I decided to go on a bit of a Christie jag. I bought her first four books and set about reading them with this one, her first. It was supposedly written on a dare from a friend who said, after Christie lamented about how bad a mystery novel was, that Christie couldn't write a mystery novel. Well, she does and she basically sets a template that still stands all these years later. The book is a little stagy; she isn't quite the writer she would be later. But she does sprinkle in some fine comedy, courtesy of our narrator, the arrogant, pompous Captain Hastings. And Hercule Poirot is a wonder; reading this novel, it’s kind of no surprise that he became the detective she wrote about the most. He really pops off the page. The mystery isn't brilliant, but it's good enough to make this a better than average debut. It's good. Recommended if you're interested. 3 stars
tl;dr - overly stagy and Christie’s prose isn’t as good as it would become, but her first novel has surprising wit and a genuinely surprising solution. 3 stars.