I hadn’t read anything by Sophie Hannah before, but I recently heard her interviewed by Graham Norton on his radio show and I thought I’d give her a go. I went through a phase of reading Agatha Christie when I was about 11 and I Iove a good, closely-plotted murder mystery.
I wasn’t too sure what to make of The Narrow Bed initially. The characters aren’t particularly likeable, although I don’t think they were meant to be. It also took me a long while to settle into the story and there are a several narrative threads, including the extracts from Kim’s book, Kim’s voice herself and the point of view of the Police. To my mind, it jumped about a bit. Eventually, though, things started to make sense (don’t they always?) and I began to develop theories of what was going on. I didn’t expect the end at all, but suffice to say it has a lot to do with the bookish clues scattered throughout the novel. I had to search through again to find where they were embedded. Very satisfying.
So, after a decent reading gap of about six books, I decided to try Sophie Hannah again. This time with The Monogram Murders, her continuation of the Poirot mysteries. This was much more familiar territory, with twenties London ensapsulated by The Bloxham Hotel, secrets and revenge burbling away in country villages and only Poirot able to unravel the deathly plot. I whizzed through this, busily coming up with my own solutions, but once again was rather pleased to be surprised by the outcome.