There is nothing more comforting after a long day than settling in with a mystery involving Hercule Poirot. And, The Murder on the Links (1923) is no exception.
M. Poirot has received an urgent letter requesting his assistance in France. The plea comes from Mr. Renauld, a wealthy man with business holdings in South America. Unfortunately, by the time M. Poirot and his ever-faithful Hastings arrive, Renauld is dead. Stabbed in the back with a letter opener. His body discovered on the golf course next to his villa's grounds.
Mon Dieu! So far Dame Agatha has sweetened the pot with a whisper of blackmail, a grieving widow, a disinherited son, a possible mistress, a young woman on a train, a missing murder weapon, footprints, lack of footprints, young love, and a worthy protagonist for M. Poirot - a Monsieur Giraud of the Paris Sûreté.
Unlike M. Poirot who uses his little grey cells, M. Giraud likes to dig about and look for the tiniest evidence of, well, evidence. He is a bit brash and arrogant, and it will be a treat to see M. Poirot gently put him in his place.
One of the surprises that Dame Agatha has in store for the reader is a bit of gardening advice. So unexpected! I found this little exchange between M. Poirot and Auguste, the long-time gardener at the villa, to be delightful:
"I was admiring these magnificent geraniums. They are truly superb. They have been planted long?"
"Some time, monsieur. But of course, to keep the bed looking smart, one must keep bedding out a few new plants, and remove those that are over, besides keeping the old blooms well picked off."
"You put in some new plants yesterday, didn't you? Those in the middle there, and in the other bed also."
"Monsieur has a sharp eye. It takes always a day or so for them to 'pick up'. Yes, I put ten new plants in each bed last night. As monsieur doubtless knows, one should not put in plants when the sun is hot."
Yes, murder and gardening tips. What more could a reader want?