April 2014 Book of the Month: After the Funeral

TuppenceTuppence City of London, United Kingdom
edited April 2014 in All Poirot novels
Come and join the AC Book Club as we read After the Funeral.
Not only is it the 60th anniversary since it's publication, but After the Funeral has also been selected as one of the titles being given away for World Book Night 2014, a global celebration of reading on 23rd April.

Have you read After the Funeral before? How does it compare to Poirot's other cases? Would you recommend it as a starting point for someone who hasn't read Agatha Christie before?

Post your questions, thoughts and theories below.


  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I really enjoyed it, I have read it twice, I love the fact the Tree esd in the Book, It helps Focus the mind, I wish more of the books had diagrams and I wish they all had the name of the Characters and status's in books, I love the Suchet Adaptation even though I don't like the changes, I like the MR version too but I think I am in a minority about that.
  • I really enjoyed reading After The funeral. As it's the last family/house /murders featuring Poirot. After that Third Girls and The Clocks etc have a different feel. 

    SPOILERS!!! !!!!! I know there's been some debate about the solution. Why didn't a character recognize it was Cora?  That's not something that can be easily disregarded. but I do think that if you had no contact with someone for over 20 years, had no photos, the person was prone to wear alot of make-up, Jewelry etc then maybe you wouldn't recognize them? 

    I didn't work out the killer, it was too clever. I did think the hypochondriac might be able to walk after all and killed Cora. The characters are interesting and there's a mixture of some humour and suspense. 

  • This book was one of the first Christie books I read and I found it very enjoyable. The solution was a shock and even though, as we discussed on another thread, it was somewhat unlikely it made for a fantastic ending. 
  • ianthepoetianthepoet Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
    I've just bought this book.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    As I have said before I don't think the solution is that unlikely, Most of the Characters are too self-absorbed for the solution to seem wrong the only exceptions being SPOILER! a lovely Air-head (The one who got the House) and the one who Noticed.
  • SPOILERS ! !  This is one of Agatha Christie's best novels. There is evil, and then there is evil. And the evil in this story is terrifying because of its guise of normalcy. The reader is not prepared, and even when the truth is revealed, he is still not prepared. What AC has done is to take our  attitude towards everyday reality and simply shake it up. We take our surroundings very much for granted. We are preconditioned to respond to situations in the expected manner. But what we fail to take into account, are the undercurrents of horror that we ourselves are capable of. The dark and terrible depths of he human psyche are exposed, and analyzed by Poirot in one of the most brilliant denouements of detective fiction. The' impossible' is turned not just to' possible' but also to' probable'.
  • youngmrquinyoungmrquin Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited April 2014
    Nothing much more to add in order to expand your views. The book itself is very good written and tighten in terms of plot. I also think that the dysfunctional family setting is fantasticaly presented here. All the characters seemed very real, a quality that says a lot of the book. Poirot is also excellent, and it seems clear by halfway of the book that anybody could have been the villain.
    However, I found some problems with the book. One of them is the solution, discussed in another thread. I'm sorry MissQuin and Tommy_A_Jones; no, I don't buy it even with your arguments. You touch the point at the  near end of your spoiler, MissQuin, with another problem of that solution, in terms of character development of what we had read so far.
    Other than that, pretty nice. Yes, it's a good book to start reading AC, since it's classic.
  • I think what I love most about this book is that we have a whole completely different set of circumstances here.  The "murder" is not actually a "murder."  The inherited money is not actually the motive.  The suspects are not even the suspects.  It's just another brilliant twist of AC getting us all to guess, but then throwing in the ringer at the end.  I loved it!
  • CaptainHastingsCaptainHastings Illinois, United States
    So glad After the Funeral was selected as this month's Book Club.  As luck would have it, it is my most recently read Christie.  I determined who the murderer was, but I certainly did not know how he/she did it.  I really enjoyed it because the motive was one that illustrated the plight many people must have experienced in England after WWII.  After the Funeral really served to educate me on what life was like for people in Great Britain in the 1950's.  It must have been a very humbling time when people had to pick up the pieces after fortunes were lost and hopes were dashed.  I don't want to give anything away, but if a murder is the result of motive + opportunity, it is easy to see how the murderer in After the Funeral would wish her primary victim dead and feel he/she could get away with it.  He/she just did not count on how many more misdeeds would have to be done to cover his/her tracks and Hercule Poirot's innate ability to solve the mystery no matter how well those tracks were covered.
  • tacobelltacobell Virginia, United States
    I just finished this book. I enjoyed it immensely. I did not figure out who the killer was. It is a little unbelievable but still liked the book overall.
  • Christopher_WrenChristopher_Wren Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

    I don't think, the solution is that unlikely. After all, there were only two characters at the funeral, who had seen Cora before, and even that was twenty years ago and only for a short time. Remember that Timothy wasn't at the funeral. And out of the two people, one recognised, that something was wrong.
  • CaptainHastingsCaptainHastings Illinois, United States

    Good reasoning, Christopher_Wren.  I knew who it was from a more literary and less deductive standpoint.  There really was no reason to focus on the character who turned out to be the murderer unless he/she would be the guilty party.  All of the other suspects were family members of middle-upper middle class means.  The murderer was the only working class, non-family member to receive any development.  There may have been others - butler, servants, etc., but none of them were fleshed out to any substantial degree.  With Mr./Mrs. X, we learn about his/her past, loss he/she bore, where he/she lives, where he/she will reside temporarily, etc.  All sorts of detail that would never be developed if this character were not the murderer.  I could not figure out how, but I knew the identity and could pinpoint the motive.
  • I love A.C. twists - I've come to rely on them! 
    I also love her ladylike killers. If anyone has a preconceived notion of what a killer should be like - A.C. shows you that nearly anyone can be a killer. Ladylike killers appear in Murder is Easy and A Murder is Announced. That anyone can be the killer she shows especially, to my mind, in Crooked House.
    But it really is for the human drama, and the understanding of human nature that I read A.C. As @CaptainHastings said, he learned a feel for the time in which it was written. This novel also discusses a family's reaction to death, to receiving a welcome inheritance, to the difference (is there any?) between manners and hypocracy, and the length an individual might go to achieve their dream.
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