My continued craving for holiday reading brought me to A Holiday for Murder, also known as Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. I’ve seen the tv version of this mystery novel, but couldn’t remember who the culprit was so thought it would be safe to read it. It isn’t really a Christmas story – the murder takes place at Christmas, but there is hardly any mention of the holiday or the traditions surrounding it. That was okay, though, because reading it reacquainted me with Agatha Christie, whom I haven’t read in many years.

This novel finds Poirot spending Christmas with Colonel Johnson when they are called to Gorston Hall, the scene of a horrific murder. Simeon Lee, the wealthy patriarch of a bickering family, has had his throat slashed. His four sons and their wives, plus two unexpected guests, have assembled for Christmas and they all become suspects as the room Lee was killed in was locked from the inside and the window closed. The assumption is that an intruder would not have been able to leave the house unseen.

The usual interrogations and sly Poirot ‘conversations’ soon give him all the information he needs to reveal the killer of Simeon Lee. It is a very tricky outcome and I definitely didn’t guess who the culprit was.

Agatha Christie is a forceful writer and I’d forgotten how colorful her characters are. I wouldn’t recommend this novel if you are looking for holiday cheer, but it is a good example of the ‘locked room mystery’.

I’d like to read some of her other novels next year – do you have a favorite Christie novel? What is her best mystery?

endpapers designed by Peggy Skycraft.

9 Comments

  1. I really like the Tommy & Tuppence stories, starting with The Secret Adversary. But I think my favorite of all her novels is Death on the Nile.

  2. I love Agatha Christie books. I haven’t read this one though.

    My favourites are And Then There Were None (if you haven’t read this – you must!), Halloween Party, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on The Nile. Now I’m making myself want to pick up one of her books 🙂

  3. I like Agatha Christie, though I haven’t read many of her books. The best one I’ve read so far is definitely And Then There Were None. I recently read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and really enjoyed that one too, but I spoiled it for myself by guessing who the murderer was very early in the book!

  4. I’ve not read a lot of Agatha Christie’s books–I’ve just started reading the Miss Marple novels, have read several standalones and a sprinkling of Poirots–it’s nice to have them on hand. My favorite of the bunch, though, is Death on the Nile–the movie was good, too.

  5. I saw the television adaptation of this one a year ago, and it was very good, but it’s a very, very long time since I read the book. Maybe next Christmas!

    I can happily second all the recommendations you’ve received so far, and maybe add The ABC Murders to the list.

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