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Curtain

Poirot's Last Case
Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
Series: Hercule Poirot, Book 41
Length: 5 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (218 ratings)

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Summary

The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings. There was his own daughter, Judith; an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton; dashing Mr Allerton; brittle Miss Cole; Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife, Barbara; Nurse Craven; Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy; and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington.

So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot's declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the aging detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?

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Critic reviews

"Superb, vintage Christie." ( Sunday Express)
"First rate Christie: fast, complicated, wryly funny." ( Time)

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    5 out of 5 stars

The end of Poirot

A poignant final case for Poirot aided by his faithful Hastings in which they re-investigate supposedly solved murders/deaths. In true Agatha Christie style it's intricately plotted and enjoyable to listen to owing much to being wonderfully well-read by Hugh Fraser (Hastings of the TV series).

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

This is a fantastic book. The best thought out story, the best characters, the best twists, and an end you mustn't miss out on.

How clever Agatha was. And to finish like this.....wow.

Buy it, you will not be disappointed.

A clever piece of writing. Not too many characters so it is easy to follow. A contained story as it all happens in one place more or less.

I absolutely loved it. You will too.

2 people found this helpful

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Curtain

What can I say, Agatha Christie out did herself, in this final case, the suspense intrigue, the amount of suspects that it could have been it was amazing, I was completely dumbfounded when I came to the end and the culprit was announced.
When you start the book you are given a lot of information and you may want to give up but don't you'll regret it if you do.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A corrective experience for fans of the TV series'

I am not an avid Christie reader, but I am an avid Christie fan. I grew up watching the old Joan Hickson Marple movies (pocket full of rye used to scare the living daylights out of me), and the early series of the David Suchet tv adaptation of Poirot.



But as the years went on, my love for the old Christie books had changed to horror at the most recent adaptations. After years of waiting for a David Suchet adaptation to replace the awkward accent and strange paleness of Albert Finny, I got a Murder on the Orient Express which I could hardly recognize.



The new trend of adaptation, that of deviating heavily from Christie's story, is painful for someone who was used to the quality of the early series. I spent quite a lot of time waiting for the more iconic tales to swing around, and now that they have, they are horrible to behold.



Here, therefore, is a chance for us fans of the older series, fans of the time when Agatha Christie's Poirot was a good show to watch, one that didn't make you cringe at the obvious changes (so obvious, a non-reader can spot them), to experience something of the "Curtain" experience which we deserve, but will never get.



Enjoy, my friends, this delightful performance by Hugh Fraser (Who does a lovely David Suchet impersonation, btw), and dream of what might have been.



- G

7 people found this helpful

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A bittersweet farewell

Curtain bids a bittersweet farewell to the one and only Hercule Poirot. While I know that by this point Agatha Christie feelings towards him were less than amicable, her novel doesn't convey its creators impatience. Rather than hurrying Poirot off from the stage, Christie grants him one final performance.
I will admit that seeing the formidable Poirot altered in such a visible way did indeed affect me. Still, in spite of his physical appearance, his mind remains as sharp as ever and he is, as per usual, always a mile ahead of his naïve friend Hastings (who is yet again played like a fiddle). Surprisingly Hastings was not as irritating as he could usually be, and while his younger self was more of a stick-in-the-mud kind of chap (at times acting like little more than disgruntled child), this older Hastings seems far more genial. Hastings' feelings mirrored my own ones: being at Styles again brings about a bout of nostalgia, and his reunion with Poirot reveals that underneath his somewhat priggish British exterior, lies a deep affection for his Belgian friend.
Their banter was as amusing as ever, especially in those occasions when Poirot teases Hastings about his partiality for redheads.

While many of Christie's murderers are often motived by financial gain, in Curtain our 'X' is driven by much more fiendish impulses. Suspecting this, Poirot is forced to act fast. Sadly, his failing health does seem to disrupt his investigation so much so that Poirot finds himself seeking once again Hastings' assistance.
The group of people residing in Styles offer us with interesting little portraits of human nature: a domineering spouse, an ambitious doctor, a womaniser...some of these have indeed in some form or other in previous works by Christie but that doesn't make them any less interesting. Christie, as per usual, demonstrates that she is perfectly attuned to capture certain personalities—their attitudes, moral and political standpoints, as well as their fears and desires, their strengths and weaknesses—and the way in which they talk—through different word choices, expressions, and turns of phrases—so that each character leaves a vivid impression in the readers' mind.

“As my taxi passed through the village, though, I realised the passage of years. Styles St Mary was altered out of all recognition. Petrol stations, a cinema, two more inns and rows of council houses.”


Christie's own nostalgia is apparent in this novel, and Hastings, similarly to his creator, perceives the changes in his world with an uneasy acceptance. There are quite a few works by Christie that express uncertainty over the modernisation and rapidly changing social norms of her country, and these feelings particularly suited the story of Curtain as much of it seems to be a dialogue between the various cases that have shaped Poirot's career.
The mystery was skillfully executed, and I enjoyed reading of the way in which seemingly small events and exchanges seemed to alienate the characters from one another. The reveal was both clever and effective, bringing light to the whole affair.
I thoroughly recommend this one to fans of Poirot. Sad as it may be, it demonstrates Christie's greatest strengths (wit, murder, drama). And while the novel might be presenting us with Poirot's final case, I am eager to be reunited with him in his early adventures...

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I'm not crying, you're crying!

Curtain is one I can hardly bear to watch, which is a shame because the story is so good. I thought I might be better with the audiobook; naybe if it was someone other than Hugh Fraser reading it? But no, I couldn't escape the waterworks! Beautiful and so sad.

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a very good read

after reading many of Agatha Christie's book it is disappointing to know that this was the last case. enjoy your read of a good book

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A sad farewell

Once again Hugh Fraser brings to life the Poirot stories with his characterisations and calm delivery but this time with the added solemnity at the passing of the great detective.

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Holmes resurrected.

unlike conan doyle, agatha has laid her fictional Detective Hercle to a permanant Heavenly home. there will never be annother Hercule.

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Always the best

I love Agatha Christie's books, especially the Poirot's series. He is a great character and with this book I like him more.

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  • Sigurd R Dahl
  • 19-05-18

A must!

Agatha and Hugh is true! The plot intrigues you and the read performance enchants you!

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  • Narelle
  • 21-01-15

Last but Certainly Not Least

Can't fault Hugh Fraser's reading. Loved the twist in this last Poirot. Christie, what an author! Will hear again and again and ...

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  • DGJ follower
  • 30-01-14

The most gripping Poirot story

One of the best Poirot stories -- masterfully narrated by Hugh Fraser, who also performed the narrating character in the David Suchet series. This is among the Agatha Christie books which are not only masterfully woven crime mysteries but also not without literary merits. It revolves around real ethical and moral dilemmas -- a relatively rare thing in murder mysteries.