I have always loved mysteries but it took me a while to start reading Agatha Christie novels. This one is probably not one of her best – and in fact I suspect that I haven’t read her best books, since the Bournemouth library system seems primarily to hold her less popular and later titles.
The book is set in the late 1960s, and features Hercule Poirot and the mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver (who Christie wrote as a parody of herself and her writing); as well as a couple of minor characters who are described as wearing colourful velvet bell-bottoms, and who were judiciously written out of the recent television adaptation. The title, and the slight supernatural aura of the plot, is of course what drew me to purchase my copy – that, and the lovely orange pumpkin on the cover. It is one of the Harper Collins editions which all seem to be excitingly designed, thus to lure the innocent book shop browser to buy an entire colourful set.
I’m intrigued by the foreign language alternative titles of this book, as listed on the Wikipedia page – such as ‘Kurpitsajuhla’ (Finnish, meaning ‘The Pumpkin Party’); ‘Schneewittchen Party’ (German, ‘Snow White Party’); and ‘Festen for de døde’ (Danish – Wikipedia has this as meaning ‘The Eve of All Saint’s Party’ but to me it looks like the literal translation is ‘feast for the dead’ or similar; doubtless they are the same thing). I feel like these could be the inspiration for entirely new books; they conjure up completely different images in my head. Perhaps I’ll use them in a future project.