The Big Four - Book Review

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I am trying to read through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and write a review on each one.


The Big Four. 

A Poirot Mystery.

Shelfari Description

It is a few years after the First World War, Hercule Poirot is preparing for a voyage to South America at the behest of a wealthy American. Captain Hastings has returned from South America on business and his arrival causes Poirot to cancel his trip. Poirot has discovered the existence of four immensely powerful individuals who together plan world domination. A Chinaman, An American, A Frenchwoman and an Englishman. An investigation is in order. Fortunately, Poirot has the faithful Captain Hastings at his side as he plunges into a conspiracy of international scope -- one that would consolidate power in the deadly cabal known as "The Big Four". The book contains several chapters which are almost stand alone cases as the Big Four and Poirot, Hasting and various police forces progress towards the final outcome a year after the first contact Poirot has had with the Big Four.

My Thoughts

This is the 8th book by Agatha Christie and the 5th for her sleuth Hercule Poirot.

I read this in one day.  Started it at the hairdressers in the afternoon and then read again in the evening and then finished it in bed that night.   I really did want to read it quickly as it was holding my attention well and I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next and who Number Four was, but it also helped that I had been unwell for the four days before this and still not back to fighting fit form so I did not feel guilty about reading so much in one day.

A very different storyline to her last book The Murder of Roger Ackroyd  with this one not being about a specific murder and the household of suspects.  Instead we had different events in different locations and always the feeling of having to look over your shoulder no matter where we were.  Also the ever present threat to Poirot was part of the suspense.

Was the fact that Hastings had returned and was the narrator a great addition to this book?  For me I believe yes and for others who have not read any Poirot novels and met his friend Captain Hastings I still think yes, as I believe the narration comments he makes just endear his character to any reader.  One thing that I feel is misleading about the Shelfari description above is that Hastings did not cause Poirot to change his mind about his trip at the start of the book.

I really did not remember this book even though I know I have read it many many years ago and even though I had seen the TV adaptation about a year ago there was such a difference from the original story that I felt I was reading something completely new as I went through it.

Some parts of this book may seem a bit dated nowadays but as with all Christie mysteries the main storyline can be ageless.  But maybe we could also say that some of this book seemed even more suited to this day and age because of our world powers, wealth and prestige.

So even though it is not a straightforward murder mystery that I love from Agatha Christie you can tell by how quickly I read it that I really did enjoy it.

 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Shelfari
Books by Agatha Christie

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