Name: The Murder on the Links
Author: Agatha Christie
Number of Pages: 272 (Paperback)
Published: May 21st 2015 by HarperCollins (Originally published 1923)
Genre: Mystery, Crime
A millionaire dies…
‘One can see by his face that he was stabbed in the back’ said Poirot.
But the strangest feature of the case was where they found the body – in an open grave!
Hercule Poirot had answered an appeal for help – but he was too late!
MURDER – bizarre and baffling – had come to the Villa Genevieve. – from Goodreads
Having resolved that I would like to read more Poirot I thought I might as well try them in order, where possible. This depends on what the library have in stock as some of these books are pretty old and I’ve known them not to stock whole series before.
So, I consulted the list at the front of Styles.
Murder on the Links. Links? That’s golf, yes? Sure enough, a quick search for the cover revealed various golf-themed covers. A golf-themed story? I wondered just how much I would enjoy that, given that I know nothing at all about golf, but I thought I’d give it a try.
The extent of golf related content is a body discovered on a golf course. Not a single golf club was used in the execution of this murder! A little misleading maybe? Or a title to be taken literally.
The story surrounds a French villa and the family and inhabitants of said premises and their neighbours. So don’t be dissuaded if golf isn’t your thing.
Poirot and Hastings journey to Merlinville-sur-Mer, France after the detective receives a letter from a millionaire in fear of his life. Alas, their arrival comes just after the man in question, Paul Renauld, is discovered murdered, stabbed in the back and left on an under-construction golf course.
And so begins Poirot’s next investigation, during which he encounters hostile detectives, mysterious women, hints of romantic intrigue, and a memory of an earlier case which sends him off to Paris in search of the truth.
Rather than Poirot being front and centre he’s part of an ensemble cast of detectives and investigators, from the examining magistrate M. Hautet, who welcomes Poirot’s input, to the commissary, to the unlikable Sûreté inspector Giraud, with his disdain for Poirot, whom he deems an ’old fossil’, and his ‘modern’ methods which often involve crawling around the floor and hiding in bushes. Hastings initially rather admires this man, which may be one of his less foolish choices when you witness certain other things he gets up to during the course of this investigation. Let’s just say a pretty face holds much sway with poor Hastings.
I really like the friendship between Hastings and Poirot. The latter is older, wiser and more level-headed, and meets the hasty actions of his friend with balance, observing at one point that a certain lady definitely isn’t for Hastings, and, in due course, he’s proved right. He also offers to find Hastings a suitable match as well, and what Poirot sets his mind to, well…
Amidst the revelations and the apparent appearance of a second murder victim Poirot, in a cool manner, lets everyone, especially Giraud, go about their business and make their (often wrong) assumptions, keeping his counsel but willing to share certain points of interest to gain opinions, but admitting that he wouldn’t give anything away which may give his rival Giraud any advantage.
In the end of course the truth will out, and it’s a twisty old tale once revealed, a resolution I’m certain only Poirot could bring to light, with his little grey cells. It’s no spoiler to say that Poirot will triumph, not only in solving this case, but also in his competition with Giraud. And on that note let me leave you with a line that made me smile as I witnessed the mutual dislike between Poirot and Giraud draw to its conclusion.
“The great Giraud is nothing but a toy balloon – swollen with its own importance. But I, Hercule Poirot whom he despises, will be the little pin that pricks the big balloon – comme ca!”