• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (September 6, 2016)
"What I intend to say to you will come as a shock..."
With these words, Lady Athelinda Playford -- one of the world's most beloved children's authors -- springs a surprise on the lawyer entrusted with her will. As guests arrive for a party at her Irish mansion, Lady Playford has decided to cut off her two children without a penny . . . and leave her vast fortune to someone else: an invalid who has only weeks to live. Among Lady Playford's visitors are two strangers: the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited -- until Poirot begins to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murder. But why does she seem so determined to provoke a killer? And why -- when the crime is committed despite Poirot's best efforts to stop it -- does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?
I don't think it's a secret that I'm a HUGE Agatha Christie fan and so when I heard Sophie Hannah was writing more Poirot books I was more than a little nervous. What if they weren't good? What if she didn't understand Poirot? Or even worse - what if she made him a figure of mockery? I felt a little better when I read how closely she had worked with the Christie estate - including Christie's grandson, Mathew Prichard. I did pick up The Monogram Murder and while it wasn't my favorite read - the end especially felt a little convoluted - I did enjoy it and felt that Hannah caught the basic personality of Poirot.
So when Closed Casket came around I had no hesitations picking it up and diving right in. I have to say - I was not disappointed. We catch up with Inspector Edward Catchpool who met Poirot in The Monogram Murders and is a wonderful combination of Inspector Japp and Captain Hastings. He's a solid investigator with good instincts but lacks a bit of imagination and frequently has no clue where Poirot is going when he goes off on his tangents. As well, we're treated to a classic Christie setting - the house party. My problems with her first book were basically gone. Poirot felt much more like Poirot and I loved how the ending was straight-forward yet wonderful complicated in true Christie fashion. At the same time Hannah brings a bit of her own to the story. The atmosphere is more suspenseful and I ended up flying through this one - especially the last 200 pages when I had gotten all the characters straight.
I really enjoyed this new Poirot mystery from Sophie Hannah. I was very pleased with her portrayal of Poirot and found this new mystery completely engaging. I'd love to read more books by Hannah and hopefully there will be more Poirot books as well! Rating: Very Good (4 Stars)