I am delighted to host a guest review from Andrew Mann. You can find him on Twitter at @YorkshireBook48. He is a fan of Sophie Hannah and her Hercule Poirot books.
This is the fourth Hercule Poirot novel by Sophie Hannah (left), The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is a whodunnit written in the style of legendary crime writer Agatha Christie and captures all the magic of the books first published in the the 1920’s. At 330 pages it is a very enjoyable read and I personally flew through it in a few short days.
The story begins with Poirot and his assistant, Inspector Catchpool boarding a coach to Kingfisher Hill, a country estate with several grand houses one of which we soon learn was the scene of a murder. Frank Davenport, disgraced son of the houses owner Sydney, has been pushed to his death from a balcony. As with many crime books the reader is challenged along with Catchpool and Poirot to work out the identity of the murderer along the way by placing together the clues littered throughout by author Hannah, however this one has a slightly unique twist in that from the off we know that one of the characters has already confessed to being the culprit, although of course all is not as it seems.
In the first chapter we meet Joan Blythe, another passenger boarding the coach who reveals that she has been warned previously if she sits in a certain seat she will be murdered. This of course ends up being the case although in typically genius circumstances and the mystery of how this scenario came about runs alongside the murder and is brilliantly unraveled by Poirot and explained in the conclusion of the book.
As the chapters unfold we meet more characters, all of whom come under suspicion from the various Davenport family members, friends Verna and Godfrey to Oliver, fiancée of the deceased mans sister. To further add to the plot a second murder takes place within the house during the investigation which adds further mystery to the plot.
I absolutely loved this book. I found it very funny in places especially the dialogue between Poirot and Catchpool at times. I felt as though I could relate to the narrator Catchpool who is always one step behind in his thinking and never quite works it all out until the very end. The ending for me was very satisfying and gave a watertight explanation to all the events of the book, in an ingenious manner that I would never have guessed.
If you like classic crime mysteries, I would definitely recommend this book for you. It is a great read that more than does justice to the style and character made famous by Agatha Christie and can of course be read as a stand alone novel if you have not read any Poirot before. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill is published by Harper Collins, and is available now.