The Hollow by Agatha Christie

The Hollow by Agatha Christie

In another complex case, Hercule Poirot is faced with a murder where all the clues and evidence seem to lead nowhere. John Christow, a Harley St doctor, is found dead at the side of a swimming pool at the countryside home of the Angkatells. His wife, Gerda, stands a few feet away, a pistol in her hand. Yet Christow’s final word is ‘Henrietta’, referring to a lover of his, also at the house.

It soon becomes clear that all the people at the house have a motive to either dislike or kill Christow. Even the next door neighbour is an actress, who was in a relationship with him fifteen years earlier. For Poirot, whose weekend retreat is nearby, it’s another case where all is not what it seems.

But amid all Christow’s lovers and Angkatell family relationships, can Poirot uncover the killer?

The build up to the murder is intricately woven by Agatha Christie, who draws as dysfunctional a set of characters as you’re likely to come across. Each one is well portrayed, with their feelings and motives sharply drawn so there is little room for doubt. It’s not easy to unravel the mystery, though the answer makes perfect sense.

While not one of the most riveting of Christie’s books, due to the focus on characterisation, it shows the originality and diversity she possessed when it came to plotting and solving complex murders.


Lucy Angkatell invited Hercule Poirot to lunch. To tease the great detective, her guests stage a mock murder beside the swimming pool. Unfortunately, the victim plays the scene for real. As his blood drips into the water, John Christow gasps one final word: ‘Henrietta’. In the confusion, a gun sinks to the bottom of the pool.

Poirot’s enquiries reveal a complex web of romantic attachments. It seems everyone in the drama is a suspect – and each a victim of love.

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