Agatha Christie wrote a total of 66 crime detection stories, exactly half of which featured the Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot. Jane Marple only managed 12 appearances as Christie’s detective but then she was, of course, much older than our Belgian hero. As early as 1930, Christie was having a Conan Doyle moment (he famously wanted to kill off Holmes) when she described Poirot as ‘insufferable’, and by 1960 her description of him became a ‘detestable, bombastic, tiresome, egocentric little creep’. Fortunately for us, she kept him going on the grounds that this was what the public wanted!
In this story, first published in 1933 and filmed as soon as 1934, Poirot hears a lady exclaiming to him that she had to get rid of her husband, at precisely which point her husband (Lord Edgware) is brutally murdered in the library. She naturally becomes the prime and possibly only suspect in the case until Poirot begins his research, finding out that the truth is neither pure nor simple.
This BBC production is an audiobook on CD and stars John Moffatt as Christie’s great (albeit, in her own words, insufferable) Belgian detective in a Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation that makes for great listening. Also available as an MP3 download, this richly layered story is a wonderful introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the twists and turns of Christie’s complex storytelling, and an essential addition to any audiobook collection.