By Sophie Hannah
Closed Casket signals the latest resurrection of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. Like Sherlock Holmes before him, death (in the aptly named Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case) failed to keep a good detective down. As with Holmes, and indeed James Bond, the Belgian sleuth has had new life breathed into him by a modern author: in this case, crime writer Sophie Hannah. Her second Poirot unleashes exactly the sort of tropes and puzzles hard-core fans have come to expect. There’s a controversial will, a country-house party and a killer waiting in the wings. The will is that of children’s author and socialite Lady Athelinda Playford, who cuts out her two children in favour of her dying secretary, Joseph Scotcher. Fearing retribution, Playford throws a party – naturally – at her house in Ireland, and invites Poirot and Scotland Yard’s Edward Catchpool as insurance. Any resemblance to And Then There Were None or Peril at End House must be purely deliberate. Hannah plays expertly on our knowledge and expectations. Like other rebooted series, there is far more character development than in the originals. You will race to the smart conclusion.