First published in 1938 as Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, and in 1939 as Murder for Christmas by Agatha Christie. Avon Books changed the title to A Holiday For Murder in 1947. This copy: Bantam Books mass market paperback 1976, and also shown, the William Murrow trade paperback, 2011. A Hercule Poirot mystery.
It’s Christmastime in a big old rambling country house. The entire family is gathered at the request – really an order – of the ailing octogenarian head of the family. There’s a lot of money at stake. What could be a better setting for a classic holiday murder mystery? Why, Hercule Poirot’s involvement, of course.
Simeon Lee called his sons and their wives together on Christmas Eve and told them he was drawing up a new will. The old man was worth millions, more than enough to tempt any of the family, most of whom were disgruntled with the old man in some way, to think of murder, especially if this new will would disadvantage them.
Arthur, long suffering sin living in the house, would love to have his life back. Harry, black sheep of the Lee family, always managed to get plenty of money out of his father, but wanted more. David admitted he despised his father, but claimed he didn’t care about the money. Pilar, Simeon’s beautiful granddaughter, was
Shortly after the family had finished their dinner, a blood-chilling scream came from the old man’s bedroom. Simeon Lee had been brutally murdered. For the visiting Hercule Poirot, it was time to put his little grey cells to work.
A good choice for the season. Unlike most of her books, I saw the solution to this one coming, but this is still an entertaining entry in the Poirot canon. Worth your time.
I’m pretty sure that when I read this in the early ’70s, it was under the A HOLIDAY FOR MURDER title. If you have a perfect title like HERCULE POIROT’S CHRISTMAS, why change it?
Publishers do like to change titles, and the UK vs. US titles are always a puzzle to me.
Great minds think alike! Here’s my review of this book: http://georgekelley.org/forgotten-books-hercule-poirots-christmas-by-agatha-christie/
I guess I’d forgotten that one, George. Between us we had 5 different covers.
You have no idea how many times I’ve purchased books with different covers. It’s an old marketing trick!
I read this one two or three years ago at Christmas. Not my favorite Hercule Poirot book, but I always like old mysteries where the rich head of the family gathers people together.
I’m in agreement with you, Tracy. I’d heard this was one of the best and most intricately plotted of the Poirot novels, but I didn’t find it so. Still, Christie is nearly always entertaining.