‘The Chocolate Box’ by Agatha Christie

The Chocolate Box by Agatha Christie, 1923

The magic trick:

Putting the detective in the role of listener

“The Chocolate Box” feels more like classic Agatha Christie than most of the other stories in the Poirot Investigates collection. It’s more complex. There are more suspects. More potential motives. And as a result, it’s more interesting. The best part is the reveal. Whereas Poirot usually gets the glory and tells the cast who the guilty party is, this time Poirot is placed in a listening role. And that’s quite a trick on Christie’s part.

The selection:

I wonder, my friend (continued Poirot), whether you can possibly figure to yourself the difficulties of my task? Here was a man whose death had taken place three days previously. If there had been foul play, only one possibility was admittable  – poison! And I had no chance of seeing the body, and there was no possibility of examining, or analyzing, any medium in which the poison could have been administered. There were no clues, false or otherwise, to consider. Had the man been poisoned? Had he died a natural death? I, Hercule Poirot, with nothing to help me, had to decide.

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