I am a big fan of Agatha Christie's works. I've read most (if not all) of them and it's hard to pick one as my favourite because I love them all. That's why I was very excited when I found out that they would publish a new Hercule Poirot novel though it was not written by Dame Christie herself. I was also kind of nervous because I hadn't known about the author, Sophie Hannah. When it was finally available for purchase in Books and Beyond, I bought it immediately.
The story took place in between Agatha Christie's original Poirot stories, and though no other characters from those books except for Poirot himself, it doesn't interfere with the existing timeline of Poirot's life. When the news of a new Poirot book broke out, people were afraid that Sophie Hannah would try to 'resurrect' Poirot from his death in Curtain, but as it turned out they were wrong.
The story is about three murders in Bloxham Hotel, a luxurious hotel in London. The three murders are clearly linked because in each victim's mouth there is a cufflink with the same initials found. Poirot helps a young policeman, Catchpool, investigating the murders. Before the news of the murders was spread, Poirot was having a supper in a nearby coffee shop where he was interrupted by a young woman telling him that she was about to get murdered. Poirot recalls the strange meeting after he finds out about the murders and he insists that the two incidents are linked while the young policeman is not convinced. Their investigation eventually leads them to a dark story from the past happened in a small village called Great Holling and the connection between the three murder victims, as well as the motive behind it, becomes clear.
While the story faithfully follows Agatha Christie's original storytelling style, I found myself feeling annoyed by the way Poirot and Catchpool treat each other. Sophie Hannah's Poirot is arrogant and full of himself while Catchpool seems to be frustrated by every single thing that Poirot says and it comes out as rude. Poirot's other occasional sidekick, Captain Hastings, is often frustrated too, but he still treats Poirot with respect. For me, this is quite annoying.
All things aside, I'm still hoping that there will be more Poirot and Miss Marple novels in the future. I know it may be a great challenge for newer authors to write equivalent books to the originals, but it can be a good way to introduce Agatha Christie to younger readers as well as quench the thirst of older fans.