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Curtain (The Agatha Christie Mystery…
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Curtain (The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection) (original 1975; edition 1975)

by Agatha Christie

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2,440282,530 (3.73)44
Member:FrumiousBandersnatch
Title:Curtain (The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection)
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Bantam Books (1984), Faux leather hardcover
Collections:Agatha Christie
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Bantam Books 1984

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Curtain by Agatha Christie (1975)

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    Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey (raizel)
    raizel: The detective /solver of the case tries to help the cause of justice.
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» See also 44 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I read this after watching the David Suchet dramatization on television.
It is a dark, sad story but good in a way to wrap up Poirot's last days.
The moral twists are quite troubling - the question of who can or should be the judge of evil along with the idea of euthanasia and who gets to decide are covered in some depth. The results are a bit alarming but maybe a reflection of what was happening when the story was written.
The character of Hastings is very interesting to the point where it would be wonderful to know what happened next. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Nov 27, 2014 |
Published in 1975, and supposedly written about 35 years earlier, which puts it at the beginning of World War II, apparently during the blitz.

Hastings, as narrator, makes his first appearance since DUMB WITNESS. In fact he has married, brought up four children, and then buried his wife. The timeline of Hastings' life doesn't quite fit real time so it is one of those things we don't look at too closely. His daughter Judith is one of the characters in the story, and seems to be in her early twenties.

Poirot, crippled with arthritis, a shadow of his former self, and confined to a wheel chair, brings Hastings to Styles to assist in the apprehension of X who has already been involved in five murders. He hopes they will be able to prevent another murder.

Poirot constantly tells Hastings that his mind, his little grey cells, is not impaired, just his body, and he needs Hastings to be the mobile one. However he refuses to tell Hastings who he has identified as X, and this puts him at quite a disadvantage. Poirot finds Hastings as frustrating to work with as he always has, and they do not manage to prevent more murders occurring. It is not for four months after the last murder that Hastings finds out the truth.

Even without the title the reader knows this is the final curtain for Poirot.

I don't actually think that I have read CURTAIN before and so the ending comes as a real surprise. I am not sure it fits with the Poirot I know from books that were written after this one. In many ways CURTAIN is a very black pessimistic book, fitting with the mood of the world when it was written.

The novel is relatively short, similar to earlier novels.

At the end of the Kindle version there is an interesting essay by Sir Charles Osborne in which he discusses the decision taken to finally publish the novel, and the impact that it had on the Christie reading public. ( )
  smik | Oct 28, 2014 |
The best obituary Poirot could have gotten

Hercule Poirot, the little Belgian detective has returned to Styles Court, the scene of his first English adventure in crime for his final case. But now the handsome country mansion is a guest house and Poirot, old and arthritic, is one of the guests. He invites Captain Hastings to join him and then reveals the reason for his request. Poirot informs his old friend that they are "here to hunt down a murderer." And to find out who is the killer, first a murder has to be committed. But who will be the victim?

Although Curtain was written during the London blitz in the early years of World War II, it never got published until 1975. The reason being that in this book the famous detective Hercule Poirot concludes his wonderful career. Agatha Christie wanted Poirot not to survive his creator. Therefore she finished his career by writing Curtain and locked the manuscript in a bank vault. Dame Agatha Christie died on January 12, 1976, one year later than her most famous creation.

Curtain is a vintage Christie. The plot is ingenious and seems totally committed to putting the reader on the wrong track. Although the actual motive and operation procedure of the murderer are quite dubious and unbelievable¸ there is only one word that can truly describe the denouement: sublime. In a few lines Poirot explains how the unsuspicious reader probably missed five smartly interwoven clues. When you read these lines you can only but hit yourself on the head for being so short-sighted, exactly the same feeling reflected by Captain Hastings at the end of the book. ( )
  Hanneri | Dec 17, 2013 |
And so it ends. I spent most of my year reading almost all of the Poirot books in chronological order of publication so this feels so much like the end of an era. Now it's a matter of rereading not for the great reveal but for the psychology and the words chosen. I was surprised to see Hastings in this but it's very much a book wrapped in nostalgia for a time long gone (even more so now) and memories not quite forgotten. The case itself was good, though not as great as, say, Murder on the Orient Express (which I think is the ideal case) and Christie could have spent more time saying goodbye, but she was never one for being sentimental. I quite missed that, if I'm honest, the end is so abrupt, there's no epilogue, anything that could give you a clue as to the status of this book. Reading those books was a great adventure and one of the highlights of my reading life. I'll miss those characters dearly. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Wie van hen is een moordenaar.....

Poirots laatste moordzaak.
Dedication
First words
Who is there who has not felt a sudden startled pang at reliving an old experience, or feeling an old emotion?
Quotations
I was sitting in an armchair wrestling with the Times crossword and reading out the clues.
...
"The chaps between the hills are unkind."
"Tormentor," .... (p. 181)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Styles Court - the Essex manor house, scene of master detective Hercule Poirot's first triumph. 
The world has changed since that time, yet an air of evil still touches the gracious grounds - and the fierce little Belgian still pits his brilliant mind against the vanity of killers ...
Once again, Poirot and his faithful ally, the good Hastings, are at Styles. For the stage is set, and they must act quickly indeed .... before the curtain rises on murder.
--------------------------------------
Arthritic and immobilized, Poirot calls on his old friend Captain Hastings to join him at Styles to be the eyes and ears that will feed observations to Poirot's still razor sharp mind. Though aware of the criminal's identity, Poirot will not reveal it to the frustrated Hastings, and dubs the nameless personage 'X'. Already responsible for several murders, X, Poirot warns, is ready to strike again, and the partners must work swiftly to prevent imminent murder.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425173747, Mass Market Paperback)

Poirot returns to the scene of his very first crime to solve a mystery that will be his last.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:46 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Hercule Poirot and the recently widowed Captain Arthur Hastings return to the scene of their first investigation many years before. Joining them at the estate is a mysterious stranger linked to five seemingly unrelated murders. Poirot must work quickly to prevent the sixth murder.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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