An Odd1's Reviews > Curtain

Curtain by Agatha Christie
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Dec 28, 12

Read from June 29 to July 10, 2012

"Curtain" by Agatha Christie rings down the stage curtain, closes the play, the career, of best friends Belgian detective and sidekick Hastings, who reunite in 1916's Styles Court Essex, renovated into a hotel with atrocious food "vegetables that taste of water, water, and again water" p9, and a large cast of suspects, "all very nice people", says Poirot p12. He is cold, argumentative, tired, "you are mentally lazy .. Go away. You are obstinate and extremely stupid" vs his partner "hotly" stubborn p59, not their usual warm "persiflage". Hasting obsesses on "old-fashioned responsibility" p 173, doing right by his daughter to the point of madness; overall angst, motivations unreal. He calls them all "a collection of twilight people. Grey heads, grey hairs, grey dreams" p66. Plot demonstrates author experience and skill weaving complicated plots rather than building whole recognizable personalities, and a disillusioned attitude (hers?), tired of aging.

Among the guests is X, who has directly caused five murders with others arrested, even confessing to the actual deed. Hercule Poirot is devastated by age, no longer plump or limping, his shrunken frame is crippled by arthritis, trapped in a wheelchair, helped by Curtiss while faithful George away; hair and moustache, "painfully obvious" dyed black wig and mustache p8. Captain Hastings, wife buried in Argentina last year, athough still tall, handsome, distinguished, with a weakness for auburn hair, is lost, empty without his "merry laughing" p137 love.

Judith his youngest, "a queer dark secretive child", grown tall beautiful, frighteningly brainy, intense and critical p3, assists absent-minded chemist Dr Franklin, tied to hypochondriac invalid wife Barbara seen through by auburn-haired Nurse Craven. Babs is old flame of straight-forward outdoorsy old-school neighbor Sir William p6, staying while home being fixed up. Major Allerton, dissipated womanizer, flirts. Slight grey Stephen Norton limps, stutters, watches birds and gossips. New owners Mrs Luttrell harps on downtrodden husband Old Colonel. (Capitalized "old" hints at stereotypes, like ubiquitous "Old Man".) Miss Cole 30-40 adds to numbers; not a feeling of actions determined by individualized characteristics. Oops, she might be auburn, having "very beautiful eyes" and an air of suffering p63
(view spoiler)

Word of the Day, indeterminable from context to use a few times for stickiness:
"Persiflage was not Dr Franklin's strongpoint." p31 - teasing banter

Totally Obscure Reference, never to be seen again, how on earth unearthed?:
Norton "ran his hands through his short grey hair until it stuck up on end like Strumel Peter." p139
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/repo...
Folios xxxi - xl ... [AD 1309-10], Thomas, son of Peter Bussh, late"
Footnote #10 "Perhaps a preparer of hair for stuffing" (Riley) Strumel
= "a loose, long, and dishevelled head of hair"
Calendar of letter-books of the city of London: D (1902)

(view spoiler)

Book Cover:
Inner endpapers of gold logo on navy hardcover Bantam Agatha Christie Mystery Collection, custom designed by Peggy Skycraft, shown only once alphabetically more first, under ABC Murders, The.
http://www.goodreads.com/photo/work/6...
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