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Poirot - The Hollow by Agatha Christie

Poirot - The Hollow (edition 2007)

by Agatha Christie

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2,481463,773 (3.62)60
Title:Poirot - The Hollow
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Harper (2007), Edition: Masterpiece edition (Reissue), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, detective, christie

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The Hollow by Agatha Christie

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English (39)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
The Hollow (1946) (Poirot # 26) by Agatha Christie. The Hollow is the name of the estate where this murder mystery is set. It is also a description of what Poirot thinks about the people living there. They seem empty of life, hollow shells that are giving a simulation of people doing the things they would normally be doing. All that is except for the one who is dead.
Originally the title included an s at the end of Hollow, which inclines me to think Dame Agatha had originally been talking about the cast of characters rather than the location. Either way, this is a discernibly different type of storytelling for her. We all know there will be a murder, but the corpse doesn’t present itself until almost a third of the way in the story. Poirot comes into play at about the same time and, initially irritated at the pandering quality of the tableaux displayed to him which he has fancied as some type of party game, he quickly surmises that the woman holding the gun over the body laid out next to and dripping blood in the pool, may indeed have actually killed the man at her feet.
Two of the other houseguests are arriving on the scene as well as the rather bemusing lady of the house. Several people are automatically suspect, others add their names to that list, the history of the dead person is locked into, a Hollywood movie star who just “Happens” to be staying at the next abode may be involved, and the local police even suspect Poirot.
This is an interesting little poser as it is quickly shown that the most likely person to have not committed the murder is the woman found holding the gun. Dame Agatha out did herself in setting up this cozy little mystery. The portraits of all involved will leave you questioning means and motive.
Just remember, the lady of the house did prove to be a very keen pistol woman. ( )
  TomDonaghey | May 5, 2019 |
In which a man bleeds to death by a country house swimming pool, and Poirot stumbles across the body.

"The Hollow" is one of Christie’s most enigmatic works: she herself was immensely proud of it, but felt it wasn’t perfect (and a large part of that due to Poirot’s presence). The murder itself seems stock-standard: a man shot by the pool of a country house, where the residents of both The Hollow and the nearby cottage possess motives, and red herrings are seemingly endless. Poirot, needless to say, is staying in a nearby cottage, and begins to realise that the killer is trying their darndest to cover up the crime.

Yet "The Hollow" borders on a Christie masterpiece for a few reasons: the author’s contrivances are revealed to be those of the characters; the mystery itself is intriguing on account of being a psychological investigation: Poirot himself is a guest character, and we’re here privy to the inner workings of the family and their friends as the investigation goes on. As many critics have noted, this is a novel told internally, which makes it all the more impressive that the David Suchet adaptation worked so well.

Famously, Hercule Poirot’s entrance comes so late in the book (and, indeed, his involvement still remains minimal) that Christie herself later thought it a mistake, writing him out of the subsequent stage adaptation. Christie had not written a Poirot novel since "Five Little Pigs" – itself a breakthrough novel - four years earlier. When he returned again, Poirot would be plotting retirement in "The Labours of Hercules" and then – with the bleak atmosphere of "Taken at the Flood" - the great Belgian would begin his final stage, as an older man out of place with the world. Christie, meanwhile, was writing less but also devoting more time to Miss Marple.

"The Hollow" is not my favourite Christie. While her ambition is admirable, and the mystery very well-constructed, there’s still only so far Christie’s skill as a psychoanalytical author could go in this context: basically one long con perpetrated on both us and Poirot. Beyond this, Poirot’s limited presence means we don’t get to see his thought processes, and thus lose most of his characterisation. Finally, there’s that inherent bias which comes from having read Christie since I was about 7: I do like a good tale where we meet the detective and the suspects, have interviews and go about in a usual way. All this, though, is not meant to be damning: "The Hollow" is a very worthy novel; it’s just that – for me at least – it stands out because it is so different to much of Christie’s fare: a success by context, if you will. A classic, yes. A masterpiece, nearly… but not quite.

[Unsurprisingly, the title was changed in the US to the more sensational "Murder After Hours". Seriously, Google book covers of these novels sometime and check out some of the mid-century American covers. Ridiculously sensationalised!]

Rating: 9/10

Poirot ranking: 7th out of 38. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Recently read a review touting this as one of Christie's best. I was disappointed. I enjoyed reading another Hercule Poirot mystery but I was never hooked. In this one, he is invited to lunch at a neighbor's in the country and when he arrives he finds a murder has just been committed. It's the typical "Sunday in the country" with lots of houseguests and seems obvious who committed the crime. Obviously, not to be. Poirot curiously does not do any investigating; however, we learn who did it by the people who kept confiding in Poirot over the course of the investigation. I didn't find any of the characters engaging and just finished it to see who was really the culprit. It goes without saying, that Poirot was his usual wonderful character. ( )
  bogopea | Sep 18, 2018 |
It took me a while to get interested in this one. By the end, I was enjoying the writing and characters, though. I did not guess the ending on this one at all. Recommended to Christie fans. ( )
  ktlavender | Jul 17, 2017 |
Not one of her best, overall still enjoyable. The book seemed a little bit melodramatic more than her other books. Also the end was a bit rushed. ( )
  Hanneri | Mar 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abelló, MontserratTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
art, OWL & TEACUP coverIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atkinson, PeteCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartosik, JolantaTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biermann, PiekeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brinchmann, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buccianti, RosalbaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Almeida Salek, VâniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hipkiss, Guillermo LopezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitchen, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López Hipkiss, GuillermoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Houbie, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liebe, Poul IbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lins, HelioIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Setälä, Annikki(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Setälä, AnnikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tromp, H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vermes, MagdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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With apologies for using their swimming pool as the scene of a murder
First words
At six thirteen a.m. on a Friday morning Lucy Angkatell's big blue eyes opened upon another day and as always, she was at once wide awake and began immediately to deal with the problems conjured up by her incredibly active mind.
“Truth, however bitter, can be accepted, and woven into a design for living.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
aka Murder after Hours
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Hercule Poirot thought the joke in poor taste, not to be expected of his gracious hosts, Lord and Lady Angkeatell.

At the edge of the swimming pool lay a man in a puddle of red paint, and standing over him, pistol in hand, was a woman feigning hysteria. But Poirot quickly learned it was no charade.

The paint was blood, the corpse was real, and a pleasant county weekend had turned into one of the most legendary detective's most baffling cases.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042506784X, Mass Market Paperback)

It's Agatha Christie at her best as a weekend house party becomes a crime scene for special guest Hercule Poirot.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

La accion de Sangre en la piscina transcurre en un apacible fin de semana de otono, cuando el doctor Cristow y su esposa son invitados a reunirse con varios amigos y parientes en una acogedora casa de campo. Pero despues del desayuno el doctor Cristow aparece muerto junto a la piscina, mientras su esposa sostiene un revolver en la mano. Las pistas son enganosas y Poirot se da cuenta de que, en realidad, ninguno de los alli reunidos esta libre de sospecha.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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