Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Cat Among the Pigeons

Cat Among the Pigeons: Agatha Christie, December 4—8, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
CatAmongThePigeonsIn Cat Among the Pigeons, Agatha Christie combines many of her most successful elements in a very readable case. Set in a girls’ boarding school, the quaint middle class character base is a strong feature, and there is an international espionage subplot reminiscent of The Secret Adversary, Man in the Brown Suit and They Came to Baghdad. There is also something of a cameo from her iconic sleuth, Poirot.
The ensemble cast features the strong-willed headmistress Miss Bulstrode, co-founder of the school and formidable as they come. Supporting her are a slew of teaching staff and a select few students. One of the best features of the novel is seeing the school from the perspectives of different cast members and getting an insight into the different opinions represented.
There’s a few subplots running that are a little underdeveloped but entertaining enough to follow. The murder itself is less of a how-did-they-do-it, at which Christie often excels, and more of a straightforward whodunit based on the fact practically every character had the opportunity.
The investigation itself is unfocussed and quite ordinary. Inspector Kelsey, while cooperating with Special Branch’s “Adam”, also inexplicably takes Miss Bulstrode into his confidence when she should surely have been a suspect. Very little in the way of investigation actually takes place, with minimal interviewing and next to no seeking and gathering of clues, with instead a small amount of hypothesising forming the sleuthing scenes.
Although billed as a Poirot novel, the Belgian moustaches only arrive at the end after one of the schoolgirls fetches him (having heard of him via Maureen Summerhayes of Mrs McGinty’s Dead fame). Sadly, his own workings appear to equally occur ‘off-page’, with only his trademark denouement, with the murderer being in this very room, is seen. He isn’t even afforded a chance to speak of his little grey calls or say “Ah bien!“.
Despite the criminally short shrift for Poirot, the world of Meadowbank School for Girls is a pleasant one to visit, and the story strands keep this short tale moving. There seem to be many missed opportunities for more; Poirot in an all girls’ school could have been comedy gold. This could have been a classic, but instead isn’t even a particularly clever murder mystery. It is simply a short and enjoyable read, and that is quite entertaining on its own merits.
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This entry was posted on December 8, 2014 by in 4 star, Agatha Christie Collection and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare