Midweek Review: Peril at End House

Today begins the inauguration of a new feature here at an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe) called Midweek Review. Each Wednesday, I will review my week in reading and look ahead to future reading with a review(s) of (a) book(s) and/or other posts. This week’s first book review is:

Agatha Christie CollectionTitle: Peril at End House
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication Year: 1932
Pages: 179
Genre: Mystery
Count for Year: 34

How I discovered

I have joined Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise with her Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and this is part of that.

The setup

There has always been an air of evil at End House, and with three attempted murders in as many days, it’s up to the famous Poirot to unravel the mystery…

synopsis from I-Play, presented by Oberon Media

Hercule Poirot is back and it couldn’t be a moment sooner for me as I was losing a little momentum in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge with the last few novels, especially with the last one Murder at Hazelmoor.

This one starts out interestingly enough, with Poirot being pulled into an investigation by a young woman, Nick Buckley, who just had an attempt on her life in front of him. Poirot and Hastings are staying at a hotel in St. Loo for  a week when Ms. Buckley wanders through the garden there and thinks it was a bee buzzing around her head when actually it was a bullet.

From there, we learn that it was not the first attempt on her life that week, with a painting above her bed almost falling on her, a boulder almost falling on her and the brakes in her car going out. Naturally, even though he is on vacation, Poirot must investigate — and, of course, a murder does occur.

As in other Christie novels, she employs plenty of red herrings that make you think “A-ha,” X did it, then later “A-ha”, no, Y did it…and then wait a minute, maybe it was Z. Finally  you’re back to A and it goes around and around the alphabet. In this one actually, Poirot and Hastings do make up a list of suspects A to I, but really there are no X, Y and Z.

Then there is J.

J. ? There could be a J.: e.g. an outsider. But with a link in the form of one of the foregoing. If so, probably connected with A., D. and E. or F. The existence would explain (1) Ellen’s lack of surprise at crime and her pleasurable satisfaction. (But that might be due to natural pleasurable excitement of her class over deaths. (2) The reason for Croft and his wife coming to live in lodge. (3) Might supply motive for F.R.’s fear of secret being revealed.

So who is it that committed the murder? I won’t tell, but I will say that I was disappointed in the ending because Christie has used this trick in previous novels. The journey, as always with Poirot, was a fun one, but the denouement, although unforeseen in the context of the novel, was a ruse she has used previously. For that reason, I will give the book a 3, although it could be slightly higher, like a 3.5, if I used such a rating (which I will now 😉 That might only be, of course, that I am glad to see Poirot back as he will be in the next few.

My rating system:

5- Classic, must read
4- Worth
owning a copy
3- Worth picking up at library
2- Worth skimming at the bookstore
1- Worth being a doorstop

For others reviews of the book:

If you also have reviewed the book, please leave a link in the comments, or e-mail me at unfinishedperson (at) gmail (dot) com and I will add your review to the list.

And yes, the book has been made into a game for PCs. Click on the cover to find out more about it.

This post also can be found on my book blog, Just A (Reading) Fool. If you only are interested in book-related posts, you can subscribe only to that blog, if you so choose.

5 responses to “Midweek Review: Peril at End House

  1. Pingback: Midweek Review: Thirteen at Dinner « Unfinished Person

  2. Considering the volume of her output, I guess it’s fair that there should be some repetition. Will you be reading the Mary Westmacott books? You wouldn’t know it was her if it wasn’t indicated on the cover. I eventually gave up on those because I didn’t like them as much as the mysteries. But they were certainly different! Kind of Daphne DuMaruier-ish.

  3. Pingback: Midweek Review: Thirteen At Dinner « An unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  4. I’ve consulted my Agatha Christe checklist to see what I had to say about this one. I read it back on 5 July 2001, and like you I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. My comments: “I was on the right track as to the suspect, but, like Poirot, focused on the wrong crime.” I think we have discussed before that Christie tended to try out plot devices in her short stories that eventually turned up in her novels.

    • You are such a teacher. “I think we have discussed before…” However, I haven’t read her short stories, Mrs. Dean 😉 However, I’ve seen the twist in other of her novels.