Poirot is on holiday in the Middle East when he is called to investigate the death of Mrs Boynton. She’s described as an evil, sadistic harpy whose abusive behaviour towards her stepchildren is reminiscent of her premarital career as a prison warden. But who killed her and left her body among the red cliffs of Petra, like a monstrous swollen Buddha?
❤️ What I liked about Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
🔝 The incipit. “You do see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?” This is one of the best incipits ever. The readers, indeed, have to wait a bit to get to the murder itself, but this sentence sets the tone and creates a sense of expectation that pushes them to keep on reading.
👨👩 The characters and their personality. As usual, characters are incredibly well thought through, and the mystery is built on their personality, especially Mrs Boynton’s. In this book, it’s even more noticeable thanks to Sarah King and Dr Gerard, who discuss the behaviour of the family from a clinical point of view.
❓ The whodunit. Once again, totally unexpected, even though, after reading so many of her mysteries, I knew who could not have been the culprit.
👩 Sarah King. She is a strong and capable young woman, studying to become a doctor. She falls for Raymond Boynton and sets her mind to save him from his stepmother.
I wasn’t so sure about
📑 The difference between the first and second half of the book. In the first half of the book, Poirot is rarely mentioned. It’s all about Sarah King and Dr Gerard and their psychological evaluation of the Boynton family. The second part is more your usual mystery, with Poirot interviewing suspects and solving the crime. I felt the gap between the two halves was huge.
To the score
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 This was @murderatthebookclub book for September, and I really enjoyed it (what a surprise). Unfortunately, I couldn’t join the discussion, but I’ll do my best for next month’s pick: Peril at End House.