Saturday 25 July 2020

Closed Casket

Finished July 20
Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah

This story takes place at an Irish manor house of Lady Playford, a famous English children's author. The author has invited a number of people to her house for a weekend, including Inspector Catchpool of Scotland Yard and Hercule Poirot.
Lady Playford's son Harry and daughter-in-law Dorro are also living there as is her daughter Claudia. Her daughter's fiance, Randall Klimpton, a pathologist from Oxford is visiting. Lady Playford has also invited the two principal lawyers from her law firm, Orville Rolfe and Michael Gathercole, and we see her early meeting with one of them as she discusses making a significant change to her will.
Besides these people, there are also staff members: Hatton the butler, the cook Brigid, the maid Phyllis, Lady Playford's secretary Joseph Scotcher, and Scotcher's nurse Sophie Bourlet. Scotcher is suffering from a kidney disease and is not expected to last much longer.
Catchpool and Poirot are not entirely sure why they are there, but the expect it is to prevent something from happening.
Lady Playford is a very manipulative woman who likes to have things her way, and she was the sole recipient of her husband's estate, unusual in those times, although her son did get the title. Claudia is a very forthright young woman, resentful of pretty much everyone and everything and a strong feminist in some ways. Gathercole, her lawyer, originally applied for the job as her secretary and has been a lifelong fan of her writings, crediting them with his success in life. As Lady Playford puts her plan in action, she fails to account for a variety of other variables and it does not unfold to her satisfaction at all, and it is now that Catchpool and Poirot must work together to figure out what has really happened and who is responsible.
An interesting novel, with a more convoluted plot than I prefer. Poirot is himself and it is all neatly wrapped up, but there are many casualties and a sad ending.

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