Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #4)


The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is the 4th book in the new Hercule Poirot mysteries by Sophie Hannah. Released 15th Sept 2020 by HarperCollins on their William Morrow imprint, it's 288 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

Despite not being in any way reminiscent of Dame Agatha's oeuvre, this is undeniably a well written, well plotted, readable mystery in the fashion of the golden age. Read on its own merits, it does admirably and I enjoyed it a lot. The characters are classic, archetypal even, rich society matrons, captains of industry, spoiled socialites, village busybodies, salt-of-the-earth charwomen, butlers, maids, and others in service, and Poirot and Inspector Catchpool (Capt. Hastings v. 2.0) rounding out the dramatis personae.

The plotting is rather slow, built up over time rather than explosive. The narrative arc is deliberate - stately even, and the denouement is less of a crescendo than an inescapable inevitability when it finally comes. There were a number of outlandish plot twists which interfered with my suspension of disbelief (no spoilers - never fear), but in the end plot threads resolve, clues are deciphered, mysteries are solved, and Poirot sallies forth in search of the next mystery. 

I love golden age British mysteries and this one fits in quite well as an homage to the genre. I've read Christie's canon many many times and I liked this book a lot more when I wasn't trying to read it as a Poirot mystery or find similarities with Christie's original work.

Four stars. Not Christie, but quite readable.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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