Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Published by HarperCollins, 1937
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
It’s always such a pleasure to come back to Christie, and every time I read one of her novels, I wonder why I don’t do so more often. I won’t really go into plot specifics for this one. As one of her most celebrated classics, you’ll either know all about it already, or you can enjoy unpicking its mysteries for yourself.
Suffice to say, Death on the Nile features all the very best qualities associated with Christie’s work: A cast of well-established characters; lots of twists and red herrings to keep you guessing; contrasting moments of thrilling excitement and wry humour; incredibly readable prose; deceptively shrewd examples of human observation; an intricate tapestry of clues that weave together to form a smart, satisfying conclusion.
The only negative I could mention relates to the length and pacing. There’s no denying this could have been shorter, with the novel’s first half given over to setting up context and motives for each of the many characters. In the hands of virtually any other writer, this would have become tiresome, but there’s an effortless charm to Christie’s writing, characterisation, and evocation of time and place, that allows her to get away with it. Once the first murder takes place, the pace ramps up considerably, and I’m pleased to say she kept me guessing until the very end.
It hasn’t dethroned my favourite Christie, which remains And Then There Were None, but this certainly ranks highly among the 16 I’ve read thus far. As I always say when I finish one of her books, I can’t wait to read more!