The Murder on the Links

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When millionaire P.T. Renauld is found stabbed to death on a yet-to-be-finished golf course, Poirot looks no further than the family. Where there's an enormous inheritance to be gained, there's motive ...

"The plot has peculiar complications and the reader will have to be very astute indeed if he guesses who the criminal is until the last complexity has been unravelled."

The New York Times Book Review, 1923


About this story

First released

December 1922 (serialised in Grand Magazine)

Genre

  • Murder Mystery, 
  • Detective

Formats

  • Radio Play, 
  • Novel, 
  • TV, 
  • Graphic Novel

Recurring characters

  • Poirot

Murder methods

Setting

  • France

Agatha Christie had many battles with publishers over the years about book covers.  She said of this one, “Apart from being in ugly colours, it was badly drawn, and represented, as far as I could make out, a man in pyjamas on a golf links, dying of an epileptic fit. Since the man who had been murdered had been fully dressed and stabbed with a dagger, I objected.”

Having introduced her now famous Belgian detective through the voice of the useful sidekick Captain Hastings in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, after his second appearance in a novel, Agatha Christie felt ...

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Agatha Christie had many battles with publishers over the years about book covers.  She said of this one, “Apart from being in ugly colours, it was badly drawn, and represented, as far as I could make out, a man in pyjamas on a golf links, dying of an epileptic fit. Since the man who had been murdered had been fully dressed and stabbed with a dagger, I objected.”

Having introduced her now famous Belgian detective through the voice of the useful sidekick Captain Hastings in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, after his second appearance in a novel, Agatha Christie felt that Poirot could now greet his public alone. The Murder on the Links features a useful subplot in which Hastings finally finds romance and by the end of the novel he is off to married bliss in Argentina. Hastings' appearances in Poirot's later novels are restricted to a few cases in which he participates on his periodic returns to England from Argentina without his wife.

As Laura Thompson writes in her biography, Murder on the Links was "very French." Agatha Christie had always been influenced by French crime writers (specifically, Gaston Leroux, author of The Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Phantom of the Opera) and this story shows some marked differences in tone and style from the novels published on either side of it. Poirot is in his element on this case, revealing that human nature is always repetitive. He says of the real case of the serial wife-killer George Joseph Smith: "he obeyed the common dictates of human nature, arguing that what had once succeeded would succeed again, and he paid the penalty of his lack of originality."

John Moffatt starred as Poirot in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of 1990. The novel was filmed for television with David Suchet as Poirot in 1996 and in 2003 the graphic novel adaptation was published in France by Emmanuel Proust editions. It was translated to English in 2007 and published by HarperColllins.

"She has an unusual gift of mechanical complication."

The Observer, 1923



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