Extra Nate: The Monogram Murders Book Review

It’s time for some EXTRA NATE!


Are you tired and depressed about our presidential election? Saw the debate and realized that the only thing standing between another Trump presidency was a zombie man? Realizing that this November will be a stressful and depressing endeavor and, like, maybe we don’t even deserve democracy anymore? Well come with me! Back to the good old days! That’s right, I’m talking about *checks notes* the 1930s England? I guess?

Yes that’s right. Today I’m talking about Hercule Poirot as written by someone who isn’t Agatha Christie! Evidently this is something that the estate approved as official canon. That’s cool. I would say this did a pretty good job at capturing that Poirot charm.

Looking at reviews… I’m in the minority on that one. Well some of the complaints were just that it didn’t feel like Christie. I dunno, I haven’t read as many books by her as they have, but it felt good enough. Certainly this is one of the longer mystery novels I’ve read but I never felt like it was plodding along and treading water. Another complaint I saw was that it was convoluted and I think the question I’d ask is: when has that ever stopped a mystery novel before? I’m an outsider-looking-in on this subject, but I’ve read a lot of mystery novels the past year and all of them have some convoluted “well the time of death actually didn’t happen at this time” or “he built a Rube Goldberg machine” or “they were actually dead the whole time” BS to make it hard to solve the mystery. They’re all convoluted (or most of them anyway).

So how did the story itself go? Without going into great spoilers: there are some murders that are all arranged in a very suspicious way with monogrammed cufflinks in all the victims’ mouths. There’s a lady who is overly dramatic about being hunted down (so you know she’s sketchy) and disappears for much of the story. There’s a frame-job. There’s some ancient tragedy from a decade-and-a-half that informs the current narrative. And there’s revelations. Tons and tons of revelations that slowly add to the true story and it felt very satisfying to get to that point.

I think Poirot is very well-written. Again I think I’ve only read one or two Poirot books and seen a handful of the TV show so maybe I’m spouting sacrilege here. I can agree that Catchpool is kind of a dummy. I think that’s his job though, is it not? To not reveal too much to us, the readers, and allow Poirot to have a sound board to bounce things off of? He certainly fulfills that role and makes me feel a lot smarter by comparison to himself, idiot.

Yeah overall, solid book, solid plot. I guess I have to shut up and rubric it now.


CONTENT AND IDEAS 18/20 (Grade 4.5)

It’s a stretch to say this is ORIGINAL, it’s literally not original, it’s Poirot again. But the other part of the rubric states “that leaves a lasting impact on the reader” and I would say this did that. The story was well-done and I can remember the various twists and turns easily and how each new perspective filled in the puzzle.

ORGANIZATION 15/20 (Grade 4)

I have to take off some points because most Agatha Christie novels that I’ve read are 200-300 pages. Every single page and chapter served a purpose. It was as trim as it could possibly be. This… yeah okay I can agree that maybe the pace slowed down at places to tell us the lengthy backstory from 15 years ago. That was important but it wasn’t as snappy as a normal Agatha Christie. So in that spirit I can’t give it full marks but I can say that it still has a solid pace throughout and meets the criteria of a 4 quite easily.

WORD CHOICE 15/20 (Grade 4)

It has its own distinct style. I can’t say I’m blown away by the word choice but I can say it goes above and beyond an “average” score. So here’s where I’ll put Word Choice. It was pretty good.


If you’ve already read the above review you’ll know I quite enjoyed this book. I’m interested in checking out more Agatha Christe and more faux Agatha Christie.


I already recommended this to my mom. I think I could recommend this to just about anybody.

FINAL GRADE: 88/100 (5-stars)

Nate Creed

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