The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (but with Agatha Christie’s name in bigger writing on the cover)

The Christie Estate hired a modern author to pen a new Poirot story, which was released in September 2014. It has many of Poirot’s mannerisms, and is engaging, but it is difficult to recommend to all Christie fans. Consider, if you will Elvis impersonators… Some fans of Elvis love impersonators. They are the closest thing to a live performance by their idol. Others hate impersonators, because they are trapped between a soulless, automatic mimicry and an imperfect reproduction of a romanticized hero. They literally cannot satisfy their intended audience.

Sophie Hannah strikes this problem. She repeats the mannerisms of Poirot, and has a puzzle with an ending no more unbelievable than, for example, Murder on The Orient Express, but it is hard to enjoy as a puzzle. The artistry is too obvious, precisely because it is a Poirot novel. As a story, it is interesting, and as a puzzle it is fair.

I listened to this in audiobook, and I’d just like to take a moment to note that it’s excellently done.  During the final scene, where Poirot gathers all of the characters together and interrogates them all, the voices of each character remain distinct. That’s quiet an achievement from a single reader.