubs - Poirot's assistance is requested by a foreign prince, whose fiancé has gotten mixed up in a murder. The previous night she had appeare running into a neighbouring house, fainting after gasping "murdered". Nice, if a bit obvious.

The Submarine Plans - Submarine plans have been stolen from the study of a government minister and Poirot is called to help. Ingenious solution.

The Adventure of the Clapham Cook - This one has Poirot investigating the disappearance of a cook, who left suddenly from her job. It sounds like a fascinating mystery, but the solution is pretty lame.

Some good stories, but none too remarkable. A B- for the whole collection.


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