I’m not hugely into mysteries, but every now and then I get in the mood for one. When I do, one of the first places I reach is Agatha Christie. This time I picked up Death in the Air which once again proves a sorry truth about detectives. They just can’t go anywhere without running into a murder. In this novel, world famous detective Hercule Poirot is traveling by airplane when one of the passengers is killed mid-flight by a poisoned dart. To make the situation even more bizarre, the murder weapon is found tucked in the back of our detective’s chair, drawing suspicion to him. Poirot must solve the mystery not only to find the killer, but also to clear his name,
Death in the Air is an example of a solid Agatha Christie mystery. In the beginning of a book a seemingly impossible murder takes place, and as we begin to look into passengers on the plane, it looks as if multiple people could be guilty. Like Poirot, the reader must find his or her way through red herrings, and false alarms to find the truth at the end. I always see if I can solve the mystery first, and I often find that I can discover pieces of the truth (for example, who committed the murder, what was the murder weapon, what’s the motivation) but rarely get the whole picture by the time Poirot unveils the killer. I had a very similar experience with Death in the Air, where I had guessed pretty much everything by the beginning, but was too distracted by the drama of the story and ended up changing my mind to the wrong person. Death in the Air also gives us a cast of entertaining side characters, such as Mr. Clancy a scatterbrained detective novelist, and Jane Grey, a young hairdresser caught up in both the mystery and a love triangle. Jane Grey is almost the second protagonist of the story, which I feel was a good choice, as she is far easier to relate to. Although Poirot, with his brilliance, egg shaped head, and giant mustache, is a fascinating lead, his sharp mind and secretive nature makes him at times quite distant to the reader.
Death in the Air has all the elements of a good Agatha Christie mystery. Although it is not as brilliant as say, Murder on the Orient Express, or A Murder is Announced, it was still a enjoyable read that kept me guessing (and second-guessing myself) until almost the last page.
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 230 pages
Source: a neat used bookstore near campus. I forgot the name but it’s something very standard like “Used books”
Similar Books: For other books where Hercule Poirot encounters a murder while in transit, try Murder on the Orient Express (train), and Death on the Nile (boat).
Other books I've read by this author: The Tuesday Club Murders, Dead Man’s Mirror, They Came to Baghdad, 4:50 to Paddington, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Sleeping Murder, The Secret Adversary, The Secret of Chimneys, Hallowe’en Party, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Death Comes as the End, Appointment with Death, A Caribbean Mystery, A Murder is Announced, The Under Dog and Other Stories, Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express
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