August Books 8) Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie

…it is always the facts that will not fit in that are significant.

Another of the great Poirot novels that I had not previously read, here we have a nicely classic situation of a series of killings on a tourist steamer in Egypt, with the people who might reasonably be suspected of the first murder on emotional grounds ruled out from the start; the solution depends a bit on good luck and excellent planning, and while Christie has given us the same information that she gives Poirot, it is a little implausible (though not quite as implausible as Orient Express). It is noticeable that, once again, Poirot enables an ending where natural justice rather than the Egyptian state has the last say.

It is also noticeable that, apart from one engineer, none of the steamer’s crew is even named, and the actual Egyptians are barely identified as people at all; the cast includes a stereotypical German doctor and a leftist revolutionary who is not what he seems; there are two old ladies with different embarrassing secrets; there is a slightly subdued romantic subplot involving minor characters. The Nile settings are described competently but not in detail. I am a bit surprised that this novel is quite so popular; I guess the various screen adaptations will have helped.