Every time I read another Agatha Christie book, I fall in love again with her incredible storytelling of a murder mystery, and her ability to keep me guessing until the end. Hallowe’en Party was no different.
When a Hallowe’en party turns deadly, it falls to Hercule Poirot to unmask a murderer…
During a night of party games, Joyce Reynolds boasts that she once witnessed a murder. No one believes her, but then she is found drowned, face down in an apple-bobbing tub.
Set against a night of trickery and the occult, Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver must race to uncover the real evil responsible for this ghastly murder.
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format I read it in: Hardcover
Hallowe’en Party was the inspiration for the movie “A Haunting in Venice”, although the book and the movie don’t really share much in common, except for the character’s names and the fact the murder happens on Halloween.
The murder in this book happens during a children’s Halloween Party, where a girl drowned in the tub where they bob the apples. It’s obvious that someone has murdered this girl by holding her head underwater. It also sparks a discussion, especially because the girl said something during the party preparations that may have put her in danger.
Due to the large number of people around, it’s almost impossible to tell who the culprit is, and this is where Hercule Poirot joins, agreeing to help his friend and investigate this case as a favour. The book features a lot of scenes with Poirot interviewing people that attended the party, but also the preparations for the party. The people in the town are friendly and tight-knit, but they all have something to hide, and nobody is volunteering information to a person that’s just come to town to investigate a murder.
If you loved “Murder on the Orient Express”, you will probably also enjoy “Halowe’en Party”, due to the interviewing scenes we see very often. In the book, we notice a big accent given to young people. Interestingly enough, children don’t feature a lot in Agatha’s books, but this one is definitely an exception. The adults are very dismissive of the children, their words and opinions, and they make this very known. They all dismissed what the girl said during the party preparations, because she had a reputation of exaggerating stories. This situation reminded me very much of the “boy who cried wolf”, who even Agatha mentions in the book.
Poirot, however, as always, takes everything into consideration during his investigation.
“The victim is always important”, said Poirot, “The victim, you see, is so often the cause of the crime.”
People in town are adamant that this is a deed of a young kid with mental health issues. We can notice the book is dated by the way people describe this possible culprit. There is not much hope or trust in the youth with a rough upbringing, or young people that are known to cause troubles.
“It seems to me that crimes are so often associated nowadays with the young. People who don’t really know quite what they are doing, who want silly revenges, who have an instinct for destruction. Even the people who wreck telephone boxes, or who slash the tyres of cars, do all sorts of things just to hurt people, just because they hate – not anyone in particular, but the whole world.”
There is a mention of how important and vital a child’s education is, such as below:
“One has to remember”, said Rowena Drake, “that there are young people at an age when it is vital that they should continue with their studies if they are to have the chance of doing well in life.”
Even though I agree education is extremely important for young people, I don’t think this is the only important thing. I want to say that a happy upbringing, good social circles, good environment and fair and equal opportunities are also very important for a child to find its place in the world without turning to violence. I also believe that young people who have made a mistake in the past deserve a second chance, a hand held out to them, to try and get them on the right path.
However, the town and Poirot are not that keen on mercy and second chances:
“He was a man who thought first always of justice. He was suspicious, had always been suspicious, of mercy – too much mercy, that is to say. Too much mercy, as he knew from former experience both in Belgium and this country, often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been put first and mercy second.”
The book certainly opens the door for a very good discussion on so many topics, and I always find this intriguing. Not all books make me stop for a bit and ponder, and so I always cherish the ones that do. As for the murder reveal itself, I wasn’t too surprised, but I also couldn’t guess it myself. I guessed two of the people involved in the story, due to some clues they dropped, but I couldn’t have guessed the others nor put the whole story together. I really enjoyed the mystery and I’m quite happy I got to read yet another Christie book! Huge thank you to the teams at Tandem Collective and Harper Collins for sending me the new hardcover book printed for the occasion of the movie release!
About The Author:
This best-selling author of all time wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in romance. Her books sold more than a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, people translated her works into 103 languages at least, the most for an individual author. Of the most enduring figures in crime literature, she created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She atuhored The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theater.