The Hollow

The Hollow is on of the few Agatha Christie mysteries that I would like to have in my permanent collection.  Something about the story always brings me back to it. It has a unique atmosphere and an eerie quality to its characters that fascinates me.

Rating: ****

The Angkatells include Sir Henry and his wife Lucy Angkatell - the hosts at the Hollow. Invited are guests Midge Hardcastle, John and Gerda Christow, Henrietta Savernake, Edward Angkatell, and David Angkatell. Postponing John Christow's murder would have been better for the unknown murderer; unfortunately Hercule Poirot, who had been invited to lunch, arrives unexpectedly at the scene of a crime.

Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of a murder and with the gun still being held by the chief suspect: Gerda Christow. But are things what they seem? Poirot thinks not, and sets out to find the truth - something the people at the Hollow seem to know and desire to hide....

Truth is one of the main issues in this novel. For any Agatha Christie fan, Poirot's reverence for the truth is well-known, but we have another view argued by a character in the novel: isn't it better to make people happy? What use would discovering the truth be except to bring more misery to the living? Poirot, for once struck, nevertheless sticks to his own beliefs, but when he at last does know the truth, it is what he does with it that matters. As he says in the end,

You do not understand. To you it is unbearable that anyone should be hurt. But to some minds there is something more unbearable still - not to know.......To the scientific mind, truth comes first. Truth, however bitter, can be accepted, and woven into a design for living.

The scientific mind and the creative mind are poles apart, but the truth is something they both have to face and deal with. The novel is detailed in portraying the various ways the characters have of dealing with the grief of John's death. I feel sympathy for every character caught in the murder (the poignant images of grief are near the end). Everyone has lost something or comes near to losing something. The plot is actually very simple, but Agatha Christie never allows us to grasp it until the end!


Kerrie said...

I'm about to read this one, so you review makes me even more interested. Thanks for contributing to the Blog Carnival.

Sarah said...

I loved this one as it deals more with the characters than with the mystery.