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Find out what Mumsnetters thought of new Poirot mystery Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

(30 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Mar-17 12:49:47

Poirot fan? We gave away copies of his latest mystery, as told by Sophie Hannah. Find out more about Closed Casket and the author who has taken on this curly-moustached murder-solving maestro.

When Poirot receives an invite to a mansion party in Clonakilty, County Cork, hosted by Lady Athelinda Playford, he's not quite sure why. As the party begins, Lady Playford is making an urgent change to her will, to exclude her two children. Poirot starts to suspect his host of provoking a murderer, but when they do strike, the victim is not who he expects it to be. Will he be able to find the culprit and solve the mystery?

This is bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah's second novel featuring the brilliant Belgian detective. Closed Casket in fact marks the centenary of Poirot's first outing in Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

We ask all winners to share their thoughts about the book on this discussion thread. Everyone who gives detailed feedback on Closed Casket by midday, Wednesday 19 July will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher:

This giveaway is sponsored by HarperCollins

Book giveaways T&Cs apply

DoubleR Wed 29-Mar-17 19:07:00

Love Poirot! Slightly nervous about another author writing him, but it seems she's a huge Agatha Christie fan so I'm hopeful it will be a good read.

Jux Fri 07-Apr-17 16:33:04

Not one of the winners, but I do want to know why this sort of thing is happening. Are modern authors unable to create new characters, so they take ready-made ones and use them?

My curiosity extends to why much-loved novels are having prequels and sequels written now too. That seems to me to be saying something quite profound about the paucity of modern authors' imagination.

I'm sure there are good and rational reasons, but I can't help thinking that if you take a ready made character, place, etc and write using htem, then really it's the publishers making a quick buck.

Anj123 Fri 21-Apr-17 17:45:16

Just received a copy of this today which I wasn't expecting. Looking forward to reading it but I'd better be quick if the deadline is 15 May. Thanks for the book! smile

BingBongBingBong Sun 23-Apr-17 08:54:59

Just got my copy! Placemarking so I can have a read and come back to give my feedback smile

Sj10 Mon 24-Apr-17 22:39:06

I'm about half way through and really enjoying it- I just needs the kids to leave me alone to finish it!!

ahigney Wed 26-Apr-17 07:59:21

Really enjoyable and not too overthought and complicated, although one can argue with the murderer's motive.Poirot is back to his self-admiration,this time helped by Inspector Catchpool,not Japp.Set in an Irish mansion,a closed house murder with few suspects,classic Christie.Few red herrings,but all done nicely,nothing too out of the blue.A classic cozy mystery,doesn't surprise you too much with a twist,doesn't disappoint with a quick,rushed ending.

Anj123 Mon 01-May-17 13:36:47

I am almost finished this and am loving it, as I can't wait to see "whodunnit"! The last few chapters I have read have been full of twists and turns. As I'm reading it, I am visualising it as if it's a TV drama. I think my husband wants to read it after me as I have been telling him about it too! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read and review it.

Sj10 Tue 02-May-17 14:46:47

And I'm finished! Hurrah
Great read and definitely had the feel of Christie mystery all over. Was just like the tv shows but better the book was great at creating a picture for the reader and the author stayed true to agatha Christie murder mysteries so was typical poirot who dunnit with a few little twists, the 'great hercule poirot' to lead and solve- can't possibly rely on the local police. Then the grand finale to have the big reveal- get them all in a room and run through the suspects (basically everyone).
I do love a hercule poirot story and this ticked all the boxes!
.....where's my next fix though, I need something else to read! grin

1969angep Tue 02-May-17 20:47:06

Finished this at the weekend. I should say that I've never read any Agatha Christie novels so had no preconceptions about the book. The whole time I was reading it though I had an instant mental picture of David Suchet's Poirot!! The book is set in an Irish country house owned by a famous children's author who has invited Poirot and Catchpole (of Scotland Yard) to spend the weekend. She has decided to change her will and invites the detectives in expectation of a murder. A murder occurs and is subsequently solved by the great Belgian detective. It has to be said that the book is filled with rather unlikable upper class snobs but that is indicative I guess of the period in which the book is set! Ultimately this leaves you with less sympathy for the victim though, almost to the point where I didn't really care who the murderer was. That said it's an entertaining yarn, definitely a product of the era it's set in. I enjoyed it but would probably choose a modern day psychological thriller before this. I could imagine that fans of Agatha Christie and her style of writing would be mightily impressed as this seemed a really fitting tribute!

SplitInfinitive Wed 03-May-17 12:45:10

I didn't get a copy <disappointed> but am reading the first one, borrowed from the library. I like the style and subtle humour so far - just over a third of the way. Will plan to read the second one too smile

starlight36 Wed 03-May-17 16:08:29

Just finished this and I really enjoyed it. All the elements of a classic Agatha Christie mystery. Lots of motives and twists for Poirot and a new sidekick to explore. I had been initially concerned whether another writer could evoke Christie's style but it was well-written and kept me as captivated as original Poirot mysteries I've read.
Thanks to Mumsnet and HarperCollins for my copy.

Polyanthus Fri 05-May-17 08:54:36

I received a free copy of the first Sophie Hannah poi rot book, the monogram murders. (Thank you for that.)

I did enjoy it and kept reading until the end - I definitely wanted to find out "who did it." Butit didn't have the lightness of touch or clear characterisation of a classic Christie. It was easily as good as some of the later Christies (Third Girl anyone?) but I wasn't quite convinced by poirot - too much gleaming green eyes whenever he had a good idea but not enough of his distinctive phrasing or choice of vocabulary.

I like the fact that there's a new sidekick, I think that was a good way to make your own mark on a possible new series. But catch pool is a bit "clunky" and I don't quite buy into how/why poirot moved into the boarding house.

Overall, i don think this is as good as, say, Jill Paton Walsh's continuation of the Lord Peter wimsey books. Those really did capture the spirit of the original. These poirot books are ok -'perfectly workmanlike but for me they don't really bring the character back to life. I guess the Paton Walsh books, developed the character by dealing with the years after Sayers stopped writing about him - obviously Christie kept writing about Poirot, right up to showing us his death. So if Hannah couldn't develop the character by showing us what happens after Christie stopped writing about him, maybe she could have shown us what happened in his early life when he was in the Belgian police force, before the mysterious affair at styles? Then any inconsistencies in tone or style wouldn't be so glaring because they'd be dealing with a naturally different poirot. But in these books, because she's writing about a time scale that should slot into the exisitig canon, it's a much harder task.

Anj123 Sat 06-May-17 14:04:00

I finished this book this morning and enjoyed it. I didn't suspect who had committed the murder at all, it certainly kept me guessing! I must admit I haven't read any Agatha Christie novels so can't make a comparison. This isn't usually what I would choose to read but I liked that there was a chapter at the end from Monogram Murders. I will now look out for that book too! I am passing the book onto my husband to read next as I am curious to see what he makes of it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this.

papaver Sat 06-May-17 14:48:00

Finished this morning. If I have read a Poirot mystery before it is so long ago I can't remember and it is ages since I have read anything else by Agatha Christie so really couldn't compare the writing style. I did enjoy this although I was a little disappointed by the ending and the slightly pedestrian pace of some of the dialogue which I suppose is probably in keeping with the original novels. As another reviewer has commented the victim was unlikeable so that I would have quite liked the murderer to get away with it and that would have certainly made an interesting twist! It has piqued my interest enough that I am planning to read some of the earlier ones.

duggerlugs Sat 13-May-17 06:38:20

I received my copy and just finished. I've never read a Poirot before so enjoyed picking one up after growing up on the TV versions with Ustinov and Suchet mainly.
I enjoyed guessing as I was a big fan of cluedo as a child and that's what Poirot tends to evoke in me. I did keep guessing til the end and agree with another reader sometimes it was slow in places. Enough details about characters to leave you seeing the motives etc. Enjoyed it and as others said will look to pick up the other book now. Thanks for the opportunity to read

mumofmadboys Sun 14-May-17 07:30:37

Thank you very much for my copy. I used to read quite a few Agatha Christie books when I was younger but haven't read any for quite a few years. I think it is an interesting task to use another writers characters such as Poirot and write in their style. I enjoyed the story line and I hadn't guessed who the murderer was until near the end. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. It was good having a new colleague in Catchpole. Overall an engaging read. I will look out for Monogram murders now. Thank you Mumsnet for giving me the opportunity to read this.

nerysw Sun 14-May-17 21:48:33

I finished this yesterday and I did enjoy it. It's perfectly readable and kept me interested right until to reveal at the end. It pootles along nicely and I couldn't help imagining Poirot as looking and sounding like David Suchet playing the character.
I'm not sure how I feel about new writers continuing with much loved characters, which was one of the reasons I wanted to give it a go. Although it's a good book I'm not sure it's as good as Christie so still undecided but glad I read it.

sherbertfountain Sun 14-May-17 22:08:29

Thanks so much for my copy. I am about 30 pages from the end and have been really enjoying this book, and reading at every opportunity since I stared. I do like the televised Poirot mysteries and the written style of Sophie Hannah absolutely spot on, witty , complex and with great character observation. Catchpool and Poirot really jump off the page and there are a good few dislikable characters who could have been the murderers to spice things up. The summing up is already underway and I am wondering how there can be still 30 pages to go so there may even be another twist to come. Basically I have enjoyed this book and been compelled to read on , I would absolutely recommend it and not just for mystery / Poirot fans. I am not particularly a big reader of crime novels but this is a great read in its own right. I noticed there is another by the same author and I shall look out for it.

Celama Mon 15-May-17 11:04:24

I did enjoy this and it kept me guessing to the end but it's not an Agatha Christie and in that sense it was disappointing - however, I have read a few Christie novels very recently so that may well have clouded my judgement than if it had been a while since reading Christie. I found Poirot quite convincing and the setting and characterisations generally as expected but I didn't engage with Catchpool at all finding him dull and in all honesty, nonessential to the storyline. I will read the Monogram Murders though to see how I find it.

Fivepie7 Mon 15-May-17 15:32:49

Thanks Mumsnet for the copy of "Closed Casket". Its not my usual choice of book, but I enjoy exploring new styles so thought I would give it a go. As expected there is a murder and Poirot is on hand to solve the crime. The plot trips along nicely and the "who-done-it" aspect keeps you turning the pages, however, I didn't really engage or like the characters, I suppose I prefer novels with more relevance to my life and emotions. Xx

danson16 Mon 15-May-17 22:53:24

Thank you for letting me receive this book, I was really looking forward to reading it.
I have never read an Poirot book before so had no other book to reference this one to.
The storyline is good, its enjoyable reading, the only thing I found is that it was a bit disjointed. Overall though it was a good read and was glad I had the opportunity to read and review it.

Radley1 Mon 29-May-17 06:34:23

Thank you for my copy of the book . I have read most of Agatha's books and I am sure she would be impressed with the in keeping character of her original Poirot . It is fair to say although full of twists
and turns was still not quite up to the originals but a valiant good shot at it and well worth a read

Givemecoffeeplease Wed 31-May-17 19:30:06

Liked this, very readable and the writer stayed true to Christie's tone. Will be looking out the other ones by her. Nice to read something old fashioned actually! Thanks Mumsnet.

MerryPam Thu 01-Jun-17 13:21:44

Thanks for my copy of the book, it took me a while to find time to read it but when I did it was a quick and easy read. I enjoyed the classic feel with the country house murder and the range of suspects (although occasionally the author wavered into a more modern take on the motivation and behaviour of her characters), and the plot was solid enough. It didn't really feel like a Poirot story to me though, maybe I'm too deeply attached to the original writers to warm to new authors reimagining their heroes.

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