I'm still a bit scarred from reading Anthony Horowitz's authorised but
horrifically inept treatment of Sherlock Holmes in House of Silk. Would
a similar exercise be any better with Sophie Hannah resurrecting
Poirot? My mum adored Sophie Hannah so I was optimistic. I noticed a
real rash of one star reviews that were pretty merciless in their hatred
of this book. But I was still in Sophie's corner. It seemed they were
unhappy that Christie's famous economy of writing was not something
Sophie embraced. But Sophie can write it her way - it doesn't have to be
a full on pastiche. You can evoke a character without the need to ape
another writer's style. And the first scene/chapter when Poirot
originally meets Jenny in the coffee shop is fine. It's amusing,
intriguing and Poirot lives again. And then Scotland Yard in the shape
of Catchpool turns up and it all goes to hell. Well to be fair it isn't
Catchpool who heralds literary Armageddon it's the murder itself. The
rest of the book is Poirot and the sceptical Scotland Yard man endlessly
assembling their thoughts about the crime. It's incredibly over
written. Hannah creates such a vast forest of deduction and explanation
that getting lost and confused amongst the foliage is inevitable. She
doesn't give any of the characters beyond Poirot any life so we
inevitably don't really care who dies, why they die or whodunnit.I wonder whether a better fit would have been Sophie Hannah writing Holmes and Horowitz writing Poirot.
listened to the audio for this one. Julian Rhind-Tutt is a big asset to
the production and I love his David Suchet Poirot impersonation.
Rick Raphael only wrote a handful of stories, mainly in the 60s. His speciality was writing about ordinary people doing a professional job coping with futuristic problems. In one of his other stories 'The Thirst Quenchers' his heroes are hydrologists working to conserve water for an overpopulated country. Code Three speculates what kind of job traffic cops will have to do to keep the super speed highways of the future safe. The story takes a ride with a three person team on a routine three week patrol aboard their state of the art cruiser. With vehicles routinely travelling at speeds four or five times the speeds of today the story goes into detail on how they deal with the consequences of accidents and law breaking. There's no world shattering crisis, just everyday problems on the highways dealt with by highly trained professional... oh and throw in a bit of almost romance that might or might not set off your cheese detectors dependant on your mood. A Hugo nomination had the bad fortune of having to compete with one of Poul Anderson's seven winners 'No Truce with Kings'.