EXCERPT: ‘Hold on,’ I said. ‘Three mysteries?’
‘Oui, mon cher. There is the betrothed of Richard Devonport, Mademoiselle Helen. Did she or did she not kill his brother Frank? If she did not, then why has she confessed? That is Mystery Number One. Then we have Number Two: the strange affair of Joan Blythe who speaks of mysterious warnings of her own future murder and is assuredly deeply afraid of something.’
And Number Three?’
ABOUT THE KILLINGS AT KINGFISHER HILL BY SOPHIE HANNAH: Hercule Poirot is travelling by luxury passenger coach from London to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estate. Richard Devonport has summoned him to prove that his fiancée, Helen, is innocent of the murder of his brother, Frank. There is one strange condition attached to this request: Poirot must conceal his true reason for being there from the rest of the Devonport family.
On the coach, a distressed woman leaps up, demanding to disembark. She insists that if she stays in her seat, she will be murdered. A seat-swap is arranged, and the rest of the journey passes without incident. But Poirot has a bad feeling about it, and his fears are later confirmed when a body is discovered in the Devonports’ home with a note that refers to “the seat that you shouldn’t have sat in.”
Could this new murder and the peculiar incident on the coach be clues to solving the mystery of who killed Frank Devonport? And can Poirot find the real murderer in time to save an innocent woman from the gallows?
MY THOUGHTS: Well done Sophie Hannah! I could hear the Belgian detective’s voice clearly throughout this book. The plotting is perhaps a little more complex and ingenious than in Christie’s works, but that is in no way a criticism.
I was gripped almost from the very start and continued to be so to the very end. Sophie Hannah had me putting my little grey cells to work, not particularly effectively I may add. I thought that I had it all figured out, the who and the motive, reasonably early on, but by three quarters of the way through I knew that I was wrong, unless someone was lying . . . but, unfortunately, in this instance they weren’t! In fact, I got a lot of things wrong, but had great fun doing so.
I thought the solution rather ingenious and was satisfied with the way it was all wound up. There are some despicable characters amongst the cast, and some that I grew quite fond of. It matters not in the least that there’s very little character development, and that there’s a huge amount of dialogue, two things that I normally complain about. It is what it is, and it works.
Hannah has done a great job of carrying on Poirot in almost Christiesque style. It’s a marvellous read, and although one of a series, is easily read as a stand-alone. I have another of her Poirot titles that I recently purchased on my shelf, and I will be pulling that out to go on the pile on my bedside table. And I will be purchasing the others. I enjoyed this romp!
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THE AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.
She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, Harper Fiction, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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