Hercule Poirot Mysteries (1-4): Mini-Op-Ed Reviews

The Mysterious Affair at Styles
First title in the Hercule Poirot Mystery series
by Agatha Christie
narrated by Nadia May
6.1 hours

I liked the book, but I made a serious mistake when I first approached it: I underestimated Agatha Christie. The last time I read Agatha Christie was in high school (The ABC Murders and Murder on the Orient Express) and now I had thought her dated and perhaps even less-than- sophisticated! I was struck by the density of the cast list, the plot, the motives and the subterfuges. I anticipate returning to this book again and being able to appreciate it more with each re-reading or re-telling.

As much as I love Nadia May, she was miscast for this book. The narrator is a 45 year-old male Captain coming in from the Front. Despite Nadia May’s versatility, there was no way to ignore that she wasn’t a 45 year-old male Captain coming in from the Front! There is a scene early on wherein Captain Hastings looks out the window to see Lawrence Cavendish walking with Cynthia Murdoch. In my mind’s eye, I saw Miss Marple peering out the window! Later, as Captain Hastings expresses his crush on Mary Cavendish or even later, proposes to Cynthia Murdoch, it took me aback.

Other Stuff: I borrowed a library CD edition of this audiobook from Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Murder on the Links
Second title in the Hercule Poirot Mystery series
by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Links (second in the Hercule Poirot mystery series by Agatha Christie) – I’m not much for cozies in general, but I do like Agatha Christie and, the earlier Hercule Poirot novels are very nicely crafted. In this story, an Englishman living in France summons Poirot to Merlinville-sur-Mer in France. The Englishman, Paul Renaud, believes his life to life to be endangered. Poirot arrives in all due haste; but it is too late. Renaud’s body is discovered on a golf course…. Silly me, I was half afraid that the book was going to contain arcane golfing terminology and I was going to have to ask DH about mashies and niblicks and such, but rest assured, there was nothing about golf in the story 🙂

Other Stuff: I borrowed a copy of this book from The Jackson County Library System (Southern Oregon) in Medford, OR.

Poirot Investigates: Eleven Complete Mysteries
Third title in the Hercule Poirot Mystery series
by Agatha Christie
narrated by David Suchet
5.75 hours

Individually, I can’t say much for the mysteries themselves. There wasn’t enough information given in any of the stories to help the listener solve any of the whodunnits; but overall the stories provide nice background color for the characters of Poirot and Hastings. David Suchet, the actor who played Hercule Poirot in the BBC series, narrates. As to be expected, he was great at portraying Poirot and very good at the other male characters; but his women and Americans were truly awful.

Other stuff: I borrowed a CD copy of this audiobook from the Jackson County Library System (Southern Oregon.)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Fourth in the Hercule Poirot Mystery series

by Agatha Christie
narrated by Robin Bailey
7.01 hours

Hastings has unapologetically disappeared from the the series! Poirot has retired to the countryside to garden; but the death of a local woman sets off a domino cascade of intrigue. We’re not counting teacups (cf The Mysterious Affair at Styles); but we are to
keep watch on the time! Robin Bailey is spot on as the village doctor from whose point of view the story is told.

Other stuff: I borrowed a CD copy of this audiobook from the Jackson County Library System (Southern Oregon)

This post is part of the Murder, Monsters, Mayhem feature being hosted by Jennifer L. at http://www.jennsbookshelves.com

Betting on Weight Loss

Have trouble staying on your diet?
Try putting your money where your mouth is
By Sari Harrar
Good Housekeeping, July 2010 (Vol. 251 No. 1)
Good Housekeeping photography Bill Swan and Jean E. Lee

I’m so lame! I totally abandoned taking PETER & MAX (by Bill Willingham; illustrated by Steve Leialoha) on vacation in favor of starting Tana French’s IN THE WOODS . Problem was, once I got to my parent’s house, I wasn’t in the mood for IN THE WOODS and I hadn’t brought a back-up book! So I went looking around the house for something to read only to discover, much to my chagrin, there are NO books in my parent’s house, only back issues of Ladies Home Journal and a recent issue of Good Housekeeping! Okaaay, I picked up the copy of GH and read an article by Sari Harrar called “Betting on Weight Loss.” It ended up being a timely article in my life as I’m about to start a round of the Game On! Diet (08/01) and it served as a sort of gloss about competing with your family and friends in weight loss challenges.

The Game On! Diet
By Krista Vernoff and Az Ferguson
HarperCollins e-books, Kindle edition

Anyway, I also dnloaded the e-book edition of The Game On! Diet (by Krista Vernoff and Az Ferguson) which isn’t so much a diet book, as it is an explanation of the rules of the game. I did feel a little ripped off as it wasn’t really much more substantive than the GH article (unfair I know since the book came out first and I’m sure it was the basis for the article) and, the experts quoted for the book were the medical consultants for the television show, Grey’s Anatomy (The book was written by one of the show’s writers, Krista Vernoff and, the show’s trainer, Az Ferguson.) Hmmm, I might have felt better had the consulting doctors written the book instead, but then I would have probably have complained that the good doctors had no writing skills :-/ Well, at least the information is fairly innocuous (eat better, exercise more and get plenty of sleep) so it’s not going to kill me and, I think it’s a great way to get in the habit of making smarter choices health-wise. Moreover, the book does contain recipes and helpful hints for succeeding in your challenge and the common sense underpinning the book is delivered in a friendly way (unlike the screeching SKINNY BITCH book which I will be reviewing later.) As the challenge approaches its start date and throughout the game, I will be posting more specific comments about the Game On! Diet book as well as other relevant material.

Some of my reasons for wanting to play this game:

  • I am overweight. Four months ago I was obese and currently I am the average weight for my height and age; but I would like to get back to fighting form. For this challenge, I would like to just get back to the normal weight for my height and age;
  • I want to be around for the important milestones in my child’s life. I can’t be around if I’m dying or dead because of diabetes, cardiac issues, or whatever. I envision myself strutting in a vintage Chanel (by Karl Lagerfeld) little black dress suit at my daughter’s college graduation; adjusting the wedding veil right before she walks down the aisle; holding my grandchild/-ren when they’re babies… I want to be around for all that and more.
  • I hate the way I look and feel, which is basically like Jabba the Hutt. I really want to look and feel like a sexy Manga chick wearing stiletto thigh-high biker boots…

In case you’re wondering, I will NOT to posting daily blogs about this challenge. I will instead be tweeting daily and posting weekly. For now, I will leave you with this “Before” picture: