Series: Poirot #20
Published by William Morrow on December 15, 2003 (first published December 19, 1938)
Genres: British mystery, Christmas
Source: my personal collection
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Also in this series: The Monogram Murders
Also by this author: The Monogram Murders
In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder—and the notoriously fastidious investigator is quickly on the case.
It's Christmas Eve, and the Lee family's reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.
When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man....
This title was previously published as Murder for Christmas and A Holiday for Murder.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is a good mystery with one of Christie’s trademark surprise endings, but despite the title, it is not heartwarming holiday reading! The Lee family is dysfunctional, and too many of its members are unpleasant in one way or another. The murder is particularly brutal, though of course Christie doesn’t go into a lot of graphic detail; the murder method, not disclosed until the denouement, is clever. This being my third or fourth reading, I did pick up one tiny unexplained detail (how did the thief know where to stash the diamonds?), but it didn’t detract from the fun of seeing the mystery solved.
I love Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and I always enjoy reading one of Poirot’s investigations, but this one is better read when you’re not trying to get into the holiday mood.