Shortly after confessing she had once witnessed a murder, thirteen year old Joyce is found having drowned in an apple-bobbing tub during a Halloween Party. Famed investigator Hercule Poirot is brought in to uncover the killer.
I’m not going to lie, for a book that seems to be heavily marketed as a Halloween-centric novel, I was disappointed to discover that the story has little to do with Halloween. Yes, the inciting incident takes place during a Halloween party, but the season is dropped pretty quickly once Poirot gets down to business. Speaking of getting down to business, I really liked the way Christie had Poirot approach the case. Supposing that what Joyce had said was correct, Poirot worked backwards from any unsolved murders in the sleepy town’s history in order to possibly uncover a motive for Joyce’s killing. This added a few layers to the story which kept things moving briskly.
Christie is a master of misdirection, not that I need to tell you that. The culprit changed in my mind many times during the story and at the end of the day, I still didn’t see the reveal coming. However, you could also probably chalk that up to my inability to see through red herrings. The ending, while it seemed a little out there when compared to the two novels I previously read, was certainly plausible.
This being the third to last Poirot book, you could tell that Christie had begun to wind him down. He often complains about being sore after exerting only a minuscule amount of activity and often laments his age. I tried doing a little light research into Hercule’s age and given that many believe he is 62 in the first novel, that would make him 115 in this book – so that can’t be right. Although, in her autobiography, Christie has said that one of her biggest regrets was starting with Poirot at such an advanced age, I suppose it’s not that important given that he’s a fictional character and that Christie can do what she wishes. There’s another school of thought used in the Official Agatha Christie Companion applying an age formula that supposes that Poirot ages 2 years for every 3. This would make him a spry 93 at the conclusion of the final novel in 1975.
Sorry about that tangent. I thought I would remove if from the review, but who cares. This is my review after all! When it comes to my Poirot reading experience, I enjoyed Hallowe’en Party more than Murder on the Orient Express, but not as much as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It will probably take me a long time to get through all forty of the Poirot novels, so I’ve got many happy reading years ahead of me.