Thursday, 8 January 2015

Torn Curtain.

How about these two slices of almost perfectly formed murder only foiled by Hercule Poirot exercising his little grey cells. Although the two books share the same location for the scenes of the crimes and the two main characters remain the same they are as different as a life time telling such stories can make them. Agatha Christie wrote the first The Mysterious Affair At Styles in 1916 and it was published in 1920. The second Curtain, Poirot's last Case was published in 1975. Agatha Christie died a year later. One book is the first Poirot tale and the other is the final Poirot tale.
             I was struck by many differences in the style of writing by the author between the two books. As I said, the two main protagonists Hasting and Poirot are still the focus of the narrative yet everything about them and the world they inhabit has changed. In the first book Hasting is a young man who believed the best years of his life were behind him. Not suspecting they were just about to begin. Curtain is all it pertains to be, the shade is falling over two lives well lived but having run their course. Poirot is old, very old, his body is failing him yet his wits remain as sharp as ever. If anything his world view has become that more refined, as attuned to the instinctive aspects of crime solving as much as the evidence led features. One book is a clever conundrum of clues whilst the other is a swirling pool of agenda driven evil more common in modern times.
              My first Poirot novels. The first and the last.
              The lifetime of murder in between will be gravy.