It is a sunny, warm and cheerful day. M. Poirot has been invited over to lunch by the Angkatells at the Hollow, their beautiful abode in the country. The Angkatells are Poirot's neighbors in the country just outside London. Henry and his eccentric wife Lucy Angkatell have also invited their old friends Dr John and his wife Gerda Christow, the Angkatell's are also having over some more of family and old acquaintances staying with them at the Hollow.
Poirot leisurely walks over to the Hollow expecting a scrumptious lunch and good conversion. Alas, what poor Poirot gets is murder! Dr Christow has been shot and his lying on his back, blood is slowly dripping from him into the blue water of the swimming pool, standing over him is his wife Gerda Christow with a gun in hand.
Review: Its been often said that Dame Christie books especially the ones which feature Poirot and written after the second world war are weaker then their antecedents, so is this true for the 1946 piece of detective fiction "The Hollow"?
Its a resounding Yes from me, while the book has many great points and is actually not a bad read, but where this one fails me is that the mystery is at best pedestrian. I think the Hollow has some of the most memorable characters that Christie has ever created, the Collins edition which is around 400 pages gives enough time and space for characters to develop and form a background story. Christie manages to have the reader sympathize and connect with the characters.
The Mystery takes a backseat there is more focus on the Love quadrangles, even with a plethora of suspects it isn't very difficult to figure out the murderer, I did it half way through the book. I thought with so many suspects and good characterization Christie will pull off a masterstroke but that did not happen.
Poirot looks weak in the book, the usually confident detective seems diffident and it looked like that not until the very end he realized who the murderer actually is. I read somewhere that Christie did not want Poirot in the book and she added him only later which ruined the book. In my humble opinion I don't think Poirot had anything to do with the weak story line he is hardly noticeable in the book.
One characteristic which I personally dislike is infidelity. In this book Christie tries to portray the philandering doctor as some kind of hero and his mistress as a clever and tragic heroine. No matter how hard you try or no matter how good an author you are, you can never make something which is ignoble look noble. Colin Dexter uses the same theme in his books where infidelity is quite common, frankly speaking they fall flat on their face.
Although Hollow isn't Christie's worst novel, I can still say that there are far better Christie books readily available. I'm rating this two and half out of five.
Where you can buy it? Its very cheap order it online from Infibeam for around Rs 130.