This is a stand alone Christie novel with no appearance from Poirot or Marple.
The story revolves around the murder of Aristide Leonides, a wealthy Octogenarien who was injected with eserine instead of the insulin he needed for his diabetes. This killed him.
Leonides is a self made wealthy man and built his own mansion. Within the walls of the house live Leonides very young second wife, Brenda, his two sons and their wives, his three grandchildren, the sister of his first wife who he had asked to help him bring up his sons after the death of his wife but who now still lives there, the tutor for the two youngest grandchildren and a former Nannie who helps out. ( I think that’s it, there’s a lot of them!)
All the family members live in separate areas of the house with their own sitting rooms.
The narrator, Charles, met the oldest grand daughter, Sophia, whilst working in Cairo and told her that he would eventually marry her, once they were back in England. So a few years later, when the time has come to propose, he finds that her Grandfather has been murdered. As Charles is the son of the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Sophia does not feel that their marriage can proceed until the murderer has been identified. Because one thing is for sure, it’s one of the people who live in the house.
Charles somehow finds himself at the heart of the family and at the heart of the investigation, working alongside the officers charged with finding the murderer. He feels it a confusing position to be in, not knowing what to say to people about why he is there.
He is with the police officers when the members of the family are interviewed and starts to re-interview some of them on their own, though he might call it a chat.
In true Agatha Christie style she leaves enough clues to make you think, makes you believe, you know who did it. Only to find out at the end you could not have been more wrong!
I really enjoyed this novel and was pleased to have had it recommended to me. It was bright and breezy but with well fleshed out characters. I worked out during it that basically Christie takes a group of people and puts them all in the same place and then kills one of them. Like in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd which I have just read. There is a definite formula to them but that does not detract from them in the slightest. This one was quite brilliant and I would totally recommend it!