After The Funeral: a Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie
Richard Abernathie’s death at 68 was not exactly unexpected, as he had been sick for a while. Still, his long-estranged (she married an artist. Not our sort, you know?) younger sister Cora manages to scandalize everyone when she says that it was murder. No one takes the idea seriously, until the day after Cora gets home from the funeral, when she is herself murdered, with a hatchet.
There’s no shortage of potential suspects, but no real motive. Cora wasn’t exactly wealthy, for all that she inherited a share of Richard’s estate. Of course, now that she’s dead, everyone else who inherited stands to gain a larger share. And if Richard was murdered it had to be a member of the family. Mr. Entwhistle, the family solicitor, has a friend, a certain M. Poirot. He’s mostly retired now, but he’d help out an old friend, wouldn’t he?
This is late-period Poirot, 1953. It is over 80 pages before the detective himself appears, and almost 150 pages before we see him detecting. The reveal, when it comes, is unexpected but not unhinted-at; as with many stories it will have you looking back and going, “Oh, so that’s why . . .”. And it makes sense. And Christie, again, doesn’t cheat to get there.