When I took down my copy of Halloween party, to look through for this post, I found a nugget on the first page. I had forgotten about the dedication which reads ,
” To P.G. Wodehouse
whose books and stories have brightened my life for many years. Also, to show my pleasure in his having been kind enough to tell me that he enjoys MY books.”
We have here two authors who wrote in the Golden Age between the two World Wars, appreciating each others’ work.
Moving on to discuss today’s book, Halloween Party, I chose it (primarily for letter H) to talk some length about Mrs. Oliver. She is a mystery novelist who features in several of the Hercule Poirot series of books. Agatha has modelled Ariadne Oliver after herself it seems. Like Agatha, she is a tall, handsome woman, very fond of books but shy of strangers.
Mrs.Oliver ‘s sleuth in her stories is a Finn called Sven Hjerson. She finds him irritating and sometimes regrets having created him. She is stuck with him because he is very popular with her readers. Agatha herself stated once that she was tired of Poirot but similarly bore with him for the sake of his fans.
The murder in this story takes place during the course of a children’s Halloween Party at which Mrs. Oliver is an honoured guest. The thirteen year old victim, Joyce had boasted earlier that day that she had once seen a murder committed some years ago but had not known it had been murder until much later. The grown ups as well as children around her took this as boasting to impress Mrs Oliver.
Understandably, Mrs. Oliver, disturbed by this enlists the help of Hercule Poirot. Once he is on the trail, a series of so called accidents and unsolved crimes over the past several years are connected. Through painstaking inquiries which he analyses using his “little grey cells” Hercule Poirot unravels the skein of the tragedy.
Featured image credit https://images.app.goo.gl/6YiTdzLNe4Az6ta26
I was lucky to find this image. It shows the exact same cover of the copy I have from the 1970 edition.