I picked The Monogram Murders up from the library because I am joining my local Waterstones book club and this is one of the three selections.
I just want to preface this review by saying that I have only ever read one book by Agatha Christie and that was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I have seen a lot of people on Goodreads especially saying that this doesn’t compare to Christie’s original novels but I don’t think that it is fair to compare Sophie Hannah’s Poirot to Christie’s for many reasons. Firstly, Sophie Hannah is not Agatha Christie (obviously) and so her ability to know this famous character is impeded slightly because it was not her original creation. Secondly, this is a new mystery and so I think Sophie Hannah has the right to change things from the original if she so wishes. Also, this book was approved by the Christie estate so I have no reason to complain.
With that said, I do have a lot of mixed feelings about this novel.
The actual murder mystery premise was intriguing and definitely kept me interested throughout. The murders themselves have a lot of different events leading up to them that the reader obviously doesn’t find out until the end. Overall I would say that the plot wasn’t too predictable. I did guess who the culprit was but there were many aspects of the circumstances that I didn’t guess at all and in my opinion that makes this mystery a success.
The thing I had a problem with was the characterisation of Catchpool. As a Scotland Yard detective he should have been useful in some way to the investigation, maybe not as clever as Poirot himself, but he should have definitely made some more intelligent decisions throughout this novel.
Overall, crime or detective fiction is not something that I am ever going to read a lot of (mostly because I am easily freaked out!) but I think that Agatha Christie and even Sophie Hannah’s rendition of Poirot makes for a very enjoyable read. I would recommend this book but I think you have to go into it with an open mind; anyone too precious about Christie’s characters might find faults with the characters but overall this was an enjoyable read that kept me hooked from the beginning.
3 out of 5 stars!