Sophie Hannah – Closed Casket (2016)
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 384 pages
Published: 6th September 2016 (UK)
ISBN-13: 978-0008134099 (cased)
This is the 2nd return of Hercule Poirot novel penned by Sophie Hannah (although I don’t think that he is as the back cover blurb suggests “the world’s most famous detective” as I feel that Sherlock Holmes is probably more well known).
Lady Athelinda Playford is hosting a party at her Irish mansion with two strangers to her as guests: the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard
Is the invite a result of the decision of Lady Playford to change her will and cut two of her children off without a penny leaving her vast fortune to someone else – an invalid with only weeks to live. Poirot begins to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murder but why is she so determined to provoke a killer? When the murder is committed despite Poirot’s best efforts to stop it why does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?
I much preferred this to The Monogram Murders and will now go through my issues with that novel and how they have been addressed with this.
Edward Catchpool is still the narrator but we now do know his rank (Inspector) from the start, he is less scared of dead bodies, we do learn more about him as this book goes on and he not is a mere tool for Poirot as he is clearly a friend and is much better treated.
The fussy Poirot is back which may be in part because of the Country House milieu which means that he is much closer to the Poirot we know and love.
The book is also a bit tighter which might be due to it being shorter (I reckon it is about 91000 words compared to the 97000 words of The Monogram Murders so about 6% shorter)
The plot still does rely on Poirot making some leaps of logic that are a teensy bit heroic if one is being kind but I am much happier than I was last time – I should give warning though that there still are some fairly damning reviews on Amazon though.