Linnet Ridgeway usually found it quite easy to get what she wanted. Rich, beautiful, friendly, usually quite generous, Linnet had a great deal going for her. So when she decided that what she wanted was her closest friend's fiancé, Simon Doyle, she had little trouble taking him away from her friend and marrying him. And Linnet's now-former best friend, Jackie de Bellefort, didn't take it well at all. When Linnet and Simon went off on their honeymoon, Jackie - to be blunt - stalked them, letting them see her everywhere. Matters finally came to a head on a small tourist boat in Egypt...
And there you have the short version of Agatha Christie's excellent mystery from 1937, Death on the Nile. When the inevitable occurred on that steamer, one of the other passengers was Hercule Poirot, who could not stop the violence but could certainly explain what had happened. Death on the Nile is the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to that review by clicking here.
Agatha Christie traveled extensively in the Middle East with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, and several of her best mysteries are set in that part of the world. I'd certainly rate Death on the Nile as being among her best. The book opens with several chapters set in England, where some of the relationships are laid out for readers – we will learn how Linnet Ridgeway married Simon Doyle, its effect on Jackie de Bellefort – and we will also learn something of the other people who will wind up involved (in the second, and larger, part of the book set in Egypt) in the tragedies on the tourist steamer. Hercule Poirot is on that boat, of course, primarily for his own enjoyment as a tourist. He is happy to meet an old friend, Colonel Race, who holds some secretive government post and is pursuing a dangerous criminal who is believed to be on that boat. But when tragedy strikes, Colonel Race, asked to take over the investigation, essentially turns it over to Hercule Poirot.
And that’s all I want to say about the plot - except to point out that readers are dealing with Christie at her best. Expect to be fooled. Expect to be encouraged to jump from wrong conclusion to wrong conclusion. And expect to enjoy yourself in this well-plotted book with strong and memorable characters. Don't miss Death on the Nile.