Re-incarnations of detectives in hands of a different author seldom succeeds, except in the case of Holmes, but that was possible maybe because the reincarnator was Sir Doyle himself. But, apart from that exception re-incarnations are meant to be not as successful as the original. The stories of limited success are limitless. Take James Bond, John Gradener or Jeffrey Deaver, the books still didn’t read like a Fleming Bond. Recently Asterix suffered the same fate. Yes, the return of our favourite heroes albeit does keep us hooked, but, at the end of the day neither those books nor The Monogram Murders left me with a satisfied smile.
First lets dissect the book purely as a crime thriller. On that point the book would score 3 or 3.5. I love twists, no doubt about that. But nothing tastes good when it is heaped upon a reader without any limit. The number of twists in this book got to me. By the end of the book they didn’t seem like twists at all. A definite case of trying too hard. The plot seemed a bit awkward. I cant put my finger on it, but somehow this was definitely not an EVIL UNDER THE SUN, not even a HICKORY DICKORY DOCK. The plot never slowed down, it was fast, but sometimes it got too fast to really comprehend what was going on. But at the end of the day, the twists of the double plot, and the solution at the end turned this book into a decent crime thriller. There were no pretensions, and though the solving of the crime was left to some circumstantial evidences, the ending was neat.
Now as far as the book goes as a Hercule Poirot novel, the book scores a big ZERO for me. I don’t know why, but this Poirot never felt like the Poirot I had read before. But it didn’t started that way, the man was getting into the Poirot shoes when suddenly the character became an impersonator instead of the real egg shaped Belgian. No, this man is definitely not the HP I knew. And somehow Catchpool, really didnt fit my idea of Hastings. I rather hoped that Hannah would bring back Hastings along with HP in this book.
Lastly, I respect Sophie Hannah. This was not an easy task. Not only did she have to churn out a twister but she also had to re-create the famous Hercule Poirot. Not every venture succeeds but a courageous move should be saluted. So, I salute Ms. Hannah for trying to bring back my favourite detective to me. Though I might not have enjoyed as much as I would have like to, I would still not lose hope. Maybe the second book, if there is any, will bring back the old Poirot I knew.