Poirot Investigates is the third volume in Agatha Christie’s Poirot series. It is a collection of eleven short stories altogether, and I am having mixed feelings about it.
In the opening story; The Adventure of The ‘Western Star’, we have a fabulous actress who has been receiving notes demanding that she returns her precious diamond to its rightful owner. In The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor, Mr. Maltravers who had insured his life for a large sum of money is found dead. Mr. Maltravers was going through a rough patch, so the insurance company wants Poirot to investigate if his death, in fact, resulted from natural causes. In The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge, Poirot is summoned to solve a murder case, but Hastings has to act as his eyes and legs at the scene as Poirot himself is down with the flu. The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan involves more jewelry – this time a pearl necklace. There are only two people who could have stolen it, and evidence points clearly to one. Thanks to Poirot’s “little grey cells,” an innocent stays out of jail. In the peculiar tale The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman, a dead man is found alone inside a locked apartment, next to an eaten dinner laid for three. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery is the only mystery in the collection that I was able to figure out. In that, a young man who was supposed to deliver a million dollars in Liberty Bonds by ship to America is suspected of stealing them. Poirot agrees to assist the young man to clear his name upon his fiance’s request.
I wonder if Agatha Christie was at least partially influenced by Sherlock Holmes stories. The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, where a young couple obtains a fantastic deal on an apartment when the owner agrees to let the place at a ridiculously low price, reminded me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Red-Headed League.
The final story in the collection; The Case of the Missing Will was interesting. A young, orphaned woman who chose to get an education over learning housework must “prove her wits” to her deceased uncle to gain her inheritance, so she turns to Poirot for help. Of course, Poirot outsmarts the foxy old uncle by solving the mystery of the will, but I thought the heiress cheated when she hired Poirot!
For me, the two stories that stood out were The Kidnapped Prime Minister and The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim. In The Kidnapped Prime Minister, the British Prime Minister is kidnapped in France before the Allied Conference during World War I. Poirot has 24 hours to find the Prime Minister before it turns into a national scandal. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim is a story about the mysterious disappearance of a banker, which Poirot bets Japp he could solve without leaving his apartment! Both the stories were perfect intellectual puzzles. I was surprised and thoroughly satisfied by the mystery element in both of them. However, other than these two stories, I can not say I liked the rest of the stories in the collection. For me, most of them were mediocre, and I prefer Agatha Christie’s full-length novels over her short stories!
I did not watch the TV episodes of these short stories this time because I was feeling rather “Meh!” about them! Hopefully, I will like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd which I am going to read in May more, so I can get back to doing Book vs. TV comparisons. 😀