Aug 29 2013
Although the undisputed monarch of the literary mystery world would surely be Sherlock Holmes, Poirot’s charm is the kind that tugs at the strings of your heart. With his quaint mannerisms and his ‘little grey cells’ of the brain that he is so fond of flaunting, Hercule Poirot is the antithesis of his name.
Unlike Hercules the Greek hero with mind-boggling brute strength, Christie’s Hercule is a little man, the strongest part of whose body is—yep , you’re right—the brain. His vanity, of course, is not to be underestimated either, for he cannot resist making dramatic presentations, choosing to reveal his deductions with a theatrical flourish at the end of the story.
Despite the fact that in her later years, Agatha Christie began to find Poirot an “egocentric creep”, to the reader Poirot is an adorable, comic little man, all the more endearing for his vanities. And he surely manifested miracles for his creator, making Agatha Christie one of the best selling authors of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Although stories such as Murder on the Orient Express and Adventure of the Christmas Pudding were some of Christie’s most famous works, The Labours of Hercules, would perhaps be closer to the hearts of Poirot lovers. The Labours are actually presented as an effort on Poirot’s part to create a parallel with his namesake, for he is no less the Hercules in his unleashed strength of mind!
Poirot chooses a case to represent each of the 12 labours of Hercules before he retires. The Labours make for a reading feast, being full of symbolisms, and of course deep sentiment, Poirot being a man sympathetic to sentiments. The Stymphalian Birds, The Cretan Bull and The Arcadian Deer are probably the most entertaining ones, being true to form in their shock endings, yet bursting with emotion and rich in allusions.
The most enchanting thing about Christie’s stories is that despite involving the most gruesome crimes, the stories retain a certain warmth that surely touches the hearts of the readers, enhanced by the charm radiated from ‘Papa Poirot’. Not just an indifferent nabber of criminals, he is very human in his approach, often sympathising with the accused as the situation appears.
It is no wonder then, that his “death” was a source of grief to so many!