Friday, 15 January 2016

curtain

On Monday 11 January I finished Curtain by Agatha Christie. Written during the war, possibly as some income for her family in case she was killed in the war, but deliberately not published till the end of her life, as it was Poirot's last case. Happily Christie never troubled herself with issues of chronology in relation to Marple and Poirot, who both start out very old then carry on, without aging, for decades, so it doesn't bear chronological analysis but that doesn't matter. In fact this one is notable because Poirot has definitely aged, knowing that this is to be the last one. (I wonder if Sleeping Murder, the last Miss Marple, is similar; I've read it, actually, but can't remember...)

It was fine. It has the archetypical dimwitted sidekick, Hastings, who I hate, along with all other dimwitted sidekicks. In terms of solutions, Agatha did seem to try to work through every possible permutation of whodunnit, which is one of the things I like about it, and this one manages to get two lesser-spotted variants in, so I enjoyed that, even if it wasn't too hard to realise what they were going to be. It was over-full of people who were behaving overly suspiciously for insufficient reason beyond increasing the general spread of suspicious behaviour. I would neither particularly recommend it or steer people away from it; I might incline to the latter just because it's one of the Hastings-narrated ones. It lacks the wit that some of them have, not least I guess because it's saddled with a dimwitted narrator.

What have we learnt from it about the human condition? Nothing, really, but what did you expect?