cover image Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery

Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery

Sophie Hannah, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt. HarperAudio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 10 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-0-06-256176-3

Hannah’s second estate-sanctioned addition to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot finds the brilliant, amusingly self-centered Belgian sleuth in 1929, attending a house party from hell. Neither he nor Scotland Yard Insp. Edward Catchpool, the novel’s thoughtful narrator and Poirot’s friend, know why they’ve been invited by Lady Athelinda Playford to her County Cork mansion in the Irish Free State. Other guests include Athie’s children, their significant others, her attorneys, and her ailing secretary. When Athie announces she’s drafted a new will leaving everything to her secretary, Poirot and Catchpool realize their presence is intended to keep the peace. Someone commits murder regardless, and the detecting duo must determine whodunit. Hannah’s entertaining pastiche is brim-full of character interactions, backstories, smart chat, and diabolical twists of plot, most of which Rhind-Tutt, performing as Catchpool, delivers in the cool, measured voice of a professional Yard observer. There are moments, however, when the inspector’s almost steely British reserve gives way to self-doubt, anger, sorrow, and even petulance, and Rhind-Tutt shifts his narration accordingly. As for Poirot, Rhind-Tutt’s rendition resembles that of the sleuth’s longtime television interpreter, David Suchet. A wise man doesn’t meddle with perfection. [em]A Morrow hardcover. (Sept.) [/em]