Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Sophie Hannah's new Agatha Christie mystery, The Monogram Murders.

A chance encounter in a cafe leads Poirot to abandon his attempts at quiet relaxation and anonymity in this new mystery from Sophie Hannah.

Jennie entered the coffee house in a manner that begged for Poirot's attention. When he offered assistance, thinking she looked as though she was in danger, she refused and offered only a cryptic explanation as to her circumstances, begging that Poirot do nothing. 

Upon returning to his lodgings that evening, though, Poirot learns that three people have been murdered in a nearby hotel. Poirot is certain the crimes are connected to the girl in the coffee shop and quickly becomes involved in the investigation. The crime itself is a bizarre one: three guests at the same hotel, all murdered in their rooms on the same evening. A note announced the crime and led to the discovery of the bodies of two women and one man. They had no apparent connection but their bodies had all been posed in the exact same scene. And it is soon discovered that the killer left one more significant clue - a monogrammed cufflink placed inside each victim's mouth.

One might say that with so many Christie titles as guide taking on the task of continuing her work might not be that challenging, I would heartily disagree. The ardent passion of an avid Christie reader and Poirot fan would likely dissuade all but the most brave of writing souls! Sophie Hannah, author of the Charlie Zailer/Simon Waterhouse series, had some big shoes to fill in taking on the challenge of penning an Agatha Christie mystery but I found her to be overwhelmingly successful in her efforts.

Though I am by no means a Christie expert, my Swiss cheese brain did quickly recognize both the tone of the story and the attitude of the famous lead detective as being a close match to what I recall from my own Christie readings. And though Christie did kill off her famous lead in CurtainThe Monogram Murders is set in 1929, thereby allowing for Poirot's resurrection.

Since plot is key in Christie, I would be remiss in not taking a moment to mention it here. I do read a lot of mysteries and a good one - with some exception - often keeps the reader guessing. Sophie Hannah does this in spades! The crime is set in London but Poirot soon decides that its roots lie elsewhere. Of course he's correct, which leads the investigation down a road I didn't see coming fairly early on. Even still, with insight into Poirot's musings via his friend Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard, the detective's discoveries are held close to the vest until the story winds to an end.

The Monogram Murders is a fun return to such a beloved character and one I think will please even the most persnickety mystery readers!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more of Poirot's and Agatha Christie's mysteries be sure to visit the official Agatha Christie website. And for more on Sophie Hannah and her work be sure to visit her on the web here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've always loved Poirot so I'm excited to read this one!

Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Shirley said...

I am glad you brought up the time frame for which this novel is intended. It's been a bone of contention for some die-hard Poirot and Christie fans that because he died in Curtain, he can't possibly be the protagonist in another mystery.

I've been so excited to the release of this book! Thanks for a wonderful review.