Agatha Christie’s hero and great detective, Hercule Poirot has once again solved another murder mystery in the novel Hallowe’en Party. However, please be forewarned that this novel is not taking place at a Hallowe’en Party nor does the story have much to do with the party itself other than the fact that a thirteen year old girl named Joyce Reynolds died at the party. A child drowning while bobbing for apples is no accident and Mrs. Ariadne Oliver (Hercule’s crime/mystery writer friend who was at the party) believes it to be murder. Mrs. Oliver begs Hercule to come to Woodleigh Common (small town within the Untied Kingdom) and help uncover what really happened at the party.
With precision, wit and keen investigation Hercule Poirot interviews and questions many of the townspeople to gather additional information. This ultimately uncovers a deeper underlying current revealing people’s downfalls and secrets. Characters like Rowena Drake (hostess of the Hallowe’en party), to Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe (the deceased wealthy widower who left a Will and a codicil Will), to Olga Seminoff (the au pair who served Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe and is supposedly in the codicil Will), to Judith and Miranda Butler (mother and daughter; Miranda the best friend of deceased girl Joyce) to Michael Garfield (the landscape gardener) all the way to Leopold Reynolds (brother of Joyce Reynolds who gets murdered as well) leaves no one safe and almost anyone a suspect.
Once Poirot has deciphered all the clues and made his synopsis, he employs both his long time friends Mrs. Oliver and Superintendent Spence (a retired police officer) to catch the killer. Without a moment to loose all three devise a plan and catch the murderer stopping his vicious crimes just as he was about to strike again.
While I was disappointed that the story didn’t have much to do with Hallowe’en, I was even more disappointed at the lack of character depth and ironically felt as though the story dragged on. I feel that while Agatha Christie is the queen of mystery and that Hercule Poirot may be the greatest detective, this novel for me was walking through mud. My only perseverance to complete this murder/mystery was that I needed to know “who-done-it”. This novel’s saving grace however is the ending. The conclusion, while abrupt and not very suspenseful is also unexpected making it worth finishing but not satisfying. All in all Agatha Christie is a great writer but this is not her best work and it is not one that I would recommend. (2 stars – it was ok)