The Mystery of Three Quarters (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3) by Sophie Hannah

three quartersI was so excited when I saw The Mystery of Three Quarters.  A new Poirot mystery written by Sophie Hannah, whose books I’ve read and enjoyed in the past, taking up the mantle of the crime queen.  How would it all work out?  Well, I have to say that I really enjoyed this. I totally sympathise with any author taking on a firmly established and well loved character created by a master of the genre. I think one of the real difficulties lies in capturing the essence of the period but I think Hannah did a good job of capturing not only the quintessential character of Poirot but also managing to instill the book with that quaint feel that you would expect.  Of course this isn’t Christie but, truthfully, I don’t think Hannah is trying to totally mimic the original, more that she’s bringing back to the page a beloved character whilst giving him something of her own stamp.

I’m only going to briefly discuss the plot.  Basically, four characters receive a letter from Poirot accusing them of murder.  One thing that is immediately clear is that the letters were not written by Poirot, what is not clear is why somebody would send these letters accusing people of  a murder when in fact the death in question seems to have been accidental.  It can only be assumed that foul play is suspected and that somebody wishes Poirot to dig a little deeper.

The book is set in the 1930s and I felt like Hannah did a really good job of creating not only a feel for the era but also managing to write a crime novel which feels cosy.  No violence or bloodyness on these pages.  Everything is respectable, or at least it is on the face of things.

The characters are a fun and quirky bunch ranging from a rather muddleheaded school master to a shy spinster living in a country manor and doting on her dog.  Poirot came across as quirky and eccentric with nods to his dislike of disorder and the story was narrated by one Inspector Edward Catchpool.  I really enjoyed the way in which the characters are set up and the red herrings that Hannah sprinkles around to send readers off on wild goose chases and I particularly loved the whole grande finale with all the suspects being called together in a showy attempt at flushing out the guilty party.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I thought the start was a little slow and at first I felt as though Poirot should have been a little more forceful in defending himself against the angry visitors he was treated to.  To be honest though, I think on reflection that his reaction was probably more ‘Poirot’ than if he had reacted in that way.  I didn’t think the final solution was quite as elaborate as I’d expected in fact for me it felt a little bit flat in some respects but again, maybe that’s just me trying to have things feel too ‘plausible’.

I realise that there were two previous books prior to this one but I’m not sure if I’ll go back to read those – not because I don’t want to read more however, just I feel I’ve jumped forward now and so would prefer to see what comes next.

Overall I have to say I found this a very easy and quick read and I certainly hope that Ms Hannah intends to write more books starring Poirot – I will definitely pick them up and will be curious to see how her style develops going forward.  I loved being able to read a Poirot mystery again and revisiting a character and period that has a simple charm.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



13 Responses to “The Mystery of Three Quarters (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3) by Sophie Hannah”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Oh wow, yes, I haven’t heard of these books but as soon as I read about the background in your intro, my first thought was, how can anyone live up to the queen of mystery fiction?! But your review makes it sound like it went well, I’m glad you enjoyed. Now I have to take a closer look at the others.

    • @lynnsbooks

      From the reviews I’ve read this book feels like Hannah has really got on board with the style and character – I think that’s probably why I’m not going to backtrack but hope for more books to be forthcoming.
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    I love the sound of this one, Lynn. Thank you for an excellent review and I’ll keep an eye for this series:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I really enjoyed revisiting a favourite character.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Tammy

    It’s been years since I read Christie, and I’m very tempted by this😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed revisiting – I think Hannah puts her own mark on it but at the same time I think she stays true to the kind of work that Christie produced.
      Lynn 😀

  4. pagesandtea

    I’m reading this at the moment and enjoying it. So far I have no idea how it’s all going to work out in the end, I think I’ve suspected everyone at least a little 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, you and me both. TBH – I never saw the ending at all. I was blindsided totally.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Carmen

    I like your review, Lynn! Sounds like Hannah picked up the mantle of the Queen and knew what to do with it. 😉 Looking forward to more reviews of future entries in the new Poirot saga.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I certainly hope there will be more – I loved revisiting.
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    I went through a Christie phase in middle school but that was so long ago I don’t remember what all I read… Continuing on with existing characters can be tough. Glad to see this one worked out well.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it – whether that’s a mixture of loving the book but also loving to revisit I’m not sure but, regardless, I would pick up more and in fact hope that there will be more.
      Lynn 😀

  7. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    It requires indeed a great deal of courage, and skill, to take the characters and background of a well-known series and author and try and give them new life while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original, and it would seem that this writer managed the feat brilliantly. And now I’m quite curious… 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

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