For those of you curious about what happens, without spoilers of course, read on for my summary:
Poirot and Hastings are on vacation together where Poirot is still insisting that he is "retired." One day the two of them meet Magdala Buckley who goes by the nickname "Nick" and she talks with Poirot about all of the accidents she has recently been in. Poirot naturally suspects that someone is out to kill her and insists that he see her again at her place, which is the titular End House. Poirot also deduces from a hole in Nick's hat that she had been recently shot at. He is determined to figure out who is trying to kill Nick, while also endeavoring to keep her alive. Among the suspects are her housekeeper Ellen, her neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Croft, her cousin Charles Vyse, and her friends George Challenger, Freddie Rice, and Jim Lazarus. The plot only thickens when Poirot insists that Nick invite someone she trusts to come live with her and Nick extends an invitation to her cousin Maggie. Nick decides to host a party where everyone, including Poirot, is in attendance and shockingly Maggie is found dead. The rest of the novel involves Poirot racing to figure out who the murderer is before they finally manage to do away with Nick.
Now for this book I decided not to do a review because as a whole I really didn't have much to say that was incredibly pertinent. There were no glaring faults with the book and there was nothing about it that really stood out to make it an important Christie. Peril at End House was a quick and enjoyable afternoon read that had the typical Agatha Christie switch at the end. Just when I was completely sure who the murderer was, the reveal scene at the end illustrated that I did in fact fall for the suspect who was meant to be the red herring.
I did however have a few intriguing observations that I just happened to have while reading this book.
- Inheritance is never easy: In mystery novels, which include many of Agatha's, the story deals with the fact that old, rich family members never like to make their inheritance easy to obtain. This fact occurred to me while I was reading Peril at End House despite the fact that the hidden inheritance plot twist is never used. I considered it for a brief second though when Nick discusses how a painting of her grandfather "Old Nick" almost fell on her and then starts to talk about the value of the painting. Apparently money is best hidden when transferred to a valuable stamp or stuck somewhere other than a bank or safety deposit box.
- I have learned that there is nothing quite like failure to curb your ego trip. One unique aspect of Poirot's character is the fact that he has an incredibly big head. He loves it when people recognize him as "the famous Belgian detective" and gets insulted when they haven't heard of him. Here Hastings makes reference to the fact that Poirot is not perfect and hasn't solved every case he has taken on. It directly references which case in this book, but I won't say the title here. You will just have to figure it out yourself. I have to wonder whether Christie made him fail on purpose because she hated him so much (A fact that is actually true. Agatha Christie apparently grew to dislike the detective of her own creation).
- A quote full of irony: In the book Poirot turns to Hastings and says "You have a tendency Hastings, to prefer the least likely. That, no doubt, is from reading too many detective novels. In real life, nine times out of ten, it is the most likely and the most obvious person who commits the crime." While this fact is actually true in real life, as shown by the number of wives and husbands that kill their spouses, this statement is so ironic considering the least likely person to commit the murder in this story, actually committed the murder. Not to mention that in over half of the Christie stories I have read the least obvious person commits the murder as well. If Poirot followed his own advice he would never solve any of the murders he takes on...just sayin'.