Nothing is so sad, in my opinion, as the devastation wrought by age.Curtain by Agatha Christie
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?
Okay, can you guys tell already how much I love her work? The thing about Agatha’s books that I think I really love is how quick and entertaining they are. I usually find myself reaching for one of her books after finishing a long one, just to have a bit of a breather you know?
This was the last novel published by Christie during her long life, but it had been written in the early 1940s during World War II. The book is subtitled Poirot’s Last Case, and the novel ends with the curtain coming down on the little Belgian detective. Yet, even in his deathbed, he manages to solve the mystery.
Christie playfully locates Poirot’s last case in the same setting as her first Poirot novel — her first published mystery — The Mysterious Affair at Styles. It also reunited Poirot with Captain Hastings. In this book Poirot knows the identity of X, a murderer who is present at Styles but will not tell Hastings, because Hastings would not be able to conceal his knowledge.
Poirot believes that “X” is going to strike again and someone at Styles will be murdered, but he doesn’t know who the victim will be. He asks Hastings to be his eyes and ears whilst he is confined to his wheelchair. He also gives Hastings newspaper cuttings of five murder cases, all of which were committed by different people. X apparently had no motive for killing any of the victims, but he/she was connected with all of them.
When Poirot, himself dies, the mystery is unsolved, but there is a twist in the ending, which I didn’t see coming, making this one of my favorite Agatha Christie books. It is also a theatrical and dramatic ending to the book and to Poirot, himself.