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The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly to Captain Hastings: there was his own daughter Judith, an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton, dashing Mr Allerton, brittle Miss Cole, Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife Barbara, Nurse Craven, Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife Daisy, and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington.

So Hastings was shocked when Poirot declared that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the ageing detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?...

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061741005
List price: $9.99
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This is Poirot’s last case, and it ends where it all began. His mind is sharp until the last, and he is still educating Hastings in the way true detectives should think. A fitting way to finish Poirot’s career, it is still sad to see it come to an end. Well written, fans of Christie will find it fascinating.more
When we think of a murder mystery we think of a plot where a detective finds out who killed whom, with what and possibly where. None of this applies to this masterpiece mystery. Although known as the second novel Agatha Christie ever wrote, it is one of the last ones published. Agatha Christie herself claimed she wanted to save the book until she had finished a lot more other detective novels. After reading the book you might agree that she was most likely too nervous to release this type of plot onto the world, and with good reason. She would in her life be berated by readers and other crime novelists for her 'unorthodox' murder mechanisms and approaches. In fact Dorothy Sayers threatened to kick her out of the Detection Club for her plot in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Christie's main offense was allegedly not providing enough information for the readers to figure out for themselves who dunnit. This novel, Curtain, is no exception, except that the plot in this novel is so subtle and intricate that even if all information was explicitly provided people would most likely still be up in arms over it. Without giving too much away, Christie found a means of committing murder that can not under any circumstance be blamed on the killer.In Curtain, we meet famed detective Hercule Poirot one last and final time. In a message, which leaves nothing to speculation as to Poirot's health, the great detective summons his old friend Hastings to the house where it all began. The large mansion has since changed ownership and is now a lovely bed and breakfast with modern conveniences. Like before, and this time announced early on by Poirot, the hotel will be host to a murderer. Again without giving away too much about the plot it can be said that this is one of the most unorthodox methods by which any murderer has operated. In fact it is the way by which the murderer kills and more importantly gets away with it, which is the best part of the novel and its most controversial part.Christie early on defined for herself two principles by which her Belgian detective approached a case. First of all Poirot would solve all crimes by means of psychology and not for example by using an analysis of cigarette ashes. Second, it was extremely important to Poirot that the innocent should not suffer or be blamed for something they had not done. Out of all the novels she wrote, Curtain actually honors those both those principles. In other works it could be argued that Poirot also used cigarette ashes and circumstantial evidence, but not in this one, this one is all psychology. Perhaps yet another reason she was hesitant to release the book into the critical hands of her readers.Agatha Christie liked unorthodox plots, to her credit. But she had one weakness, which makes this novel even more difficult to get into. Her characters have always been rather flat and boilerplate. She usually introduces a grand old lady of the house who's irresistibly beautiful and eternally tragic. There's always a colonel or captain somewhere who just got back from safari or a war. This does not make a good combination with a plot that is highly logical and mechanical and contrary to other novels she wrote this one is on the extreme side of mechanical writing. How then to think about a book such as this? Should the rating reflect the genius of plotting and logic or should the work be judged solely on its character development and emotional depth? It's hard to say but I feel I need to reward the tremendous originality of the novel and slightly overlook the sentimental aspects.more
Hadn't read an Agatha Christie Novel since the '80’s, so thought I’d revisit an old favourite. This was probably not the best book to revisit with if I wanted to figure out why I was hooked on her writing back then to begin with. Whether it's fair or not, I expected this novel to somehow be better than all the others that came before it. For me it came short, not to say that it disappointed. It did fill the spot for an easy to read murder mystery, so I’ll give it props on that.more
I didn't guess it. This is Poirot's last case and a fairly satisfying end to the series. In it he confronts the perfect criminal. I really don't remember much about the other Poirots I read, but his loyal sidekick, Hastings, is very obviously an unreliable narrator in this one. I'm not convinced that all the other people that I had thought "done it" could be absolutely ruled out; they all had means and opportunity (in my telling of the back story) and could have had motives. But the book's explanation also works. My primary uneasiness about the story is that the crossword puzzle answer to "'Jealousy is a green-eyed monster,' this person said" is five letters and "Iago" is only four.more
Poirot and Hastings return to Styles, the scene of their first investigation, for what is Poirot's last case. This book has an ingenuious plot, which I don't want to give away. Christie wrote this book and kept it back so that it could be released after her death, or when she was ready to stop writing Poirot stories, and she was right to do so. I believe that one of her main concerns was to stop other authors writing Poirot stories after her death, and I hope that the Christie Estate doesn't follow the examples set by the Estates of Ian Fleming, Enid Blyton and Douglas Adams.more
I didn't want to see Poirot die, but if he has to die, this is the way for him to go. Hunting a criminal with his best friend Hastings. It definitely reminds me of the "death" of Sherlock Holmes pursuing his greatest enemy, Moriarty. The plot was complex, and there are many reasons to suspect everyone of murder. And it has a satisfying ending. Any Poirot fan will want to read this since it brings back lots of Poirot/Hastings memories and ties up some loose ends.more
...Poor old Poirot, he was a great detective! I didn't want to read this one because I knew it was Poirot's final case and I didn't want to see him die, however, now that I have read it, I'm glad I did! I love Agatha Christie and she didn't dissapoint with "Curtain." Like always, she kept me guessing until the very end- although I was sure I knew who did it with each new clue, only to be proven wrong once again. While the beginning is a little slow, once the shooting and fighting start everything picks up and snowballs! My only critisism is with Hastings. He's very much in his own little world and kinda stuck up, which at times annoyed me. Other than that, however, if you're an Agatha fan, you'll certainly enjoy this one!FAVORITE QUOTES: Why the worst type of man can always be relied upon to please and interest the nicest of women has long been a problem beyone me. I knew instinctively that Allerton was a rotter- and nine men out of ten would have agreed with me. Whereas nine women or possibly the whole ten would have fallen for him immediately. // It's an idea of mine, you know, that about eighty per cent of the human race ought to be eliminated. We'd get on much better without them. // People are too afraid of responsibility. They'll take responsibility where a dog is concerned- why not with a human being? // "Truth," he said, "is seldom appreciated. And yet it saves a lot of time and a lot of inaccurate speech."more
I enjoy most Agatha Christie books, this was a fine mystery as well. Memorable, though not my favorite Poirot. I do not keep Christie books on my shelves because there are too many of them and although fun, there isn't much more to them for me.more
Poirot's last case and what a case it is! Morals and values are pitted against the murder - a grand book for all who know Poirot!more
This is the last of the Poirot mysteries. Christie wrote it years before her death with instructions that it be published after her death to help ensure that no one else continued writing Poirot stories. Of course we all know how well that worked with Sherlock Holmes.more
Read all 10 reviews

Reviews

This is Poirot’s last case, and it ends where it all began. His mind is sharp until the last, and he is still educating Hastings in the way true detectives should think. A fitting way to finish Poirot’s career, it is still sad to see it come to an end. Well written, fans of Christie will find it fascinating.more
When we think of a murder mystery we think of a plot where a detective finds out who killed whom, with what and possibly where. None of this applies to this masterpiece mystery. Although known as the second novel Agatha Christie ever wrote, it is one of the last ones published. Agatha Christie herself claimed she wanted to save the book until she had finished a lot more other detective novels. After reading the book you might agree that she was most likely too nervous to release this type of plot onto the world, and with good reason. She would in her life be berated by readers and other crime novelists for her 'unorthodox' murder mechanisms and approaches. In fact Dorothy Sayers threatened to kick her out of the Detection Club for her plot in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Christie's main offense was allegedly not providing enough information for the readers to figure out for themselves who dunnit. This novel, Curtain, is no exception, except that the plot in this novel is so subtle and intricate that even if all information was explicitly provided people would most likely still be up in arms over it. Without giving too much away, Christie found a means of committing murder that can not under any circumstance be blamed on the killer.In Curtain, we meet famed detective Hercule Poirot one last and final time. In a message, which leaves nothing to speculation as to Poirot's health, the great detective summons his old friend Hastings to the house where it all began. The large mansion has since changed ownership and is now a lovely bed and breakfast with modern conveniences. Like before, and this time announced early on by Poirot, the hotel will be host to a murderer. Again without giving away too much about the plot it can be said that this is one of the most unorthodox methods by which any murderer has operated. In fact it is the way by which the murderer kills and more importantly gets away with it, which is the best part of the novel and its most controversial part.Christie early on defined for herself two principles by which her Belgian detective approached a case. First of all Poirot would solve all crimes by means of psychology and not for example by using an analysis of cigarette ashes. Second, it was extremely important to Poirot that the innocent should not suffer or be blamed for something they had not done. Out of all the novels she wrote, Curtain actually honors those both those principles. In other works it could be argued that Poirot also used cigarette ashes and circumstantial evidence, but not in this one, this one is all psychology. Perhaps yet another reason she was hesitant to release the book into the critical hands of her readers.Agatha Christie liked unorthodox plots, to her credit. But she had one weakness, which makes this novel even more difficult to get into. Her characters have always been rather flat and boilerplate. She usually introduces a grand old lady of the house who's irresistibly beautiful and eternally tragic. There's always a colonel or captain somewhere who just got back from safari or a war. This does not make a good combination with a plot that is highly logical and mechanical and contrary to other novels she wrote this one is on the extreme side of mechanical writing. How then to think about a book such as this? Should the rating reflect the genius of plotting and logic or should the work be judged solely on its character development and emotional depth? It's hard to say but I feel I need to reward the tremendous originality of the novel and slightly overlook the sentimental aspects.more
Hadn't read an Agatha Christie Novel since the '80’s, so thought I’d revisit an old favourite. This was probably not the best book to revisit with if I wanted to figure out why I was hooked on her writing back then to begin with. Whether it's fair or not, I expected this novel to somehow be better than all the others that came before it. For me it came short, not to say that it disappointed. It did fill the spot for an easy to read murder mystery, so I’ll give it props on that.more
I didn't guess it. This is Poirot's last case and a fairly satisfying end to the series. In it he confronts the perfect criminal. I really don't remember much about the other Poirots I read, but his loyal sidekick, Hastings, is very obviously an unreliable narrator in this one. I'm not convinced that all the other people that I had thought "done it" could be absolutely ruled out; they all had means and opportunity (in my telling of the back story) and could have had motives. But the book's explanation also works. My primary uneasiness about the story is that the crossword puzzle answer to "'Jealousy is a green-eyed monster,' this person said" is five letters and "Iago" is only four.more
Poirot and Hastings return to Styles, the scene of their first investigation, for what is Poirot's last case. This book has an ingenuious plot, which I don't want to give away. Christie wrote this book and kept it back so that it could be released after her death, or when she was ready to stop writing Poirot stories, and she was right to do so. I believe that one of her main concerns was to stop other authors writing Poirot stories after her death, and I hope that the Christie Estate doesn't follow the examples set by the Estates of Ian Fleming, Enid Blyton and Douglas Adams.more
I didn't want to see Poirot die, but if he has to die, this is the way for him to go. Hunting a criminal with his best friend Hastings. It definitely reminds me of the "death" of Sherlock Holmes pursuing his greatest enemy, Moriarty. The plot was complex, and there are many reasons to suspect everyone of murder. And it has a satisfying ending. Any Poirot fan will want to read this since it brings back lots of Poirot/Hastings memories and ties up some loose ends.more
...Poor old Poirot, he was a great detective! I didn't want to read this one because I knew it was Poirot's final case and I didn't want to see him die, however, now that I have read it, I'm glad I did! I love Agatha Christie and she didn't dissapoint with "Curtain." Like always, she kept me guessing until the very end- although I was sure I knew who did it with each new clue, only to be proven wrong once again. While the beginning is a little slow, once the shooting and fighting start everything picks up and snowballs! My only critisism is with Hastings. He's very much in his own little world and kinda stuck up, which at times annoyed me. Other than that, however, if you're an Agatha fan, you'll certainly enjoy this one!FAVORITE QUOTES: Why the worst type of man can always be relied upon to please and interest the nicest of women has long been a problem beyone me. I knew instinctively that Allerton was a rotter- and nine men out of ten would have agreed with me. Whereas nine women or possibly the whole ten would have fallen for him immediately. // It's an idea of mine, you know, that about eighty per cent of the human race ought to be eliminated. We'd get on much better without them. // People are too afraid of responsibility. They'll take responsibility where a dog is concerned- why not with a human being? // "Truth," he said, "is seldom appreciated. And yet it saves a lot of time and a lot of inaccurate speech."more
I enjoy most Agatha Christie books, this was a fine mystery as well. Memorable, though not my favorite Poirot. I do not keep Christie books on my shelves because there are too many of them and although fun, there isn't much more to them for me.more
Poirot's last case and what a case it is! Morals and values are pitted against the murder - a grand book for all who know Poirot!more
This is the last of the Poirot mysteries. Christie wrote it years before her death with instructions that it be published after her death to help ensure that no one else continued writing Poirot stories. Of course we all know how well that worked with Sherlock Holmes.more
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