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The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

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Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
Posted in | .

‘The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot – the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in 1930’s London.’

The Mystery of Three Quarters is the latest book from Sophie Hannah as she continues to keep the spirit of Agatha Christie alive, with her take on that most famous detective, the wonderful and enigmatic Hercules Poirot.

Who hasn’t heard of Hercules Poirot? Who hasn’t read a book by Agatha Christie? Not too many I would think. Agatha Christie is a household name due to her popularity as a writer and particularly a writer of crime fiction. Her characters are well known to all, with the fabulous Hercules Poirot a favourite of many. With his rather distinctive demeanor and quirky eccentricities, Hercules Poirot was brought to the screen by the wonderful actor David Suchet from 1989 to 2013, making him a familiar face in our living rooms. In 2014, crime-fiction writer Sophie Hannah picked up the baton and re-introduced us to Poirot with her novel The Monogram Murders, followed in 2016 by Closed Casket, both receiving much praise across the board. Taking up the pen of a phenomenally successful writer is always going to be a difficult job with criticisms bound to be cast on the writing. Is this a true Poirot mystery? Can Sophie Hannah fulfill the expectations of the true blue Christie fan? Well I guess that’s up to you, the reader, to decide. It might just be the perfect introduction, for those who may not wish to pick up a classic, to this idiosyncratic of characters.

The Sunday Telegraph says ‘What Sophie and Agatha have in common is a rare talent for fiendish unpredictability. They make you see how the impossible might be possible after all’.

In The Mystery of Three Quarters, Poirot is unexpectedly verbally assaulted on his doorstep by a woman, Sylvia Rule. She has received a letter that is signed by Hercules Poirot and in this letter she has been accused of murder!! Barnabas Pandy, a man of considerable wealth and a man she had never heard of had died. Now the cause of his death was under suspicion and apparently Poirot had written and signed this letter. Poirot, astonished, rightfully denies any knowledge of this letter or of Barnabas Pandy for that matter, but Sylvia Rule will hear none of this and is infuriated by this allegation.

In the following days, Poirot receives calls from three further individuals all with the same letter and all accusing Poirot of false recriminations against their good names. All claim their innocence in this matter of murder and all are justifiably angered.

It is now up to Poirot to get to the bottom of this mystery and discover the truth behind the death of Barnabas Pandy. Was he murdered or is this a personal vendetta and why?

Hercules Poirot sets off to discover the truth with the assistance of his friend and confidante, Inspector Edward Catchpool from Scotland Yard. Together they attempt to solve the case of the unidentified scribe and, in typical Christie style, we are introduced to a superb cast of characters.

It is quite easy to imagine the scenes as Poirot sweeps in and out, like an actor walking on and off the stage. It is a performance that is thoroughly enjoyable as each character has a unique and distinguishable persona, providing the ingredients for a wonderful and ‘diabolically clever’ mystery.

The Mystery of Three Quarters is a very different read to the current crop of crime novels on the shelves. There is no extreme violence, there is scant blood and there is no great chase across a continent. It is an old-fashioned, cosy mystery, making it a the perfect book to snuggle down by the fire this Winter under a blanket with a steaming mug of hot chocolate (and, if you have one….your dog by your feet!).

Full of intrigue. Delightful. Charismatic.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.