Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Monogram Murders - the new Hercule Poirot novel

The Monogram Murders it is, then. One interesting feature of Malice Domestic 26 was the unveiling, by a representative from Agatha Christie's publishers Harper Collins, of an image of the cover of the new Hercule Poirot novel written by Sophie Hannah. It was a bit of a tease, since we were kept in suspense as to the title of the book - the publishers are rather cleverly building up interest in a publication that is bound to be a major event in the world of crime fiction.

I've mentioned before that, although I know this project dismays some Christie purists, I am very much looking forward to seeing what Sophie Hannah does with Poirot. From the first time I met her, which must be seven or eight years ago, I've been aware that she is a genuine fan of Christie, and this counts for a good deal. She is also, even more importantly, highly skilled at the construction of elaborate mystery puzzles - an essential part of the job specification if you are brave enough to tackle a new Poirot. For a keen plotsmith, however, it must be an irresistible challenge, and for me, this story will be an absolute must-read.

And now, finally, we know the title of Sophie's book - The Monogram Murders. Intriguing, I'd say. What do you think of it?


Anonymous said...

Martin - I must admit that title is appealing. I'll also confess to being a bit of a cranky purist about this. I really am. I truly respect Sophie Hannah's writing and talent; there's no question of that. But Poirot? I confess I'd need some convincing.

J F Norris said...

Nice title, indicative of the kind of baffling riddles and clues that exemplify an old-fashioned whodunnit. It immediately makes me think of one of the most famous uses of monograms in a Christie book involving symmetrical letters like A and M and how a mirror image can lead the mind to imagine the wrong order. I'm looking forward to the release of Hannah's book.

Deb said...

Sorry--count me out. I can't believe Christie's heirs are in such dire straits that they had to commission a new Poirot. And Martin, I must respectfully disagree with your assertion that Sophie Hannah is highly-skilled at puzzle plots. She is highly-skilled at developing very intriguing premises--but in the books if hers I've read, the denouements are always disappointing and hinge on hackneyed devices such as the discovery of a tell-all diary. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd once more.

Martin Edwards said...

I've now heard Sophie talking about the book at Crimefest and I'm optimistic. But of course it's a subjective thing. Deb, I think you'd agree that part of Christie's skill, often overlooked, is that you can know the trick in Ackroyd and still enjoy it. Her critics seldom seem to acknowledge this.