Harper Collins, 2009 (1960)
The great detective plays his cards close to his chest -- until the discovery of a young woman lying in the snow, a Kurdish knife in the centre of a crimson stain on her white wrap, spurs Poirot into revealing his hand.
Six cases in which Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple prove conclusively that their powers of detection take the cake…
I borrowed this book from my new local library the week that I started volunteering at the Book Festival. The train into the city takes around 20 minutes, and as I was volunteering a few times during the festival I figured a collection of short stories would get my through the journeys there and back. As a big Christie fan, this seemed like a good choice.
I have a collection of Poirot short stories, and although it's a few years since I read them, I vaguely recognised most of the stories here. As usual, Poirot is three steps ahead of everyone else, including the reader, and it was a race to the end of the story to discover who committed the crime. The shorter stories, while excellent reading material for a short-ish commute, didn't have much in the way of character development going on, and a couple simply amounted to Poirot asking a few questions, gathering everyone in a room, and revealing who had done it without any build up or much plotting at all.
This was really a mixed bag - The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding is a decent story, and I enjoyed The Mystery of the Spanish Chest, but The Under Dog was reasonably tedious, and The Dream was solved almost before it properly began. (Having seen the TV adaptation of The Dream, it's amazing how a feature-length episode could have been made from such a scant story!) The final story in the collection is a Miss Marple mystery - I am not as much of a fan of Miss Marple as I am of Poirot, but it made a nice change and was one of the more interesting stories.
Some nice moments, and it got me through my Book Festival commute, but I think I'll go back to Christie's full-length novels after this.
Overall rating: 5.5/10
Book source: Borrowed from the library.