Peril at End House by Agatha Christie ~ Hastings & Poirot Holiday in Cornwall #HerculePoirot #Classic Crime #FridayReads

Author: Agatha Christie

Performed by Hugh Fraser

Published by HarperCollins and released on Audible in August 2006

Category: Classic Crime, Murder, Mystery, Audiobook, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hercule Poirot is vacationing on the Cornish coast when he meets Nick Buckly. Nick is the young and reckless mistress of End House, an imposing structure perched on the rocky cliffs of St. Loo.

Poirot has taken a particular interest in the young woman who has recently narrowly escaped a series of life-threatening accidents. Something tells the Belgian sleuth that these so-called accidents are more than just mere coincidences or a spate of bad luck. 

The now retired Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Hastings, over on a visit from his ranch in Argentina, have recently arrived at the Majestic Hotel on the Cornish coast and are enjoying the prospect of a relaxing weeks holiday.

They meet the young and pretty Nick Buckly, owner of End House, as they enjoy their first afternoon in the sunny gardens. During the course of the conversation it transpires Nick has had three recent experiences that could have resulted in her death. Poirot’s ears prick up immediately. When what appears to be a bee or wasp buzzes by Nick’s face but turns out to have been a bullet, it seems a fourth attempt has been made.

‘Did you observe the way Mademoiselle Nick flinched when a bee flew past? The bee in the bonnet—the hole in the hat.’

‘But a bee couldn’t make a hole like that.’

‘Exactly, Hastings! What acumen! It could not. But a bullet could, mon cher!’

‘A bullet?’

‘Mai oui! A bullet like this.’

He held out his hand with a small object in the palm of it.

Retired or not, Poirot can’t let this one go and arranges to call on Nick later that afternoon. Nick is sceptical of Poirot’s conviction that someone is trying to kill her, nevertheless she takes his advice and asks her cousin to come and stay. Nick has a group of friends and relatives around her, all harbouring secrets that could be classed as potential reasons for wanting her dead.

Unusually, Poirot sometimes seems anxious about this case and annoyed with himself for not having his normal foresight. He makes a list of the suspects and their possible motives as he attempts to protect Nick from her would be assassin. It’s a confusing mystery and not only for the reader. Poirot seems positively stumped at one point and we see a different side to him as he becomes more emotional and distraught. 

‘It is plain that you do not see. Almost incredible, my poor Hastings, how you hardly ever do see…’

There’s a marked lack of harmony between Poirot and Hastings in this story with snide comments bandied back and forth, which began to grate and seem less than humorous after a while.

‘Poirot,’ I said. ‘I have been thinking.’

‘An admirable exercise, my friend. Continue it.’

And as Hastings remarks ‘It seemed to me my little friend’s egotism had certainly not declined with his years.’ At one point, obviously having had enough of Poirot’s digs he says ‘I wouldn’t like to deprive you of the pleasure of being clever at my expense!’

Apart from that though, the mystery is a satisfying one, with a well constructed plot, lots of misdirection and twists and an ending I didn’t expect. An actual murder does take place but with the wrong victim, which opens up a previously unforeseen angle for Poirot to work with. The cast of characters is large and varied and the narrative dialogue driven for the most part. I listened to the audio and, as always, Hugh Fraser narration was faultless.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Hive 

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie began writing during the First World War and wrote over 100 novels, plays and short story collections. She was still writing to great acclaim until her death, and her books have now sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. Yet Agatha Christie was always a very private person, and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple became household names, the Queen of Crime was a complete enigma to all but her closest friends.

5 thoughts on “Peril at End House by Agatha Christie ~ Hastings & Poirot Holiday in Cornwall #HerculePoirot #Classic Crime #FridayReads

  1. I know this isn’t considered one of her greatest, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it because I thought the plot was cleverly done. It’s ages since I read it though and I’d forgotten the sniping between Hastings and Poirot. I notice that in some of the Holmes/Watson stories too, and never like it – maybe it’s a sign that the authors were fed up with their characters!

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