Nick Buckley, owner of the titular End House, has been the subject of a number of near-fatal accidents and is then almost killed under the very eyes of the holidaying Hercule Poirot.
He is determined to protect her but then murder is done. Having failed once is he able to redeem himself by catching a clever and cold-blooded killer?
One of my earliest Poirot’s and probably my most often read, watched and listened to, and still one of my favourites.
I can’t say more as I haven’t yet figured out how to put more description in the top part of my posts because I feel anything I say (or don’t say) will reveal something. Next time I read a new book, I think I will try to write the first half of the review half-way through my reading as then I won’t know what may or may not be a spoiler!
Recurring character development
Is still retired and declines the Home Secretary’s request for help.
Asks Nick Buckley if she has read his books. Whether these are his own writings or Hastings publications is unclear.
Can identify that a bullet has been fired from a Mauser pistol.
Clings to the Continental breakfast and is distressed to see Hastings eating bacon and eggs.
Has not seen Inspector Japp since before “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”.
Has never disguised himself in the course of his investigations.
Has grown a moustache but it is not up to Poirot’s standards.
Has had malaria in the past and consequently has occasional bouts of fever.
Signs of the Times
Michael Seton is attempting a solo round-the-world flight. An American team using multiple planes had flown around the world in 1924, but it was not until 1933 that a solo trip in a single plane was accomplished by the American Wiley Post.
Hastings says that Michael Seton’s endeavours make him feel it is worth being an Englishman to which Poirot responds that it consoles for the defeats at Wimbledon. In 1932 when this book was published there hadn’t been British winners of the Singles since Arthur Gore in 1909 and Kitty Godfree in 1926. In 1934 there was a British double for Fred Perry and Dorothy Round.
Jim Lazarus asks when Nick Buckley is going to get her Moth. The Moths were a series of aeroplanes made by de Havilland in the 1920s and 30s but Moth was used in the UK to refer to any type of light aircraft.
He then says that she will be off to Australia like that girl, but has forgotten her name. This must be Amy Johnson who became the first aviatrix to fly from Britain to Australia in 1930.
The phrase “being in the Mrs. Harris-like position of ‘there ain’t no such person'” is used. This is a reference to Charles Dickens’ “Martin Chuzzlewit” where Mrs. Gamp tells stories of how she has helped Mrs. Harris over the years until her friend Betsey Prig realises that no such person exists.
References to previous works
Separately, Poirot and Mrs Croft mention “The Mystery of the Blue Train”, the previous book in the series.
Hastings tells Nick Buckley how Poirot solved “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”.
Poirot refers to his failure in the affair of the box of chocolates, which is recounted in “Poirot’s Early Cases”, a 1975 anthology.
Vintage Reading Challenge
A murder occurs during a firework display so fulfils “When – during a special event”.