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Last week, I enjoyed a vicarious trip to London, via one of the characters in the novel The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
Today is the 133rd anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. For the last couple of years, I’ve been tracking the 100-year anniversaries of her early publications, The Mysterious Affair at Styles from 1921 and The Secret Adversary from 1922.
In 1923, Christie published her third novel, the second one featuring Hercule Poirot, The Murder on the Links. Instead of reading this one, I watched the version where David Suchet portrays Poirot in the long-running ITV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
Even though The Murder on the Links was the second novel, it didn’t show up until Series 6, episode 3, in the television show. As I noted in last year’s review of Elephants Can Remember, the TV series set all of the episodes in the 1930s, even though Agatha Christie wrote each one as a contemporary novel. “The Murder on the Links” is set in 1936, thirteen years into the future of the novel’s publication.
Poirot traveled to a French seaside resort town (filmed on location in Deauville, France). Captain Hastings made the arrangements, choosing a hotel where he could play golf, but Poirot is only interested in the cuisine. They enjoy the beautiful, elegant setting. Hastings is enraptured by the beautiful, elegant, Bella Duveen, the hotel’s singer.
Things start to turn dark when the owner of the hotel confides to Poirot that he fears for his life. The next day, his body is found on his hotel’s golf course. According to his wife, two shady characters broke into their house, gagged and tied her, and took her husband away.
The Paris detective, Giraud, arrives to take the case, professing himself to be the best of detectives. Poirot knows that claim to be untrue, since the title of best of detectives certainly befalls on himself. They wager Giraud’s trademark pipe against Poirot’s trademark mustache to see who can solve the case first.
This was a twisty plot that I didn’t understand until Poirot explained it in the end. With the side wager, Hasting’s crush, and other elements of the mystery, “The Murder on the Links” was an enjoyable story, a bit on the brighter side compared to some of the Poirot stories.
I watched this on DVD from the library. It’s also available on Amazon Prime, if you add the BritBox subscription.