Killer Review: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

Image result for closed casket book imageBlurb: Hercule Poirot returns in another brilliant murder mystery that can only be solved by the eponymous Belgian detective and his ‘little grey cells’.

‘What I intend to say to you will come as a shock . . .’

Lady Athelinda Playford has planned a house party at her mansion in Clonakilty, County Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will – one she intends to announce at dinner that night. She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who has only weeks to live . . .

Among Lady Playford’s guests are two men she has never met – the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited . . . until Poirot starts to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murderer to strike. But why does she seem so determined to provoke, in the presence of a possible killer?

When the crime is committed in spite of Poirot’s best efforts to stop it, and the victim is not who he expected it to be, will he be able to find the culprit and solve the mystery?

Lady Athelinda Playford invites Inspector Edward Catchpool and Hercule Poirot to her remote mansion in County Cork along with a number of other guests including her children. When she announces at dinner that she has changed her will cutting off her two children and leaving it to her personal who only has weeks to live, she sets off a chain of events which will end in murder. But can Hercule Poirot and Inspector Catchpool put their differences aside long enough to uncover the true culprit and solve the mystery?

I loved this book from the outset which I read in a day and a half.This story has everything a golden age mystery would have, making this feel authentic.

The point of view character/narrator Inspector Edward Catchpool is an interesting one. He is the underdog which most of the other characters write off  which allows him to investigate under the radar while giving a great insight into the character of Hercule Poirot and his ‘little grey cells’ at work. I did find that Hercule Poirot spent less time on the page than some of the other characters but I think in this novel it does work surprisingly well as it allowed some of the focus to shift between the other characters creating suspense, tension and allowed the mystery to unfold organically.

This novel does have a low body count which I found refreshing as it allowed the focus to be on the ‘closed casket’ mystery. This is a novel which looks at the minds and actions of each character with Hercule Poirot slowly unravelling the motivations behind each one which I loved. This is a brilliant golden age mystery which takes the reader on a journey along with Inspector Catchpool and Hercule Poirot.

Closed Casket is a compelling novel full of twists, surprises with a classic murder mystery at its centre. I would recommend for all crime fans!

With thanks to HarperCollins for an advanced review copy.

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To buy this book from Waterstones click here.

To find out more about Sophie Hannah follow her on Twitter @sophiehannahCB1.