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Book Review: Appointment With Death

Author: Agatha Christie

Publisher: Collins Crime Club, 1938

Genre: Mystery

My Rating: C+

From the publisher:

Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sits the corpse of Mrs. Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her.

Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he’d overheard back in Jerusalem: “You see, don’t you, that she’s got to be killed?”

A short time later he met the person who made that statement. It was one of the sons of an extremely evil woman, Mrs. Boynton. The woman had total control over her children, all young adults. She controlled the money and their every move. Nearly everyone who knew her agreed her children would be better off if she were dead.

Mrs. Boynton was dead for quite a few hours before anyone noticed. The officials aren’t convinced her death was murder. A doctor who was a member of the traveling party noticed a missing syringe and thought that might have contributed to Mrs. Boynton’s death. The officials consult Hercule Poirot. He also believes it was murder. He is given twenty-four hours to figure it out.

Although I greatly admire the mental hijinks of the famous Belgian detective, the story was disappointing to me. Agatha Christie took one-third of the book just setting up how awful Mrs. Boynton was and why the world would be a better place without her. There was too much discussion about the psychology of the whole Boynton family. Written in the late 1930s, perhaps the author wanted to add crime psychology to her work. It just didn’t work for me. I only gave it a C+ rating. No need to apologize, Dame Agatha. You’ve given me so many highly rated books that I’ll excuse a couple of mediocre ones.

This is the 32nd book I’ve read in my perpetual challenge to read all of Agatha Christie’s novels in publication order. Up next is The Listerdale Mystery, a collection of short story mysteries. For more information on the challenge, visit Mysteries In Paradise. (Click the button.)

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