cover image Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night

Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night

Sophie Hannah. Morrow, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-0-6299163-8

Hannah’s stellar fifth whodunit featuring Agatha Christie’s iconic sleuth (after 2020’s The Killings at Kingfisher Hall) extends her reign as a master of mystery pastiche. In early December 1931, Poirot is preparing for a quiet Christmas alone when Cynthia Catchpool, the mother of Scotland Yard inspector Edward Catchpool, summons both men to solve one murder and prevent another in the small Norfolk town of Munby-on-Sea. Someone has bashed in the head of universally beloved postmaster Stanley Niven during his recent hospital stay. Vivienne Laurier, a friend of Cynthia’s, is convinced that her husband, Arnold, has put a target on his own back by dedicating himself to tracking down Stanley’s killer, and her anxiety spikes when Arthur prepares to go to the same hospital where Stanley was killed. Cynthia insists that Poirot stay with her and Edward through the holiday, and the pair launches a winding investigation that eventually puts their own lives at risk. Hannah does a superior job of presenting Poirot’s quirky brilliance without overdoing it, and in making Catchpool a fully fleshed sidekick with psychological depth. Golden age mystery fans will be hungry for more.(Oct.)