Partial Spoilers for The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah
In 2014, Agatha Christie’s estate granted Sophie Hannah permission to use Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, in a new original novel. The Monogram Murders.
Hercule Poirot (the Belgian refugee detective originally created by Christie) hopes for a respite when he stays at a London hotel (even though he’s close to his home), but he is soon drawn into a new case when a young woman name Jennie arrives and makes a cryptic prediction of her own murder, followed by the even more cryptic statement “Let no one open their mouths.” Soon bodies turn up at a different hotel with monogrammed cufflinks – which have a connection to a long-ago tragedy – in their mouths.
Hannah has acknowledged that “Agatha Christie is unique,” and says she didn’t try to duplicate Christie’s actual style. To a reader familiar with the original Christies, in addition to the overall voice differing from Christie, Hannah’s Poirot doesn’t sound – or maybe I should say “feel” – like Christie’s Poirot. Hannah’s Poirot engages in behaviors that supposedly show many of the quirks for which Christie fans know him, but they feel like variations of those quirks, and feel off. Continue reading