The Murder on the Links

  • Hercule Poirot
  • Novel
  • 1923

An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.

But why is the dead man wearing his son’s overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse.

Mon ami, two people rarely see the same thing.

Hercule Poirot, The Murder on the Links

More about this story

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.

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

As Laura Thompson writes in her biography of Christie's life, 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 Harper Collins.

Did you know?

  1. The Murder on the Links was Agatha Christie's third book.

  2. According to the game show Jeopardy!, The Murder on the Links contains the first known usage of the phrase "the scene of the crime."

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