Whenever I am stuck for something to read, or need a cosy novel to cheer me up, I tend to dip into my extensive Agatha Christie collection. I know I’ve read them before numerous times, and can probably remember ‘whodunit’, but the good ones offer more than just the mystery of the crime. One of my favourites is The Hollow, a classic country house murder mystery, where the reader can depend the murderer is one of the guests invited for the weekend. Of course, it’s never one of the servants, so no one ever bothers to investigate them!
What I like about it:
- Lucy Ankatell is one of Christie’s more amusing hostesses – she is a terrible snob but gives out enough self-deprecating humour for this to be forgivable.
- There is a good reason for almost everyone to have killed the victim, so because they’re all friends and family, the suspects muddy the waters of Poirot’s investigation.
- There’s lots going on – a poolside murder, attempted murder, attempted suicide, so plenty of pace.
- There’s a small romantic thread in the book which surprises each of the couple involved.
- There’s a look at the class system through the eye’s of Midge, the poor cousin of the story, who works in a posh boutique where she experiences unspeakable rudeness. Midge is so often the person everyone depends on to help smooth things over so when she finally rebels, you want to cheer.
- The staging of each scene reminds you why Christie works so well in theatre and on TV – characters make entrances and exits and have good lines, all of which bumps up the drama.