I finished Sophie Hannah's The Monogram Murders this morning.
I should start by saying that I am a huge Christie fan. I spent much of my babysitting money (all 50 cents an hour!) on paperback Christie mysteries purchased in the basement of the University Bookstore in Charlottesville. My favorites were the Miss Marple mysteries but I also loved Hercule.
When it was announced that Sophie Hannah was going to be writing a new Poirot mystery, I was dubious. At that point I hadn't read any of Hannah's books but just the thought of someone trying to recreate the magic...it didn't seem possible. But then, a month or so ago, I read a Hannah mystery - Kind of Cruel - and thought it was pretty enjoyable. So I thought I'd wait and get The Monogram Murders from the library. And then I read a glowing review in the NYT Book Review section of The Monogram Murders. So I bought the book.
It's an overwritten, over-convoluted, so-complicated-you-end-up-not-carrying-who-did-what-to-whom mystery. Poirot is obnoxious...his character is just off somehow.* And his Scotland Yard sidekick, Catchpool (Hastings...oh how I missed Hastings...is mentioned once by Poirot) is an idiot. A neurotic idiot. A stupid neurotic idiot. And the mystery is not just over-complicated, it's totally unbelievable.
Let's let Poirot rest easy now. Let's not dig him up again. And, for God's sake, leave Miss Marple alone!
* Edited days later to add - I can tell you one scene that really seemed off to me. Poirot's standing over a grave (a 13-year old grave -- he didn't know the people) and says that it needs flowers. Catchpool says something about it being November so no flowers and Poirot bends down and draws a flower in the mud with his finger. So, so un-Poirot!)