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Paperback Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Book

ISBN: 0425130258

ISBN13: 9780425130254

Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)

(Book #8 in the Hercule Poirot Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

Vintage paperback This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Rules are made to be broken...

Mystery writers are supposed to play by a set of rules, ie give the reader all the clues, no rare, undetectable poisons, the murder can't be the butler, detective, victim or someone we've never met etc. Agatha Christie always played fair in that all the clues were present for the reader, and she didn't rely on obscure poisons unknown-to-science but she was somewhat more creative in her interpretations of some of the others. PERIL AT END HOUSE is an example of Christie's creativeness with one of the rules of mystery writing (but you'll have to read the book to find out which rule).Poirot and Hastings are spending some time at a seaside resort. Poirot is still insisting that he has retired but concedes that "...if a bullet should strike the wall by my head, I would ...investigate the matter!" Needless to say one does and Poirot is soon investigating the numerous attempts on the life of a young woman. Poirot sorts his way through a murder, drug trafficking, false identities, secret engagements and attempted frauds to reach the truth.The ending is clever and we are treated to Poirot being forced to ask someone else for the answer to a minor secondary puzzle.


When Christie was on top of her game, no one was better, and this is a prime example of her amazing skills. A real fine twist ending will reverse every notion you may have had for the characters. Poirot is at his amusing, determined best here; his one flaw being he cares too much. It almost costs him the case. Hastings as usual narrates the story in his own daft and befuddled way. Hercule enjoys toying with him. Sort of like the way Christie must have enjoyed toying with her readers.

Brilliant Plotting and Surprise Ending Make This A Favorite

Poirot and Hastings return in this novel set in the resort town of St. Loo on the Cornish coast. While on a week's holiday, the pair meet Miss Magdala Buckley who has had a series of life-threatening accidents. Poirot believes these "accidents" are more likely attempts on her life. In true Christie tradition, a murder soon occurs. However, Miss Buckley is not the victim, but the newly-deceased is a cousin of hers. Poirot must prevent another murder while discovering why anyone would want Miss Buckley dead. Into the mix enters her friends Frederica Rice and Commander Challenger as well as a mysterious couple from Australia who live in a cottage on the grounds of End House, possible narcotics involvement, and a surprise ending that will truly amaze. I won't reveal what the ending is, of course, but it is one that Christie will successfully use again in later works.

Poirot Stumped

This mystery is less a who-done-it than it is a who's-gonna-do-it. Attempts are being made on the life of Nicky Buckley, the pert proprietress of End House. Poirot sets out to foil the would-be murderer, but feels that he's failed miserably when Nicky's cousin dies instead. Poirot redoubles his efforts to save Nicky and to solve the cousin's murder, but he finds himself in a quandary. As Poirot fruitlessly attempts to discern a motive and discover the murderer, Nicky has another narrow escape from a poisoning attempt. Poirot finally decides that the only way to flush the murderer out is to fake Nicky's death. The denouement is both surprising and satisfying. Another nice thing about the story is the glimpse into the mind of Poirot as he sorts out the clues. In this case he does not keep his thoughts and surmises secret from Captain Hastings, and we follow him step by step as he winnows through the evidence to come to his conclusions. He does, however, hold back enough to surprise the reader in the final chapter.Now for the critique: [1] Christie either knows nothing about the behavior of bullets or expects her readers to know nothing. Her description of the near fatal shooting of Nicky is as full of holes as Nicky's hat. Poirot took no notice of the fact that there was no noise from the report of the pistol, no noise from the ricochet of the bullet, and no scuff mark on the wall. No mention was made of the bullet being deformed by striking the wall. This is not the first time Christie has betrayed such ignorance. In the short story "Dead Man's Mirror", a bullet struck a gong without denting the gong, deforming the bullet, or depositing a lead scuff on the gong. [2] Although Poirot twice stated that the simplest explanation was the best, the final explanation was not simple. It was so complex and convoluted that such a series of events could never have converged to produce Christie's result. [3] Again we see Christie borrowing from Arthur Conan Doyle. One of Sherlock Holmes' favorite maxims was "When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Poirot paraphrases Holmes thus: "when you have eliminated other possibilities you turn to the one that is left and say - since the other is not - this must be so." I can't say Poirot improved on Holmes' proverb.

A superb Christie title

This is one of Agatha Christie's most ingenious and classic murder mysteries. The confidence trick she wields in this book is both startling and imaginative, and only a very experienced Christie reader would have any suspicion of what the authoress is up to. A very enjoyable, lively Christie book, and one which surely belongs among her finest.

Peril at End House Mentions in Our Blog

Peril at End House in Agatha Christie: A Woman of Mystery
Agatha Christie: A Woman of Mystery
Published by Melina Lynne • August 24, 2015

Who doesn't like a little mystery in their life? We spend each day so lost in the routine of working, taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, etc. that it becomes hard to carve out a few moments during the day that we can make completely about ourselves. However, sometimes an opportunity to step into another world with a good (especially discounted!) book, and use those parts of our brain that we feel go dormant at times, is much needed. Who better to stimulate our thrill-seeking, mystery-solving, crime-fighting selves than one of the best-selling authors of all time, Agatha Christie.

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