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Dumb Witness
A Hercule Poirot Mystery
By Agatha Chrisite

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Dumb Witness
By Agatha Christie
Compass Press Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7531-6589-9
Genre: Mystery

Other Editions: Standard Print - Paperback

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - July 16, 2002

How do you solve a murder when the only witness is a dog, who may also be the murderer? For most this would be an impossible task. But, as Agatha Christie is quick to point out, this can be done quite easily when the person working on the crime is none other than the indomitable Belgium detective, Hercule Poirot. In this case he is meritoriously assisted by Bob, a wire-haired terrier who seems to want to prove his innocence and to point out to Poirot the real culprit of the crime - if only he can get Poirot to understand him. Together, they work to clear Bob's name, and to discover who really killed Emily Arundell, Bob's mistress. Although he seems to take a backseat to Bob in this mystery, Captain Hastings, Poirot's long time assistance is also on hand to help Poirot massage his little grey cells.

This is one of Christie's more 'fun' books. The idea of the uncompromising Poirot working hand-in-hand with a dog is almost preposterous - yet Christie has woven the story line so well that it all seems remarkably natural. Emily lived in Littlegreen House with Bob and her companion Miss Minnie Lawson, and it was here that Emily died. As with most of Christie's mysteries, this one offers the reader a host of likely suspects, including Emily's nieces, Bella and Theresa, her nephew Charles, Bella's Greek husband, Dr. Tanios, and Theresa's fiancee, Dr. Donaldson.

Poirot arrives on the case at the behest of Emily, a request that he received from after she is already dead! Before her death, Emily had sent a letter to Poirot detailing her suspicions and the fact that she thought that her life was in danger. Mysteriously, it took eleven days for the letter to reach him. By that time it was already too late to save Emily - but not too late to solve the mystery surrounding her death.

Why are there so many suspects in this case? The answer is simple, just before her death Emily changed her will to name Lawson as her sole beneficiary, thereby disinheriting all of her kin. As Poirot pries into the histories and the motives of the various players in this mystery, he uncovers numerous skeletons and multiple reasons each one may have wanted to see Emily dead. As well, he discovers how the deed was carried out, and the real reason behind why Emily 'had to die'.

This delightful mystery has been published under a variety of names, including Dumb Witness, Poirot Loses a Client, Murder at Little Green House, and Mystery at Little Green House. No matter what title you find this book listed under, you're in for a marvelous time as Poirot and Bob the Dog track down the wily killer of Emily Arundell.


Dumb Witness can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Compass Press.

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