The last Poirot short left a bitter taste in my mouth. Seeing the lovely little Belgian act like such a dickhead was rather upsetting and unsatisfying. Poor Hastings deserved better.
Luckily, in this story, Poirot redeems himself. Now, instead of being an asshole, he acts like a psychotic maniac!
Shortly after taking out a new life insurance policy, the owner of Marsdon Manor turns up dead. A natural death, it seems. However, the circumstances behind his death give Poirot reason to investigate. Is there more to this case than meets the eye? If so, can the great detective solve it?
Of the mysteries covered so far, this one is the most cleanly put together. All of the clues are cleverly placed and meaningful, making it fully possible to solve the mystery before Poirot’s big reveal. Said reveal actually makes sense, as well, instead of being an overly-complicated last-minute ass-pull.
This one even has a few elements of horror mixed in there to spruce things up. It takes a bizarre turn near the end of the story, becoming more like a ghost horror movie than a murder mystery. It’s a little jarring at first, but once all is revealed, it actually makes a lot of sense and works fairly well.
My one big problem with this story is the ending. While the resolution to the mystery itself is very satisfying, the actual narrative is cut off rather abruptly. There’s no falling action, no clever or charming final line from Poirot or Hastings, no arrest or resolution in any way. Poirot explains what happened, then it just stops.
Still, the Tragedy at Marsdon Manor is still a pretty good mystery short. If you need a quick read to get your crime-solving fix, this is a strong pick. It may end abruptly, but the journey towards that end, short though it was, was very satisfying.