Taken at the Flood is another brilliantly crafted intricate tale by Agatha Christie. Featuring our beloved Belgian detective, the book takes us into an entertaining reading journey. The book has all those elements that we generally see in Christie’s books. While the ending will not knock you down, you will definitely enjoy reading the book. At the same time, a number of readers may have some problem with the last chapter (epilogue) of this book. While this three-page epilogue does not affect the central plot in any major way, the depicted psychology of one of the characters in this epilogue might spoil the overall story for a few readers. I won’t speak about it. Read the book and make your own judgment.
The story in this book revolves around the Cloade family. Gordon Cloade, a wealthy man, promises his siblings and their spouses and children that he will always be there for them. He assures them that he will always support them financially, even after his death. Things change when he marries an attractive young widow. A few weeks after marrying, Gordon Cloade and most of his household get killed in an air raid. As a result of his unexpected death, his all wealth and estate passes to his wife. Consequently, Gordon Cloade’s other family members find themselves without any financial support as Gordon had not prepared any will after his marriage. From there on readers see an entangled web of relationships leading to a murder. This murder leads to two more murders. Yes, you are right. There is a bloodbath here. Hercule Poirot makes entry and tries to solve the mystery of these murders. The rest of the book deals with the investigation of these murders.
The book is filled with a large number of interesting characters and you take some time to get acquainted with all of these. However, once acquainted, you easily flow with the main plot. Generally, Christie’s books are plot-driven and she did not pay much attention to characters. But the same cannot be said for the book under review. On the other hand, this is one of those books where Christie did pay some attention to her characters. You can clearly see a genuine effort from her side to develop her characters. You get to know the histories, predilections, and weaknesses of a number of the characters you meet in this book.
It is a Hercule Poirot story and readers get one more chance to witness his idiosyncrasies. However, except for his brief guest appearance at the beginning of the book, we do not see Poirot in the first half of the book. The other characters take the centre stage and the story has been narrated from these characters’ point of views. But, do not worry. Poirot makes a comeback in the second half and takes the story forward. The detective Superintendent Inspector Spence, with whom Poirot will work in a number of other stories, also makes his debut in this novel. Captain Hastings, the companion of Hercule Poirot, does not make an appearance in this novel. He is generally the one who advances the action of the plot in Hercule Poirot books. Nevertheless, you as a reader do not miss his absence. The central plot of this book is good enough to keep your attention on the pages you are reading.
The story of this novel is set in the post-World War II period and throws light on the after-effects of this war. It was a period when life turned upside down in England and many things changed. This was especially true for the people who went off to war and came back. While the end of the war brought relief for the people, many people faced economic challenges after the war. All of this has been depicted in a brilliant manner in this novel.
Read the book to enjoy this entertaining and thrilling reading journey.