I probably would have skipped this one if it weren’t listed as book #3 in the Hercule Poirot series.
Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!
Librarian’s note: this entry is for the collection of stories, “Poirot Investigates.” Entries for the individual short stories can be found elsewhere.
The very first collection of superb short stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings.
First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond… then came the ‘suicide’ that was murder… the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat… a suspicious death in a locked gun-room… a million dollar bond robbery… the curse of a pharaoh’s tomb… a jewel robbery by the sea… the abduction of a Prime Minister… the disappearance of a banker… a phone call from a dying man… and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.
What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot! Get ready for:
1. The Adventure of The Western Star
2. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
3. The Adventure of The Cheap Flat
4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
6. The Adventure of The Egyptian Tomb
7. The Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan
8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister
9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
10. The Adventure of The Italian Nobleman
11. The Case of The Missing Will.
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Review (No Spoilers)
Depending on which edition of the book you have, it has 11-14 short stories in it. I read the original 11 stories, which is what I’ll be rating below. Since it’s a collection, I decided to do mini reviews (1-2 sentences) for each short story.
The Adventure of the Western Star
I found it really hard to get through this short story solely because of how much blatant racism is included in it (there’s also sexism, but that’s pretty standard in most of Christie’s works, so I’m used to it). Not only is the story centered around hatred of Chinese people, it also includes a Chinese slur multiple times in the narrative. I know this was probably “acceptable” back when Christie wrote these stories, but that in no way diminished how negatively it affected me and my reading mood.
Aside from that, the story itself was very predictable in my opinion, normally Christie is really good at making me second guess my initial opinions but I felt as if there wasn’t much thought put into this one.
The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
The last few pages of this were entertaining but I ultimately didn’t care much for the story. I think having only 10 pages doesn’t allow me to feel for anyone the way a full-length novel would.
The Adventure of the Cheap Flat
Yet another story that is racist against Asians (Japanese people in this one). While this one was not as predictable as the other, I still felt no connection to it at all and didn’t really care for anything that was happening. I actually really wanted it to be a ghost story instead.
The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
This one was very fun. It involves Poirot being sick with influenza and relying on Hastings to do all of the ground work for him. It was a very interesting shift in dynamic and I enjoyed seeing Poirot on-page in this one, despite most of it not being in person.
The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
This one was once again very predictable in my opinion and I felt like I didn’t have a chance to know anything about anyone.
The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb
Another story I didn’t really care about. It did manage to shock me at one point but what I assumed happened was basically what actually happened.
The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan
I’m never going to get over how foolish Hastings is. When is he going to learn that Poirot is never outmaneuvered?? If anything, these short stories just make Hastings even more ridiculous.
The Kidnapped Prime Minister
I’m not going to lie, I had absolutely no idea what the heck was happening throughout this entire story. I probably shouldn’t have read it as tired as I was.
The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim
Some of my favorite mysteries are when the detective doesn’t do any of the work but manages to outwit literally everyone else anyways.
The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman
I found this one quite fun despite guessing who did it once again. Hastings was not as much of an unbearable fool as he usually is and I felt that it was paced very nicely. I do wonder how Poirot gets proof of any of his accusations though.
The Case of the Missing Will
That was fun! It reminded me of The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes which is a book I absolutely loved. I don’t quite understand it fully I think, but it was a joy to read.
Overall, this is a collection I would recommend skipping. It can be nice if you want to read a few short brain-teasers, but a lot of them were either predictable or not interesting enough for me. I find one of my favorite things about Christie’s stories is the way she writes her characters so I feel short stories don’t do that justice.
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