When Hercule Poirot and his associate Arthur Hastings arrive in the French village of Merlinville-sur-Mer to meet their client Paul Renauld, they learn from the police that he has been found that morning stabbed in the back with a letter opener and left in a newly-dug grave adjacent to a local golf course.
Among the plausible suspects are Renauld’s wife Eloise, his son Jack, Renauld’s immediate neighbor Madame Daubreuil, the mysterious “Cinderella” of Hasting’s recent acquaintance, and some unknown visitor of the previous day–all of whom Poirot has reason to suspect. Poirot’s powers of investigation ultimately triumph over the wiles of an assailant whose misdirection and motives are nearly–but not quite–impossible to spot.
The May theme for the Read Christie 2022 Challenge was: a book set in Europe. There were so many books to choose from and I went with the official pick of Murder on the Links which took place in France. I really enjoyed this book and it was a five star read.
I am a huge fan of Poirot and just loved joining him on another mystery. This was the second Poirot novel so it was really exciting getting to read one of the early ones. Poirot was just as clever and amazing as always. It was entertaining reading about him playing the matchmaker in this story. He seemed to be very playful.
Despite Poirot being in his usual top form, early Hastings was less impressive a sleuth. Hastings is so hilarious in this book. He’s just a lovesick little puppy and I can see how that could be annoying to some people but I found it to be amusing. I loved how easily distracted he was by every pretty young woman. He even took a mysterious new friend to the see the evidence of a crime! All because he thought she was beautiful. Silly Hastings.
In addition to Poirot being on the case, there was another special investigator from Paris who was involved. It was so good having Poirot competing with another excellent investigator and having them have conflicting theories. I think it really helped to show just how clever Poirot was.
Throughout the book it felt like there were multiple mysteries to be solved. Only during the last third did all the pieces start to come together. I really liked the way that Poirot started to explain something and would then stop, go away, then return with whole armfuls of evidence. He made it look so simple!
This book was jam packed with twists and turns. I have read this before but it had been a while, I just did not see them coming. There were red herrings galore, it was so fun trying to work out whodunnit (despite knowing, I still convinced myself that maybe I didn’t remember). This is what I love about Agatha Christie, the books are so excellent that I can reread them and it doesn’t matter whether I remember what happened or not because it’s such a fun ride.
I’m absolutely loving taking part in my Agatha Christie monthly readalongs. It’s nice to have something consistent in Agatha Christie books.