A Holiday for Murder (also titled Hercule Poirot's Christmas) by Agatha Christie
Rating: Very Good
Description: Motives for Murder: A fortune in uncut diamonds, hidden by an eccentric old man A woman's love, too freely given A business empire built on ruthlessness Each of them may have been a motive for the brutal slaying of wealthy old Simeon Lee. Coupled with Lee's family, each member of which hated him and wished to see him dead, they presented Hercule Poirot with a baffling challenge--one which the astute detective solved only through his uncanny ability to see "the little things."
Why I Picked This Book: It's an Agatha Christie Christmas murder mystery. How could I not read this around Christmas?
My Impression: I just a good Agatha Christie mystery! And this one did not disappoint. This book was published in 1938 which was a happy time for Agatha personally and her mysteries from this time period benefit from that as they are all absolutely excellent.
One of the things that I love best about this book is a note at the very beginning from Agatha to her brother-in-law James hoping that this will fulfill his desire for "a good violent murder with lots of blood." since he felt her murders had been getting too refined. I just loved that personal touch and the peek behind the scenes it offers.
While this murder is definitely on the bloody side it's still a Christie mystery and the violence occurs off page. The characters are a huge mix of personalities and are more developed than is typical with Christie's characters. There's agreeable but meek Alfred, calm and kind Lydia, mean and selfish George, con-artist Harry, spirited and impulsive Pilar and looming over all of them is elderly but powerful Simon Lee - the patriarch who enjoys watching them all dance to his bidding. When the murder comes just about everyone has motive and opportunity and the missing diamonds add even more possibilities to the overwhelmed detectives. Luckily, Hercule Poriot is in town visiting his friend Colonel Johnson and is happy to lend a hand.
This is one that I remembered the end but I still got as much pleasure reading this as I did the first time I read it. Looking at the motives and how skillfully Christie added details and dropped clues was an absolute treat and I held my breath just like I did the first time I read it as the ending unravels. The holiday was also nicely incorporated and while it isn't a Christmas I would want to take part in it does feel Christmas-y!
I hope James enjoyed his blood soaked mystery as much as I did!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Of course! I'll be starting the next Hercule Poirot mystery soon and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with Miss Marple.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely! If you are new to Agatha this would be a good one to start with and if you are already a fan you must read this one immediately!