Agatha Christie 100 - Lord Edgware Dies

The 30s gave us lots of Poirot novels, and as that decade is Christie's best, it's no wonder that he is still regarded as her quintessential detective.

Poirot and Hastings are invited to join celebrated actress Jane Wilkinson - aka Lady Edgware - to a supper after they have all visited a performance by famed imitator Carlotta Adams, who is also invited. During this soirée, their hostess implores Poirot to help her get rid of her husband, who she says is unwilling to let her get a divorce. But soon after Poirot has visited Lord Edgware, he is found murdered at his home.

As I've now pointed out several times, the whole plot here hangs on a piece of misdirection which is simply a variation of the kind of thing Christie has been up to in her last few novels. Which means that if you read them in order, you will be very suspicious of certain characters.

But otherwise, this is a fine mystery novel, which is unfortunately hampered by a plethora of unnecessary Jew references. A huge number of characters in this novel are Jewish, and Christie for some reason sees the need to describe all their character traits as "typically Jewish".

Poirot is again fairly slow on the uptake - it is interesting that he tumbles onto the solution by a chance remark by a bit character, similar to what happened in Peril at End House. Really, Poirot, shouldn't you have had that case fresh in your memory?

A fine read, but be prepared for those unnecessary Jew remarks. It's a solid 64 out of 100. Strong, and shows how Christie was really coming into her own as a mystery writer.

1935 1940 1950
1965 1984 1985
1987 2000 2014
The Swedish title is based on the American 13 For Dinner, not the British one - 13 (Tretton) vid bordet means 13 (Thirteen) Around the Table. Again, I think the change is for the better - who cares about some anonymous Lord dying...?

The first Swedish edition has a fairly lazy cover. As for the second cover, I haven't actually been able to completely ascertain which edition it belongs to, but all evidence points to it being from 1940. It's not a particularly eye-catching cover, looking more like a P.G. Wodehouse novel than a Christie one, but at least it depicts an important scene from the book.

The one from 1950 isn't the greatest either, though I suppose it's playing up to the stereotype of actresses. Delfinseriens cover from 1965 is the one I have, and it is almost a bit spoiler-y in its cover. It's one of the least distinguished covers from this edition.

With 1984 we get one of those covers with a couple of sinister-looking(?) objects, probably inspired by the Fontana covers. These ones are drawn, however, not photographed. An adequate cover, nothing more. The 1985 cover seems inspired by the Delfinserien cover. I don't mind it - my main complaint is that there weren't more covers done in this style, and I like there to be a common style over several covers.

The Bonniers mid 80s edition got a makeover for 1987, and it's kitschy but pretty good to me. I like the use of the bloody knife as a substitute for the number 1.The 2000 cover is very similar to the one used for The Mysterious Affair at Styles the same year - a lot of china placed on a table. A more suitable subject matter for this story, I think.

After a couple of pretty good covers from the latest edition, this one from 2014 feels pretty lazy. A silhouette of a generic person with the title on top. Meh. To be honest, there's not a single standout cover here.


  1. I remember, as a relative ingenue to GAD when I read this, being pretty much swept away by the brilliance of not being able to pick between two definite suspects -- the simplicity of it was delightful, given the overwrought machinations of a lot of the modern crime thrillers I was reading at the time. This is one book I'm really looking forward to revisiting, to see how it stand up after all the other reading I've since done.

    And, while it's far from inspired, I quite like that first cover. Something about blocky text and simple colours appeals to me, probably because I do not have an artistic soul :)

    1. If so, then you will be liking quite a few more Swedish first edition covers... :)

      It's good fun returning to Christie. There are so many novels where I remember most of the important things, but in those cases it's easier to get an appreciation of what Christie does to get the reader to look elsewhere.

      But of course it's the ones I remember very little of that I look forward to most. :)

    2. I've just read Curtain -- review coming on Saturday -- and I have to say that I'm already looking forward to rereading that one... :)