Curtain: Poirot’S Last Case
The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings; there was his own daughter Judith, an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton, dashing Mr Allerton, brittle Miss Cole, Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife Barbara, Nurse Craven, Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy, and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington. So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot’s declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the ageing detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?
The novel features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings in their final appearances in Christie’s works. It is a country house novel, with all the characters and the murder set in one house. Not only does the novel return the characters to the setting of her first, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but it reunites Poirot and Hastings, who last appeared together in Dumb Witness in 1937. It was adapted for television in 2013.
Book ReviewCurtain by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Classic Agatha Christie, I did have a firm murder suspect who I thought did the deed.
I was wrong. Again.
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The novel Curtain is a good one, perhaps I would read it again. This time, the plot is narrated by Arthur Hastings who is helping Hercule Poirot to solve the impending crime. The quality of the storyline is great, an easy read and the character were perfect as always.
Hastings was summoned to Poirot, as his eyes and ears, as Poirot himself was bound to a wheelchair. This as Poirot suggests, his last case, the most difficult one yet.
As Hastings seems to question Poirot little grey cells, Poirot assures him that he still the same man and his little grey cells (his mind) is still working as well as they did when they first met.
But as Hasting remarked, I too doubt Poirot little grey cells.
My poor friend. I have described him many times. Now to convey to you the difference. Crippled with arthritis, he propelled himself about in a wheeled chair. His once plump frame had fallen in. He was a thin little man now. His face was lined and wrinkled. His moustache and hair, it is true, were still of a jet black colour, but candidly, though I would not for the world have hurt his feeling by saying so to him, this was a mistake. There comes a moment when hair dye is only too painfully obvious. There had been a time when I had been surprised to learn that the blackness of Poirot’s hair came out of a bottle. but now the theatricality was apparent and merely created the impression that he wore a wig and had adorned his upper lip to amuse the children!
Only his eyes were the same as ever, shrewd and twinkling, and now – yes, undoubtedly – softened with emotion. (pages 12-13)
In many ways, Curtain seems to be a sad book, a fitting ending to the glorious career of extraordinaire detective, Hercule Poirot.
The ending was a surprise. I though X, the murderer code name got away with murder and at this point, I was certain who was the murderer was. But I was wrong.
Curtain seems to combine the best the worst of humanity fragile moral compass. And as Poirot himself said many times, everyone is capable of both good and evil. The bookending prove just that. Albeit this might be a case for a necessary evil.
Again, the book is a great murder mystery, and I highly recommend that you go read the book yourself.
Read my review on Murder on the Orient Express.