Review: The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #1)

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading The Mystery of Three Quarters, I borrowed book #1 of Sophie Hannah's Poirot series so that I could learn the back story of Edward Catchpool and Fee Spring. I was prepared this time for the alternating third and first person narrations of the story. Again, I spotted Hannah's ideas as she espoused them in her non-fiction book How to Hold a Grudge and was pretty chuffed that I did since I'd read her grudge book over a year earlier and hadn't actually kept going with her grudge processing methods.

Hannah caught Poirot's mannerisms and way of speaking perfectly. It's obvious she did her homework in ensuring she stayed true to Christie's vision and characterization. By inventing Catchpool and Spring, she was able to go to town with her own characters and imagination. It's a kind of best of both worlds.

The mystery is convoluted, the puzzle like a maze with turns that seem to end yet maybe don't. Details pile on details; remembering them and building up a big picture of the plot and characters becomes a cognitive feat, especially with my brain injury despite my reading continuing to improve. I clung to my knowledge of psychology with one character and was right in the end. Hannah did her best, though, to deceive a person who would've cottoned on to what a change in behaviour means, and she almost had me. However, I absolutely did not see the whodunnit coming! Incredible solve! It was one of those moments where you know you had the truth shown yet still didn't see it. Powerfully satisfying at the cleverness, in the best sense of the word.

And then a character becomes unhinged and you're in a completely different place than you thought you were headed as Poirot was revealing the solution. The ending is not the end. Love has dimensions that can turn inside out. All it takes is one small yet revealing trigger. And we're back to Hannah's grudge book. I would almost recommend reading her book How to Hold a Grudge in order to enjoy more dimensions of her Poirot books. Awesome read!

This was the last book I finished in 2020. Well, the actual last book was Surprised by Hope, but I'd been ready to declare it finished before I'd read this one. I'd only been waiting to discuss the big picture of it with someone to ensure I had it. I'd been aiming for 20 books in my Goodreads reading challenge. I made it to 18 with this one and Surprised by Hope. And though I didn't meet my challenge, I'm chuffed that I remembered some of the books as well as I did, including this one. A real testament to the reading rehab I received at Lindamood-Bell and practicing their visualizing and verbalizing reading comprehension technique.

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