Agatha Christie – Dumb Witness

Now sometimes I like a good Agatha Christie as a bit of easy reading and I came across this fantastic edition for 50p in a second-hand book shop.  This was my second reading of this but fortunately I didn´t remember straight away who the murderer was.

The rich, aged, spinster Emily Arundell is surrounded by grasping young relatives. She is injured by falling down a staircase, supposedly after she has tripped over a ball left by her pet dog Bob. Emily later dies of natural causes, and her estate is left to her companion, Miss Lawson.  She writes a letter before her death to Hercule Poirot recounting her suspicions which leads him to investigate.

It is a product of its time and full of the normal Agatha Christie one-dimensional posh characters with a bit of casual racism thrown in.  Of course marrying a Greek doctor was the equivalent of social suicide according to Christie as well as a chapter about a nigger in the woodpile.   There is also the traditional Christie snobbery, it is interesting as well that of course the servants could not be suspects because, a. they are too boring for her to write about in detail and b. as Poirot says, “I eliminated the servants – their mentality was obviously not adapted to such a crime”.

Poirot and Hastings are their normal annoying selves and in fact my favourite character was Bob the dog.  However Agatha Christie had some good plots, although this one isn´t half as clever as others.  Poirot´s discovery the clues is slightly implausible, ie finding a jar that shows a dog who has been out all night and the actions of the murderer seem slightly stupid.  Anyway a good afternoon´s read.


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