Still labouring

As you may have guessed by now I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. I even love her short stories, and I'm not usually an aficionado of shorter tales, but her 1947 collection of Poirot shorts The Labours of Hercules is astonishingly disappointing. There are a few decent stories, some humour, and one story that points both backwards to Dorothy L. Sayers' Strong Poison and forwards to Christie's later The Pale Horse, but generally it's a disappointing collection with none of the dazzling legerdemain that I would normally associate with Christie.

Poirot on the eve of retirement decides to solve a last sequence of crimes that will display his talents at their very best. A nice premise but sadly not brought to fruition by this succession of generally turgid tales. Thank goodness Christie changed her mind and resurrected her hero, so that he could dazzle us properly in later classics such as Mrs McGinty's Dead and Dead Man's Folly. Poirot can be great fun, but give the laborious Labours of Hercules a wide berth.


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