A Year in Books: June (‘The Monogram Murders’ by Sophie Hannah)
Plot summary: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah features a character originally created by Agatha Christie, the famous detective Hercule Poirot. One evening, a flustered woman tells Poirot that she is going to be murdered. Later that night, Poirot finds out that three guests have been killed at the Bloxham Hotel, each one found with a cufflink in his or her mouth. While Poirot tries to solve the two seemingly unrelated mysteries, the murderer prepares to strike again…
Positive: The plot is very intricately designed! Even if you manage to guess some parts, the full story is very difficult to foresee, and the ending will likely surprise you.
The story mostly progresses at a reasonable pace. It reveals just enough to keep you satisfied, but still wanting more. As Poirot tells his policeman friend Edward Catchpool, he is not only a detective but a teacher, guiding Catchpool (and the reader) to use “the little grey cells.”
The characterisation is also very well done. The characters remain true to themselves throughout. I also enjoyed the traces of humour, especially Poirot’s frustration at how slow Catchpool is sometimes. 😀
Negative: The plot got a little slow and tiring near the end. I just wanted to know the answers already, but the information was withheld for as long as possible (perhaps even a bit longer than that). This ruined the ‘grand reveal’ just a little bit.
The story was narrated in first person by Edward Catchpool. I felt that a third person narration might have been better, as readers are often told of Poirot’s experiences in unbelievable detail, all of which is unlikely for Catchpool to know.
I initially found the character of Catchpool a bit annoying because he rejected close to every possibility Poirot suggested. His negativity, however, was overshadowed by the depth of his character, and our shared confusion over what the heck was going on.
Overall: Despite what I consider to be certain flaws, I could sing this book’s praises for a while. It was certainly a worthwhile read, and forced me to employ my rusty deduction skills while I was reading. I did make the mistake of reading the last few chapters alone at night, though, and that creeped me out more than I’d like to admit… 😛
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a good mystery/thriller to read.
A note: Those who read my last ‘A Year in Books’ post will probably wonder how I managed to skip straight from January to June. I have been reading, but for various reasons have not been putting up a review a month. One of those reasons may be my dismal time management skills. *ahem*
I plan to return to the months that I missed soon (by reviewing a book for each month, not through time travel) (but only because my time travel machine is under repairs at the moment).