Keeping with the Ancient Egyptian theme of the last book review (The Locked Tomb Mystery by Elizabeth Peters), Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile captured my attention.
Unlike the books of Elizabeth Peters, one doesn’t read Death on the Nile for its historical value (although you will find evocative descriptions of the places visited as part of the itinerary of some of the characters). No, one simply reads it to be in awe of the wonderful Hercule Poirot.
First published in 1937, the story takes place on a Nile cruise. It centres on the young, beautiful and vastly wealthy Linnet Ridgeway, who is on board as part of her honeymoon, along with another dozen or so characters at odds with her in some way, the other passengers or who are simply hiding something.
Hercule Poirot, on holiday in Egypt, finds himself on the same boat as this rather eclectic group. Then one night, the unthinkable happens. Linnet Ridgeway is murdered and Poirot is asked to investigate.
Death on the Nile is one of the best pieces of detective fiction ever written; written by one of the greatest writers ever. The reader is kept guessing the identity of the murderer up until the very end of the book due to cleverly placed twists and turns. The character descriptions are vivid, the dialogue engaging, and Hercule Poirot is at his very best.
Even though you may have seen the film starring Peter Ustinov, or watched the TV adaptation with the marvellous David Suchet (who is in my mind the Hercule Poirot I see and hear when I read the books), one question remains. If you’ve not read the book, why not?