It’s Halloween and somehow I have apt content!
I had a memory flash recently, where I realized that in junior high school, I had actually read an Agatha Christie book and done a book report on it. So I felt compelled to get a copy of the book and re-read it and talk about it here. It’s Hallowe’en Party (and I keep getting the red squiggly line for that spelling, so from here on out, I’ll use the now regular spelling), and it’s another Hercule Poirot mystery. I grabbed a copy recently (I’ll have to tell you where another time) and ripped through it fairly quickly.
In Halloween Party, Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, a character who seems to be a stand-in for Christie herself, is visiting a friend and at the apartment complex (I guess, I was a little unclear here — actually, I think it’s more of a gated community called Woodleigh Common and the party is at one person’s home) is a Halloween party. In making the preparations for this Halloween party for tweens and teens (basically, although the term eleven-plus is used here), one girl named Joyce claims that she has witnessed a murder before, although she didn’t know at the time that it was a murder.
Joyce learns that running her mouth like that isn’t smart, as she is murdered at the party, drowned in a bucket used for bobbing for apples. Oops.
Mrs. Oliver consults with her friend Hercule Poirot after the Halloween party, and gets him to put his little grey cells to work trying to solve the murder. They get to work asking questions of the various party guests, as well as searching out information about past deaths in the area, trying to find out what the murder Joyce claimed to have seen was. We get a possible poisoning, of course (it’s Agatha Christie, c’mon!), a strangled teacher out with a boyfriend, a forged will, a genius at gardening, more murders. It’s a wonderful stew of nastiness that tidies up fairly well in the end, with something of a chase scene and the stopping of a ritualistic murder to boot.
I don’t remember what I thought of the book back (jeez) 25 years or so ago when I first read it. If I ever come across what I wrote, I’ll have to share it. But reading it now, I was quite pleased with how the Halloween Party went that Agatha Christie invited us to.
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