Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Hallowe'en Party is the thirty-sixth book in the Poirot series of detective novels penned by the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie. Although the book has Halloween in the title and does, in fact, begin with a party held during Halloween, there is nothing inherently ghoulish or ghostly about this story. There is a murder (what Christie novel doesn’t have a murder?) and of course a mystery that calls for the greatest detective in the world to solve it. But the title could have just as easily been Christmas Party or Easter Party or…you get the idea. That aside, Hallowe’en Party is an excellent whodunnit story that I enjoyed reading.
As noted, during a party a murder occurs under strange and mysterious circumstances. No one witnessed the murder, nor does anyone stand out as an obvious suspect, especially since the person murdered is a young girl who had no enemies. Enter Poirot, who approaches the mystery from a very pragmatic perspective. He observes, questions, and begins to connect the dots throughout the course of the novel. It’s hard to say exactly when he knows for sure who committed the crime—we find out at the very end—but I suspect he knew much sooner than that. Other, more astute readers may have figured it out on their own before the end, but I did not.
Given the author’s writing history and success, I expected only the highest quality writing and characters. I’m happy to see there was no disappointment in either area. Poirot is a singular individual with his own way of doing things. Not eccentric like Sherlock Holmes, he nonetheless has a similar thought pattern. His technique seemed to be all about gathering information, letting one tidbit lead to another. At any one point, if the trail went cold, new questions were asked and answered, inevitably leading him onward. Christie’s succinct writing style fits Poirot’s own style very well.
Other characters come and go based on Poirot’s current line of investigation but all are well represented, with their own unique characteristics and personalities. Although they all stood out to me, none rose above the rest in terms of being more likable or memorable.
Hallowe’en Party gets a three rocket rating. It’s a good story, well written, with an intriguing lead, but it’s also very even keeled. Nothing dramatic or overly exciting happens at any one time. Even the final reveal is somewhat matter of fact. Still, if you’re looking for a good murder mystery, I give this one my recommendation.
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