I recently read chapters 1 through 7 of “The London Syndicate,” at https://poirotblog.wordpress.com/ and I have to say if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie and you haven’t visited the blog Seven Storeys High, it’s a must see! I think it just might be my new favorite! But I warn you, pack a lunch, because once you start reading, you’re probably not going to want to leave your computer for a while…
Now, on to “The London Syndicate:” The first time I opened the page, I felt a bit worried…I have to be honest here, (covers face in shame) I have never read any fanfiction of any kind…gulp. I mentioned my concern to my husband, who quickly put the whole thing into perspective when he said, “Well you read that new Sophie Hannah book and liked it just fine,” – ah, my husband my Hastings! How wrong I have been! The simple fact of the matter was that I just hadn’t come across any subject matter that really appealed to me in this form – before now.
Some readers shy away from fanfiction because, frankly, we are staunchly protective of our most beloved characters, but “The London Syndicate,” in my humble opinion, could give Sophie Hannah a run for her money! In truth, were I reviewing “The Monogram Murders,” my praise would be more limited, as Poirot did not quite come to life as well for me there.
By the end of the opening paragraph of Chapter 1 of “The London Syndicate,” I was smiling…the same as I do every time Hercule Poirot steps onto the page. That says something wonderful about these stories – the little nuances and distinct character traits of Poirot really do burst forth here. Kelly Klages gives us, both in character representation and writing style in these chapters, a long missed glimpse into a world that Christie fans hold dear – simplicity, intricate plot mapping, and most of all in the game of mystery – fair play!
I will not go into the particulars of each chapter – no spoilers here folks! – Save one: In Chapter 4: A Close Shave, there is a point that did set a bit sideways with me, and I would be remiss not to mention it here. Early on in this chapter there is mention of a group of Appalachian folk musicians in regard to “plebeian fancies.” This goes to show how many different people from different places we get to interact with online, as I happen to have been born and raised in West Virginia, right in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Aside from being a writer and an Agatha Christie fan, I have also been a country and folk music singer and songwriter all of my life…even my dad plays in a bluegrass band – plebeian indeed!! I happen to know some fiddle players that could make smoke fly from Alexei Dimitri’s Stradivarius!
Of course this is all in good fun! I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 4, although my experience with musicians made it easier for me to spot the solution. I also have to admit to a bit of disappointment when Poirot didn’t actually interact with any bona fide hillbillies directly – THAT would have made my day!
In short, if you are a Poirot fan and your “little grey cells” are yearning for puzzles to solve, “The London Syndicate” will not disappoint! I find myself anxiously waiting on the next installment!