Review: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

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After reading Eleven Days: When Agatha Christie Went Missing late last week, I fancied reading an Agatha Christie book and I knew I have had an unread copy of The Monogram Murders on my bookshelves for a couple of months now, so I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I know, I know, technically it isn’t an Agatha Christie book, it is a murder-mystery by Sophie Hannah in the style of Agatha Christie. In other words, it is a brand new Poirot mystery – yay!

First of all, it is dedicated to Agatha Christie, which is a nice touch and it is clear within the first few pages that Sophie Hannah really understands this famous crime writer’s style. A couple of times, I had to remind myself that this wasn’t actually an Agatha Christie book!! She writes so convincingly and intriguingly and the mysteriousness of the plot keeps magnifying as the story goes on.

It is written in the point of view of Edward Catchpool, an investigator from Scotland Yard and I thought that his observations of Poirot made good humour in the book, because, true to form, Poirot is as meticulous as ever and Catchpool doesn’t have much patience with his vigilance during the investigations. His impatience made me giggle a couple of times!

So what made this book so intriguing and compelling throughout the entire course of the book is one simple fact. One of the victims (before they got murdered, obviously) specifically asked Poirot not the investigate the crime. She did not want her killer to be punished and she muttered these perplexing words: “Once I am dead, justice will be done finally.”

The woman is called Jennie, but she is not the first victim. Three others are killed before her at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel and under inspection, it is realized that each has had a cufflink placed in their mouths, monogrammed with the initials: P.I.J. The mystery deepens and Poirot predicts a fourth murder with both the knowledge of Jennie’s confession that she is about to be murdered – and the fact that cufflinks come in pairs, in mind…

Strange aspects of the crime scenes begin to click into place and the reader finds themself on the edge of their seat waiting to find out who the murderer actually is. A fantastic whodunit. I think Agatha Christie herself would have been proud if she’d written it. It’s probably slightly more complex than a normal Poirot book, but nevertheless, it was a very satisfying outcome.

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