Review: Dumb Witness

Published Categorised as Writings, Book Reviews

Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Agatha Christie, as usual, weaves a good tale. This one is unusual as a dog is one of the characters and even has a speaking part. For a dog lover, it’s a great addition to the normal all-human mystery plot.

I had early on in my rereading of Dumb Witness remembered who the murderer was, but I couldn’t remember the exact reason. Oh, the obvious one was there; but the underlying motivation, the driving emotion, now that continued to elude me right until the end. Knowing who the murderer was, I looked for clues all through the book. But Christie was particularly ingenious in this Poirot mystery. Nothing stood out; no detail except one clearly pointed the reader to whodunnit. Instead her clues came in the words she used, which she did with impressive skill. She would use words in crucial scenes that had two meanings, and Christie relied on context — given by the particularly dumb but entertaining narrator Captain Hastings — and the dominant meaning of the word to fool the reader. Clever. As a writer, I wonder how much work it took to get the diction just right or if she had a good instinct for it?

Light yet full of hidden meaning, Dumb Witness is one of Christie’s more enjoyable Poirot mysteries.

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