After The Funeral opens with all the requisite elements of a classical murder mystery. The family of the recently deceased Richard Abernethie are gathered in the library of his country house, Enderby Hall, for the reading of his will.
The funeral had taken place that morning, the funeral breakfast had been consumed, and the beneficiaries discover the extent of their own particular inheritance. Some are content, some disappointed but all assume that the business of the day is now complete.
Then out of the blue, Cora Lansquenet, the youngest sister of Richard Abernethie, announces, ‘Still, it’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it?’ and when everyone stares at her in amazement adds, ‘But he was murdered, wasn’t he.’
But of course, Cora had a reputation for coming out with the most outrageous statements, she never thought about what she was saying, had no tact and no sense of decorum. So everyone dismissed Cora’s outburst as nonsense, although Mr Entwhistle, the family’s solicitor, is distinctly uneasy. And then the following day, Cora herself is murdered and a whole new light is thrown upon Richard Abernethie’s death.
Mr Entwhistle fears that one of the family may be a murderer and does a little preliminary investigating himself; but then he enlists the help of Hercule Poirot and a successful solution to the mystery is assured.
After The Funeral was first published in 1953, arguably just outside Agatha Christie’s most brilliant and creative period (the 30’s and 40’s are surely when she was at her mind-blowing peak) Be that as it may, this is a fiendishly clever murder mystery and makes a gripping and satisfying read. I would be surprised if many people suss out the culprit or the motive. I certainly didn’t.
You can get hold of the book via the following links.After the Funeral
Margaret Rutherford played Miss Marple!! (where did she come from?) in a loose (very loose) version of After The Funeral which was called Murder at the Gallop. It’s a fun film, just because of Margaret Rutherford but definitely not to be taken seriously.
Murder at The Gallop Film Trailer