Elephants can remember, but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget.Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
A classic Hercule Poirot investigation, Agatha Christie’s Elephants Can Remember has the expert detective delving into an unsolved crime from the past involving the strange death of a husband and wife. Hercule Poirot stood on the clifftop. Here, many years earlier, there had been a fatal accident followed by the grisly discovery of two bodies—a husband and wife who had been shot dead. But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder? Poirot delves into the past and discovers that “old sins leave long shadows.”
Elephants Can Remember was the last novel that Agatha Christie wrote featuring either Hercule Poirot, the Belgian Detective, or Ariadne Oliver, who appears to be an avatar of the author.
Years ago, General Ravenscroft and his younger wife, Margaret, walked to the cliff near their home in Overcliff. Both were found shot with no sign of anyone approaching them. Either the General killed his wife and then himself or she killed the General and then herself. At the end of the day, the case was never resolved.
Ten years later, Ariadne Oliver is approached about the case, as the daughter of the couple is due to marry and her potential mother-in-law is determined to find the truth of what happened. As Celia Ravenscroft is Ariadne’s goddaughter, she agrees, but given the time that has passed, can anyone truly remember what happened? Luckily, Hercule Poirot agrees to help her.
Now, I love Agatha Christie and will probably read any of her works at any given time, but this was not one of my favorites. I was expecting a plot as good as some of her other books, which I love, like “And then there were none” and “Death on the Nile”, but the plot was pretty unexciting for me.
I think what made this story a little more enjoyable for me was the characters. Poirot is as funny and witty as always and Ariadne is a really strong-minded woman who is not afraid to speak up. I also did enjoy how it made me think about how crimes, and the justice system, really can rely on who remembers what, and how reliable their memory actually is.
It’s fair to say I thought this one was good, but not amazing. I felt there was a lot of unnecessary chatter and dialogue and overall I was eager for the plot to reach its climax so I could work out what had happened. I definitely did enjoy it, but I think it just needed to be a bit more thrilling.