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Basically all my reading time has been eaten up by Yuletide canon review, except for these bite-sized Agatha Christie novels, so the theme of this week's reading meme is Death In Various Locations, With Special Guest Hercule Poirot.

What I've Just Finished Reading

Murder on the Orient Express! You know, I've been reading books as long as I can remember, and I don't think I ever really understood what it means for a book to be "plot-driven" until now. This is a really good plot-driven book. A complex locked-train-compartment puzzle murder is picked apart to reveal the ghost of an ugly earlier murder wholly without entertainment value, and then all the pieces are reassembled together until every likely and unlikey solution is excluded and only the most improbable and perfect one remains.

It's beautifully done and very satisfying (and then a little unsatisfying, because [spoiler redacted], but I don't know what to do about that).

What I'm Reading Now

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, also by Agatha Christie, also featuring Hercule Poirot, who is a bit more of a distinct character here than he was in Murder on the Orient Express, hinting at various events in his past, adopting the cagey narrator as his Watson, and fixing his moustache whenever possible. A man was stabbed in his own study with a souvenir dagger! The only fingerprints on the dagger were his own! Everyone has a motive and everyone is acting a little suspiciously! This one is fun to read because I was spoiled for the killer's identity by P. D. James, so I'm just watching to see how Christie pulls it all off without being too obvious (the answer is "remarkably well so far").

Poirot is all right. He's an Accessory Detective with Disarming Quirks and I guess he's a pretty good one, as these things go? I still don't have enough experience with the genre to say. I don't love him or hate him or want to hit him over the head with any of his own accessories. So far, my favorite thing about him is his use of "cells" (as in "brain cells") to mean "intelligence;" at one point he compliments the cagey narrator by telling him "You have some cells." NB for osprey_archer -- Hastings has been mentioned, but does not appear. I still haven't met him.

What I Plan to Read Next

Death on the Nile, lots more canon review, probably finish those other books I started at some point?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
alley_skywalker
Nov. 12th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
I don't really have any substantive to say, lol, but just wow, I'm always in awe of people who can go through books at the rate of like 1 a week or even 1 month (given that they're like actual novels -- over 200 pgs). Even when I'm on vacation and have plenty of time I can't go through stuff that quickly. Part of it is that I'm a slow reader, but also I just can't sit still for that long apparently lol.
evelyn_b
Nov. 12th, 2014 06:54 pm (UTC)
The Wednesday Reading Meme is helpful to me because usually I begin about five different books at once and forget to finish three of them and then start five more, but having a posting schedule encourages me to read single books all the way to the end. Plus, I've been reading a bucketload of mystery novels lately and those are much quicker reading than what I usually dive into.

Whether I'm a slow reader or a fast one varies a lot, I think. I can burn through one of these Agatha Christies in an afternoon if it's a slow day at work, but there are books of the same length that I like just as well or better, but bob around in for weeks on end, because they're denser or have a different kind of current. And it takes me forever to read any kind of non-fiction.

(And then there are some books that I never actually stop reading -- just take briefer or longer breaks from and resume eventually).
osprey_archer
Nov. 12th, 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
Hastings hasn't appeared? I thought Hastings always appeared, like Watson to Poirot's Homes. Clearly I was misinformed!
evelyn_b
Nov. 12th, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC)
The elusive Hastings has not appeared! I've only read Orient Express and Roger Ackroyd, though. He's briefly mentioned by name in Roger Ackroyd, and not mentioned at all in Orient Express that I can recall, unless he was the friend of Poirot's who went to Argentina, whom Poirot misses very much, in which case he gets brought up a couple of times in a melancholy way.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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