Cat Among the Pigeons
A select girls’ boarding school, Meadowbank, is the unusual setting for most of the book although some of the key action takes place in the fictional Middle-Eastern Kingdom of Ramat. As the story opens, a coup-etat is about to take place there and the young forward-looking prince Ali Yusuf, in fear of his life, is planning to flee the country taking with him some priceless gems.
First published in 1959, it is part adventure story, part murder mystery and the blend works very well. The broad canvas of international diplomacy is interwoven with the narrow confines of a typically British educational institution and the result is a very satisfying read.
There are some excellent character studies in this book, particularly among the teachers and Agatha Christie explores the tensions and petty jealousies that are bound to erupt when a number of women are in close proximity for weeks on end.
Hercule Poirot makes a fairly late appearance in this book, being summoned for help by Julia Upjohn one of the pupils at Meadowbank who makes a startling discovery. (Interestingly, Julia is the niece of Maureen Summerhayes who appears in ‘Mrs McGinty’s Dead.) As always, Poirot manages to link the apparently unconnected events in Ramat with the murderous happenings at Meadowbank and unmask the villain. (But not before examining a certain young lady’s knees!)
When I first read Cat Among the Pigeons and got to the end, I was annoyed with myself for not spotting the guilty party because in some ways he/she is a ‘typical’ Agatha Christie villain. Be that as it may, I didn’t guess whodunit so well done if you do.
You can get hold of the book via the following links.Cat Among the Pigeons