Dumb Witness, Paperback Book

Dumb Witness Paperback

Part of the Poirot series

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


An elderly spinster has been poisoned in her country home...Everyone blamed Emily's accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier.

But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her.On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot.

Mysteriously he didn't receive the letter until June 28th... by which time Emily was already dead...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic crime
  • ISBN: 9780007120796

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Agatha Christie began writing the Hercule Poirot mysteries in 1920. Captain Hastings narrated many of the short stories Agatha Christie wrote about Poirot and by 1937, when Dumb Witness was published, Agatha Christie had also written 15 novels in which Poirot appeared. In 7 of the novels Captain Hastings is once again the narrator and friend that accompanies Poirot on his cases. But then after Dumb Witness, for the next 38 years and more than 20 books that Christie wrote about Poirot, Captain Hastings does not appear again until the final book, Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (1975).Hercule Poirot is not an easy man to be friends with and even Captain Hastings becomes irritated with him from time to time. But when all is said and done, Captain Hastings is the only friend that Poirot ever had and as such, Dumb Witness holds a somewhat sentimental place for those that have read a lot of the Poirot mysteries. Many of the things that made all the Poirot/Hastings books special are in this one – Poirot makes fun of Hastings for not seeing what Poirot sees; Hastings becoming frustrated with Poirot for not playing fair when he eavesdrops on suspects or tells lies to get them to give him information, etc. But the thing that Dumb Witness has - as all the previous books have had that Poirot and Hastings appear in together- is that throughout the book it is clear that both men like each other and are truly friends.In the same year that Dumb Witness was published, so was Death on the Nile. Captain Hastings does not appear in that book and the difference is obvious. In Dumb Witness, the reader only sees the story through Captain Hastings eyes. But in Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie has multiple angles that she can tell the story from – not just from Captain Hastings view point. Christie’s ability to add different layers to the story increases and Death on the Nile is a more textured, less claustrophobic story. The mystery in Dumb Witness is a good one and is well told. The interactions between Poirot and Hastings are very good and the plot line and Poirot’s unraveling of the stories that each of the suspects tells is also very believable. The story does bog down with so much talking at times and all of the human characters are somewhat hard to like. The best of the human characters that Christie has in the story, the woman that is killed, is dead before Poirot even gets to the scene of the crime so she is not available to keep all the other characters interesting. The most interesting character in the book is the dumb witness –Bob the “frisky terrier” - that was the murdered woman’s dog. He and Captain Hastings quickly become friends and Hastings can hear what Bob is saying. These encounters are funny and add to the book.Agatha Christie was a dog lover and even dedicated this book to her own dog, Peter. It is only fitting that as Ms. Christie says goodbye to Captain Hastings for what would be 38 years that at the end of Dumb Witness she would have Poirot give Hastings the dog Bob to be his new friend.By letting Hastings go, Agatha Christie gained the ability to tell her stories the way she felt suited her best. But even as Agatha became tired of Poirot in later years (even was quoted as saying he was a “….tiresome, ego-centric little creep”) Captain Hastings never stopped supporting his friend and being someone Poirot could depend on. When it came time to solve his final case, Poirot called for his friend to come and help him and Arthur Hastings came and helped his friend Poirot - as he always had.

Review by

I liked this book. As long as you are willing to ignore Hastings (idiot), it's a good little mystery.

Review by

Very entertaining entry in the Poirot series. Just when you think you have gone through all possible Poirot story lines, Agatha Christie always manages to squeenze in an original one.<br/><br/>In `dumb witness', Poirot investigates a seemingly perfectly natural death of an old lady leaving her extraordinary wealth to her companion, as such disinheriting her family.<br/><br/>Very intriguing plot and again a very nice insight in the upper class society of the interbellum Great Britain.