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Agatha Christie Brings Down ‘The Curtain’ On Hercule Poirot

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case by the ‘Queen Of Crime’ Agatha Christie is a very special book by itself. Besides being the last work of the writer, summing up the saga in a perfect way (which includes the title even!), and the book reunites old buddies Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings after a period of thirty-eight years taking them back to the scene of the foremost work in the series, the Styles Court.

The great “little grey cells” of Hercule Poirot are challenged and also doubted upon with him being crippled and immobilized. But he sets out to solve the mystery with Hastings, who has become a widower, to Styles Court, from where they have received a letter. Styles, which used to be the ancestral home of the Cavendish family has turned into a guest house for paying guests. One of the paying guests is a vicious and dangerous mass murderer, responsible for five unrelated murders. Many shocking plot twists make it impossible to put the book down until one has reached the even more shocking end.

The book is full of sentiments, most of them far from being happy and has a definite feeling if sadness throughout. Poirot, as usual, keeps Hasting in the dark, referring to the murderer as some ‘X’. In his trials to prevent a dangerous mass murderer from striking again, the esteemed detective is clueless that this is the most dangerous case of his illustrious career, and perhaps the last.

Curtain is a novel that makes one appreciate so as to how well Agatha Christie understands human nature and the fact that ‘evil’ or ‘false stupidity’ is inherent in ALL of us!

The book which was actually published in 1975, thirty years after Agatha had written it (being locked in a vault till then!), was greatly welcomed and praised. It got nominated as the Book of the Year and went on to be claimed as a work of curiosity and triumph both. It was said correctly that for the egoistic Poirot, hero of about 40 books…it is a dazzlingly theatrical finish.

- Tamanna K.

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