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by Agatha Christie
HarperCollins, January 2004
Unabridged audiobook pages
ISBN: 0007177453

LORD EDGWARE DIES is widely regarded as among Christie's best work. Originally published in the US as THIRTEEN FOR DINNER in 1933, the book was much lauded by reviewers and became one of Christie's best-selling novels.

Hercule Poirot, perhaps the most famous fictional detective, is at his best in this case. Jane Wilkinson, the Lady Edgware, a glamorous actress, asks Poirot to intervene on her behalf with her estranged husband, Lord Edgware, who is refusing to grant her a divorce. Lady Edgware wishes to remarry and is distressed that her husband is treating her so callously.

When Poirot confronts Lord Edgware, however, he claims that he has already sent a letter agreeing to the divorce. Then, at a dinner party at which Poirot is present, Jane announces to the assembled that she intends to murder her husband if he does not consent to the divorce.

Of course Lord Edgware is found murdered shortly thereafter and all signs point to his estranged wife. Two questions emerge: Why would Lady Edgware want him dead now that he's agreed to a divorce, and how could she possibly have committed the crime when she was dining with friends at the time the murder took place?

Poirot is more than a little taken with Lady Edgware, and he sets out to prove her innocence. There are more than a few alternative suspects since nearly everyone who knew Lord Edgware despised him. Among the most prominent are his daughter, who hated him; his nephew, down on his luck, whom Lord E evicted from his home; the talented mimic Carlotta Adams, whose boyfriend has an interest in Lord E's holdings.

Red herrings abound, and the listener quickly shifts alliances as the cold light of Poirot's suspicion is directed at first one then another of the suspects. Poirot eventually identifies the murderer, but not before more people die. His insight is astonishing and the story clips along at a rapid rate, unlike some of Christie's, many of which mire in the telling and retelling of the story from different points of view. Here the listener remains glued to the CD player as Poirot unravels this complex and inventive plot.

It is a pleasure to listen as Hugh Fraser, who plays the part of Captain Hastings in the BBC-produced Christie movies, read this entertaining tale. Fans of Poirot will not be disappointed in his version of this captivating story.

Reviewed by Carroll Johnson, January 2005

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