I had high hopes for this book, because if you have read my previous review of her novel The Murder On The Links, you should know how I loved it. So, I’m really disappointed to tell you that I didn’t enjoy this book so much. I didn’t like it at all. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s not what you expect from Agatha Christie. It was a mediocre and predictable read, at least for me.
Mrs Bourtan-Cox confronts Mrs Ariadne Oliver, a famous detective fiction novelist, at a literary event and asks her the mysterious question concerning her goddaughter about her past. ‘Did her mother kill her father or was it the father who killed the mother?’ The question is in retrospect of two deaths that occurred fifteen years ago of General and Lady Ravenscroft.
This book is devided in two parts, the first one is called Elephants and it’s a close up of the suicide and focuses on Mrs Oliver, who tries to collect information. The second one is called Long Shadows and it’s the investigation and eventually the truth about the crime. Elephants play an important role on this story and the phrase “Elephants can remember” is used many times, only to point out that people can remember things that happened a long time ago, just like elephants can. Not all people of course, but they can usually remember something. Memory and looking back at the past is the centre theme of this mystery and the book ends once more with the mention of elephants: Elephants can remember but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget.
1. To me, Poirot seemed a little different from what I was used to. I did notice that he didn’t mention any french word, not even mon ami, which is a commonly phase used by him. I don’t know, but he didn’t seem witty and self – confident through the whole investigation, when he always appeared so. Not to add, that we rarely read about him, you see, Ariadne was the one who was eager to solve the case.
2. This book can be read in one sitting, it’s small but not fast-paced. More than half of the novel was based on people’s memories and what they could remember. Same facts were being mentioned over and over again, which tired me a little.
3. For me, the truth behind this mystery was predictable, I found it out immediately when I read about that Mrs Ravencroft had a sibling. You only need to use your imagination to solve this case and not the facts that were being discovered.