Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Someone was giving this away so of course I snatched this up! Cat Among the Pigeons is Poirot mystery and although it takes place in a boarding school, the action is international.

The book opens with a middle-eastern prince getting killed. But before he dies, he passes a packet of incredibly valuable jewels to be smuggled out of the country. Over in England, a teacher has been killed at Meadowbank, a well-regarded boarding school. And since the cousin of the late prince is staying there, there are a lot of important people interested in this. Poirot doesn't really appear until late into the story, but I really enjoy the part where he appeared.

As usual, I really enjoyed this. Most of the mysteries tend to be local, but this one has international implications, which I found to be a refreshing change. The start was a bit confusing because it cut from school to the Middle East and back but I wasn't too confused.

With regards to characters, there are a whole host of interesting people in these books. In particular, I liked Miss Bulstrode, the headmistresses with a forceful personality (there was a subplot on who would succeed her), Adam, an undercover agent, and Julia, a student at the school. Julia, in particular, was lovely to read about because she's brave and sensible but didn't come across as a Mary-Sue.

The one complaint I have is that the portrayal of Middle-Eastern people is very stereotypical. Prince Ali (the prince I mentioned at the beginning) basically dies in a revolution because he's too democratic. In fact, another character basically says that what Middle Eastern people want are tyrants for rulers which was an eye-rolling moment for me. But luckily this was only at the start of the book so it's still something that could be ignored.

Overall, this is an enjoyable story. The beginning is a bit rough but the story gets into its stride once the murders start and I ended up really enjoying the book.

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