Hercule Poirot and Captain Arthur Hastings are back at it again in Agatha Christie’s “The Murder on the Links.”
Full disclosure: I’m not 100% certain I had read this book before. It felt familiar, but that may be because I’d already seen the BBC production starring David Suchet and Hugh Fraser when I read this a month or two ago. If I did read it before then, it was decades ago and only one time.
For her third book, Christie abandons England for France, where Poirot has been summoned by a man named Paul Renaud. Unfortunately, by the time Poirot and Hastings arrive, Renaud is dead. Renaud’s wife claims that masked men broke into the home, tied her up, and forced her husband to leave with them.
Poirot’s presence is resented by the Sûreté’s lead detective, Monsieur Giraud. As per usual, Hastings doubts Poirot’s abilities and resents his “order and method” approach. He much prefers Giraud’s style of examining cigarette butts, measuring footprints, etc.
This is something that annoys me in pretty much every Poirot book. Hastings, Japp, or some other character (usually more than one) make it a point to touch their heads and hint that Poirot isn’t as sharp as he used to be. Seriously?
This plot and setup are far different from Christie’s two previous novels – another point against the “usual formula” claims made regarding “The Secret Adversary.” Supposedly, the plot of this book was inspired by a famous French murder case, but all I find are remarks that there is such a case. I haven’t found any information – even a name – about the case itself. But, I admit I haven’t done a lot of digging…
Interesting Development for Arthur Hastings
Captain Hastings meets his beloved “Cinders” in this book. If I hadn’t read numerous books after this that refer to her as his wife (especially “Curtain”), I wouldn’t have realized that they fell in love and got married. Not based on this book alone, anyway.
BTW, Hastings fucks up big time in this book, all because of his desire to impress the lady in question. One wonders how anyone could be THAT stupid. And then they spend five minutes with Arthur Hastings…
Murder on the Links as per the BBC
Series 6, episode 3 of the fab Agatha Christie’s Poirot featured “Murder on the Links” in 1996. It’s a fairly faithful adaptation of the story and actually makes it a bit easier to follow. (The plot is slightly complicated.)
One thing that many of the adaptations have that seem counterintuitive for a mystery show is a scene at the beginning that basically gives away a major plot point. This episode is a prime example.
I’ve tried to figure out why the creators would decide to do this, but I’m coming up blank. If anyone has any ideas, hit me up. I’d love to know the thinking that decided giving away plot twists was a good idea. If someone pulled similar shenanigans on Twitter or whatever, readers would lose their shit about spoilers.