Three Grand Dames of Mystery: Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie

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Lord Edgeware1 Read Agatha Christie’s Lord Edgeware Dies, published under the title Thirteen at Dinner in the United States, to see what Hercule Poirot considers to be one of his only failures. The famous actress Jane Wilkinson approaches Poirot to ask him to do an unusual job. She wants him to ask her husband to give her a divorce. Curious about the human nature involved in this situation, Poirot agrees and visits Lord Edgeware the following day, only to learn that the man wrote to his wife six months earlier agreeing to meet her wishes.

The next morning, Inspector Japp appears on Poirot’s doorstep to ask why Lord Edgeware had sent for the detective. The reason? The previous night, his wife, Jane Wilkinson, knocked on the door to the house, declaring herself to be Lady Edgeware and sailed into the study, only to come out in a few minutes. The following morning, Lord Edgeware was found dead.

Poirot’s news of Edgeware’s acquiesce to the divorce takes the wind out of Japp’s case, leaving Jane Wilkinson with no perceptible motive. When she reveals that she had gone to a dinner party and has an alibi, Japp is deflated. Poirot must step in.

Lord Edgeware Dies, while not one of Christie’s greatest novels, surely is one of her most enjoyable. The confusion about the identity of the woman who came to the house and the question of who might have had motive and opportunity to kill Lord Edgeware leads to fun side paths as Hercule Poirot explores all his options.

Lord Edgeware Dies was well received when Christie first published it, with people enjoying the creative touches. The relationship been Poirot and Captain Hastings appears more relaxed in a way. Though one might think their regular banter in this book indicates tension, I believe it shows they are comfortable enough with each other to bring up these things, such as Poirot’s complaints that Hastings would look so much better with his hair parted in the middle and Hastings’ complaints that Poirot is not behaving as a gentleman, or “playing the game,” when he reads a letter upside down.

The book is narrated by Hugh Fraser, who continues to transport the listener to the world Christie has created.

Lord Edgeware Dies is an enjoyable book that I am happy to give five stars!

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