Today I have a mini review of The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie.
In appearance Hercule Poirot hardly resembled an ancient Greek hero. Yet—reasoned the detective—like Hercules he had been responsible for ridding society of some of its most unpleasant monsters.
So, in the period leading up to his retirement, Poirot makes up his mind to accept just twelve more cases: his self-imposed “Labors.” Each would go down in the annals of crime as a heroic feat of deduction.
Nemean lion —
Lernean hydra —
Arcadian deer —
Erymanthian boar —
Augean stables —
Stymphalean birds —
Cretan bull —
Horses of Diomedes —
Girdle of Hyppolita —
Flock of Geryon —
Apples of the Hesperides —
Capture of Cerberus
I’ve become very well acquainted with Mr. Poirot over the last few years, but this was my third time reading up one of his short story collections. I didn’t love the first two I picked up, Poirot Investigates and Murder in the Mews, so I was a bit skeptical going into this one. I’m happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories.
In this collection, Poirot is gearing up for retirement and reflecting on his namesake, Hercules. Poirot decides to take on twelve cases that reflect the twelve labours of Hercules. In some of the stories, the tie to the labour is a bit of a stretch, but still entertaining to read about.
What I liked about this collection is that the stories follow a theme and that they’re connected. I also liked how Poirot would make random comments about the specific labour of Hercules and how people would react to him. I also liked that these stories took Poirot on quite a few travels, including one story taking place in Switzerland.
I thought the stories were clever and I liked that they didn’t feel rushed, despite their shorter length. This is a collection I’ll likely revisit if I’m looking for a short story as a palate cleanser before diving into something else. My favourite stories were Nemean Lion, Flock of Geryon, and Capture of Cerberus.