My mother loves Agatha Christie and I was raised on the Masterpiece Mystery broadcasts of BBC shows featuring Ms. Christie’s most famous creations, Miss Jane Marble and the admirably mustachioed Belgian, Hercule Poirot. Though, I must now confess, this was my first Poirot novel.
Rather than dig deeply into the mystery, I will remark upon something that struck me: Murder on the Links directly posits Poirot as the anti-Sherlock.
Sherlock Holmes is never mentioned, but is unsubtly referenced several times.
Near the beginning, Poirot notes that he has no knowledge of different kinds of cigarette ash nor any interest in learning the subject. In A Study in Scarlet, the first Holmes mystery, the great detective notes that he recently wrote a monograph in types of cigar ash. The contrast is made clearer when a French stand-in for Holmes, a French detective, Giraud, appears. He is deeply interested in (physically) small clues, a la Holmes. Poirot shrugs away his crawling on the ground, looking for dropped matches and cigarettes and focuses on his non-Sherlockian technique of psychological investigation into witnesses and suspects.
Of course, this is a misrepresentation of Holmes, who was as keen an observer of people’s minds and motivations as he was of physical minutiae. But it was interesting to see Ms. Christie tackle her rival head on (and also to see an example of Bloom’s theory of anxiety and influence).