Kate's Reviews > After the Funeral

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
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Jul 25, 10

bookshelves: mysteries
Read from July 12 to 15, 2010

A lovely, lovely Poirot mystery about a rather sad family and what happens when a rich man dies with no primary heir, and his from-the-mouths-of-babes sister blurts out that she thought he was murdered. The twists and turns are top-notch, and if Christie succumbs to her usual biases in selecting a murderer, it's easy to forgive because of the incredible depth of characterization.

The book also gets at the pains of post-WWII British society - the approaching death of Richard Abernethie is most difficult for him because his son was lost in the war, and he cannot find a suitable heir among his relatives. His sister has been poor ever since she married a poor artist and currently lives with a companion whose light housework and subservient position are only tolerable to her because she "doesn't do the rough"; his brother is peevish with imaginary invalidism; one niece is an actress only by dint of being attractive; the other is a natural businesswoman and go-getter who is married to a man who was in a sanitorium and probably ought to go back; and his nephew is a downright charlatan who doesn't believe his own character is as bad as it is. Poirot examines these characters with sympathy and gentleness - Christie lets him be gentle while she skewers them neatly under general categories of individuals in society. It's this ability to show how society is, so carefully that the reader may be careless of it, that makes some Christie mysteries shine as more than genre fiction.

Read on BBC Audio.
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