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Agatha is NOT a Fan of Hipsters: Third Girl | 1966

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"It's the way girls like living now. Better than P.G.s or a hostel. The main girl takes a furnished flat, and then shares out the rent. Second girl is usually a friend. Then they find a third girl by advertising, if they don't know one." - Third Girl, p. 16

The Sum of It: 
Elderly Poirot is relaxing at home of an evening when his butler, George, comes in to let him know that there's a young lady at the door who thinks she might have killed somebody. Normally, Poirot doesn't take walk-ins at midnight, but he is intrigued so George ushers her in. Once she gets there, though, Poirot internally judges her mini-skirt and long, stringy hair and tries to get her to tell him more about this maybe-murder, but then she's like "Sorry, you're too old" (literally) and leaves. 

Given that one of Poirot's chief characteristics is vanity, he sulks about this for a good while, and eventually confesses about it to his bff Ariadne Oliver over hot chocolate, and they decide they should find out who this girl is, because she definitely seemed messed up about something, and after a description, Ariadne realizes she just met this same girl a country house, and moreover that she's the "third girl" in an apartment leased by someone else she is familiar with. 

She and Poirot spend time tracking her down, as well as her "decorative" painter boyfriend who has long hair and skinny velvet pants #HIPSTERS, constantly judging every young person they come across for their dirty appearance. All along, Poirot keeps being like "what we need is a #MURDER" because what he can't figure out is who this girl thinks she killed, exactly. Even once they find her, she seems pretty confused about it, other than a recent maybe-poisoning that happened to her stepmother. Ariadne practices her tracking skills (and gets coshed on the head in the process), Poirot mulls over the same set of facts three or four separate times without result, and they all discover the power of a good hair-do before the mystery is solved. 

The YOA Treatment: 
In this book, Agatha laments the unseemly fashion and grooming habits of the Beat Generation - at one point even referencing the Beatles - while also lamenting how out of time and fashion her own generation (rep. by Poirot, presumably) were becoming. It must have been pretty baffling for someone who grew up in the Victorian era to see kids running around with long, unstyled hair and mini-skirts. Even while she's judging it, she tries to use the lingo of the times, particularly in regards to recreational drugs of the day, allowing several characters to run through long lists of silly-sounding drug names, which feels kind of like hearing your grandmother say "jiggy" #awkward. Also, by the pacing and repetition of much of the narrative, particularly as pertains to Poirot's ongoing internal monologue as we works through the details of the crime, we start to see a bit of the weakness of some of Agatha's later works. 

Though this book isn't bad, it's a bit circular, and takes kind of too long to reach the conclusion, which in the end seems somewhat unrealistic (more so than usual), thought some critics have said that some of the more heavy-handed elements of this novel are purposeful, kind of meta-fiction. Additionally, this book made me really miss Hastings. While Ariadne Oliver has since often been inserted as a bit of a comic foil to Poirot's methodical nature, it's just not the same as the credulous and constantly misguided Hastings. I don't really know why Agatha took him away, other than the fact that we know she got quite over Poirot long before she stopped writing him, and maybe she thought getting rid of Hastings would help put a stop to him. Either way, while Poirot is of course a great creation, I think his character is most fully rounded with Hastings by his side, and his old pal is truly missed in this book. 

- E. 
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