Murder on the Links is the second Poirot novel by Agatha Christie and entered the public domain in the United States on January 1 of this year. Poirot is summoned to France by a wealthy man needing his urgent assistance. Poirot arrives to find the man murdered and sets out to solve the case.
There are some marked improvements from the first Poirot book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. For one thing, the action gets going far more quickly. We have the dead body at the end of Chapter One.
The plot itself is clever, with a nice collection of red herrings and misdirection for Poirot, Hastings, and the reader to sort through. In addition, there’s a mysterious woman who Hastings is smitten with and may have something to do with the murder.
In this book, Poirot is still developing into the man he’d become in the later books, but he does take several steps away from the more Holmesian feel of the first book as he indicates his focus is more than the psychological than physical evidence. Captain Hastings in love is also an interesting character, even though he complicates Poirot’s efforts because of his feelings for the young woman twice (though he only did it intentionally once.)
The one thing I think didn’t work awas the idea of giving Poirot a rival investigator to play off against. Though in the book it doesn’t bother me as much as it did in the TV and radio adaptations.
Overall, this was a well-crafted mystery with a clever solution. It’s nice to see Poirot’s development as a character, and this book holds up pretty well.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
If you’re in the United States You can download Murder on the Links for free from Project Gutenberg
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