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Peril at End House
By Agatha Christie

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Peril at End House
By Agatha Christie
Ulverscroft Large Print, 1990
ISBN: 0-7089-0153-0
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - September 6, 2005

Poirot is at the top of his form in Christie's Peril at End House. Technically, Poirot has retired and no longer devotes his 'little grey cells' to the task of solving mysteries. However, Poirot is not taking to retirement very well, and to help ease his transition, his faithful sidekick Captain Hasting's has whisked Poirot off to Cornwall for of a much needed vacation. When the opportunity presents itself, Poirot is more than willing to set aside his own pleasures and sets out on a dangerous adventure to discover just who is trying to kill Magdala Buckley. Called Nick by her friends, Magdala is a young woman whose life was almost ended when she was shot at while talking to Poirot of all people.

Why should anyone want to kill Magdala? She doesn't have any money, to her knowledge she doesn't have any enemies, and she has nothing to leave her heirs. Despite the apparent lack of a motive, Poirot is positive that someone is out to kill the young woman. In the last three days she has experience three life-threatening accidents, and upon hearing of them, Poirot is sure that what Magdala views as accidents where actually murder attempts. With panache and their usual excellent detective work, Poirot and Hastings set out to uncover the truth about these puzzling attacks and to find out just who the would-be murder actually is, before he succeeds in killing his intended victim. A task that is easier said than done, especially when the intended victim refuses to believe that someone is after her - even after someone else is killed while wearing her shawl.

As you would expect, if you're a Christie fan, the Peril at End House is chock full of eccentric characters, strange relationships, and a mysterious British house full of secret passages and other unique architectural features. This is great read in the best tradition of Christie and her Poirot series. The heroine is in constant danger, Poirot is faced with an intelligent and ruthless foe, and potential suspects can be found all over the place. Yet despite the morass of clues, suspects, and red-herrings, Poirot, Hastings, and the reader, will eventually get to the disturbing truth behind why someone wants Magdala Buckley dead.

Hercule Poirot is, in my opinion, one the best fictional detectives to ever walk across a page. In a head to head contest, Poirot would defiantly give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. While both are sure to solve any case, Poirot will solve it in a manner that allows the reader a fair chance of coming to the same conclusion, while Holmes has a tendency to see things that no one else does and unless you just happen to possess his same, mythical skills at deduction, you might not know the solution to the puzzle until Holmes reveals the answer. Hence, while I am more than willing to duff my hat to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, it is to Dame Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot that I will always give top honors to, in my library.

The Peril at End House does nothing to change my opinion about Poirot. This is a superb mystery, and one that I highly recommend to Christie fans as well as anyone looking for a diverting read that is well-crafted, complex, and throughly enthralling.

Peril at End House can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.

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