2008: 140. Elephants Can Remember


“Mrs. Oliver looked at herself in the glass.  She gave a brief, sideways look toward the clock on the mantlepiece, which she had some idea was twenty minutes slow”

Elephants Can Remember, Agatha Christie


“Old sins have long shadows.  Was the cause of death some long shadow from the past?”

This is another mystery where Poirot is called upon to solve a crime from the past a la Murder in Retrospect, and is equally entertaining (this is also another one of her books that I have read tens of times).  This saga starts when an obnoxious woman approaches the author Ariadne Oliver (the Christie stand in, who I always adore), and asks her a personal question about one of her god-daughters.  Specifically, she asks whether the girl’s mother killed her father, or her father killed her mother.  Mrs. Oliver is taken aback (that is, after all, both a damn rude and a damn odd question), and doesn’t answer, but the seed is planted in her head and after consulting with the god-daughter in question, she puts Poirot on the case.  I love the way Christie captures the half-remembered truths of years ago - the elephants of the title are the little old ladies Mrs. Oliver gossips with to try to figure out just what happened all those years ago, and the vague nature of the past and who remembers what is so well done - and then, of course, our hero is able to snap it all into place and figure out what happened all those years ago...


Date/Place Completed: 9/19/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Re-read; Agatha Christie Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017