Monday, 10 September 2018

Book Review: The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah (New Poirot Mystery)

Book: The Mystery of Three Quarters

Author: Sophie Hannah

Pages: 400

Read: The paperback edition pictured above

Read in: 4-5 hours

Plot Summary: Home after lunch one day, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

Poirot has also never heard of a Barnabas Pandy and has accused nobody of murder.

Shaken, he goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy.

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

General Thoughts: We have read every single one of the Sophie Hannah-written Hercule Poirot mysteries. Mostly, because we love Agatha Christie and all of her books! Big fangirls here! However, the Sophie Hannah books have been a mixed bag thus far. We quite liked the first book- The Monogram Murders (click on the name for our review). But didn't like Closed Casket at all- it was lengthy, tedious and the killer was most obvious! So, it was with 70% excitement but 30% trepidation that we ordered this book, hoping that it would be much better than Closed Casket! 

Things I Liked: 
  • The premise of this book is very Agatha Christie. Someone sending poison pen letters to four people accusing them of a murder- it has a very The Moving Finger vibe to it! So, the book seemed really promising because there could be a number of ways in which such a tale could go- the deceased was actually murdered, one of the four is the actual murderer or that one of the four accused has a past that has a murder in it, which the letter writer wants Poirot to expose! Exciting, right?
  • The investigation itself is quite interesting. Poirot and Edward Catchpool- the Scotland Yard inspector, who helps Poirot in this series- go about finding how these four people connect to each other and to Barnabas Pandy. There are several red herrings and the book was building up to a very interesting big reveal. 
  • The writing is good. Sophie Hannah is able to re-create the tonality of the Agatha Christie books and is even able to bring in the value system that Agatha Christie had. So, these books are true-to-the-OG books in that sense. 
  • The book has an interesting cast of characters- a complicated family at the heart of the story, who clearly had some secrets to hide. The other three accused were also interesting and a mix between shady to sweet. 

Things I Didn't Like:
  • The ending was a huge let down! The big reveal was hugely anti-climactic! It was the weakest ending that the author could have gone with- given the various directions in which the story could have gone! I was so disappointed! 
  • Also, before the "killer" was revealed, there was another incident that took place, which was quite pointless and forced! It was not needed had the author crafted the mystery in a different manner! Overall, the last few chapters ruined the fabulous build-up of the whole book! Sad, sad, sad! 

Rating: 3/5 
Read the book only if you are starved for some good old Poirot shenanigans! Else, as far as mystery goes, this one is quite a dud! 

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