An eccentric rich guy called Mr Shaitana whose features were described as Mephistophelean ha ha dear Mrs Christie, very funny was a collector To topple his own eccentricity one fateful day he decided to collect perfect impossible to prove murders So he threw a party inviting four different people who committed such murders it was not said directly, but it was strongly implied and four investigators from different parts of investigating business They were Mrs Ariadne Oliver a writer of detective novels, on her later , Superintendent Battle police , Col Race secret service , and Hercule Poirot private detective All of these four people have their own series this is an example of Agatha Christie doing crossover yet again While the last four were playing Bridge in a room the first quartet with the host was doing the same in another room What follows is exactly the plot Hercule Poirot described in The A.B.C Murders when Hastings asked him what would be an impossible to solve perfect murder One of the four stick a knife into the host while others were busy playing cards Anybody who played for anything other than candy wrappers knows that during play situations often arise when nobody sees anything other than the table and cards At this point it is possible to remove all the furniture from the room except for the aforementioned table with nobody noticing So one of the four was afraid that his her past crime would be disclosed and suspecting only the host knew about it struck when nobody was looking Which one It was practically impossible to figure out Luckily Hercule Poirot was present He obviously became interested and eventually solved the crime starting with noting at all except the Bridge score list By the way my limited knowledge of the game I entertain the idea of starting playing it when I retire was enough to take a note of one irregularity which attracted Poirot attention as well Of all the characters Mrs Ariadne Oliver deserves a special attention This is her first, but not the last appearance I am convinced the Dame of Mystery wrote this character after herself I am sure I am not the only one I do not know if Mrs Christie loved apples the way Mrs Oliver did, but other parallels are clearly visible Mrs Oliver most famous private investigator was a Finn She mentioned she was tired of explaining the choice of his nationality it just happened I am willing to bet any money Agatha Christie was asked about the choice of Poirot s nationality countless number of times I am also sure her reasoning for selecting it was similar In case I did not make it clear this was the best demonstration of Poirot s knowledge of human psychology in the absence of any clues he had to use it in his investigation Add interesting characters in addition to Mrs Oliver, Superintendent Battle was if not genius then at least very capable in his investigations The result is a great 4 star mystery. The idea is brilliant The beginning is quite orthodox Also this is unique novel because all four of Christie s creations Ariadne Oliver, Col Race, Poirot and Superintendent Battle join hands to solve the murder There is reference to a book Body in the library which Agatha later used for Miss Marple mystery The plot is unique and investigation depends on the psychological profiling than any other solid clue From the beginning we know that the murderer is from among the four suspects and yet there is no clear clue Interesting read
I m done It feels like I am finishing books up so slowly lately June wasn t a strong reading month.Thanks to Hercule Poirot, it ended well the Belgian detective dominates the story from start to finish That may sound like it s something needless to say, but Agatha Christie did tend to have some Poirot books where the beloved detective didn t even show up until the second half or toward the end In this case we open up with him at a party and end with him entertaining survivors.The story was fascinating While it wasn t her strongest mystery, who cares because I loved the general concept Poirot was invited along with three other detectives of sorts one mystery novelists, a Scotland Yard Detective, etc to have dinner with four murderers who had gotten away with it When the party host is found dead in front of all the guests, they had four suspects Blending the past murders with the present was interesting enough, but it was the time Christie took to dig into various motivations and personality traits that was the actual winner here Sometimes her story takes so much focus that characters play mere backdrop counterparts, but in this case the paper people are individually drawn and convincingly motivated.It may not be the most exciting in her library, but so far it s one of my many favorites The story speeds by and it stays intriguing from start to finish The ending line was just hilarious too have to love the people who dare to tease the detective. Cards on the Table, Poirot 15 Real life s a bit different, said Scotland Yard Superintendent Battle I know, said mystery novelist Mrs Oliver Badly constructed I could make a better murder any day than anything real I m never at a loss for a plot Not a household name, Cards on the Table, yet it has things to recommend it First, it involves a first time introduction by Agatha Christie, speaking for Hercule Poirot as a real person, whose case we will read as one of his favorites The core of this case is the murder of a mysterious foreign always exoticizing the other, this Christie snuff box collector, a Mr Shaitana who organizes a bridge party to exhibit yet another collection of murderers four people he knows who have committed murderers and gotten away with it Shaitana also invites Scotland Yard Superintendent Battle, Colonel Race of the Secret Service, Ariadne Oliver, a famed mystery novelist, and Hercule Poirot, a semi retired Belgian detective It is impossible not to give oneself away unless one never opens one s mouth Speech is the deadliest of revealers Poirot The presumption is that between the four of these latter types we will see who is the best sleuth, and though we already know the answer to this one, the four actually work together pretty well Battle in particular is a than able participant in the solution to the crime, not a joke like former Poirot sidekick Hastings, and I like this arrangement better It s less insulting to the Scotland Yard That the mystery novelist Oliver is also in the hunt is a kind of joke Christie plays on herself in a homey, self deprecating way She s the comic relief in the story, and sort of a star of the show, a really memorable character.Shaitana is killed with a knife during the bridge game, so it is clear one of the invited murderers wait was that a good idea, inviting four murders to dinner, or not have done him in Poirot s primarily psychological analysis the mind at times can see clearly than the heart focuses on bridge moves, the extent to which each suspect recalls items in the room, and the past did the suspects actually kill someone, and if so, how People reveal who they are to Poirot, and they rarely surprise him, finally, after he figures them out Logic rules You will not figure this one out, but if you want to stay close to a solution, pay attention to what Poirot pays attention to, and largely ignore the rest The rest isn t boring, but it is a fair number of pages you know are not completely relevant, of course, but necessary detective work One feature of this one is that a confession takes place roughly fifty pages from the end 250 pages into it , a confession I completely buy, but that is just the beginning of a series of crazy surprises and pretty ingenious reversals This is a pretty average Christie tale, for the most part, but the way it turns out reveals that average for Christie is spectacular for most mystery writers I might nitpick that it goes on too long as they will often do, but in the end, mais oui Some interesting features Shaitana is referred to as Mephistophelean by several characters, with his flair for the dramatic As is often the case characters are racist about Jews, but here Dagos are in for their share of abuse But white men Colonel Race dismisses Major Despard of suspicion He s a white man, Battle Incapable of murder, you mean Incapable of what I d call murder, yes by which he means justifiable homicide isn t murder, and white men usually have perfectly good reasons for killing people This is Race s racist view, not necessarily Christie s view Writer Oliver, at the apparent moment of Poirot s revelation of the murderer Least likely person It seems to work out in real life just the same as in books and later, when she sees it is now someone else, she says, quite untruthfully, I always said he did it Fun times, 3.5, rounded up to 4 for the last, 5 starred, fifty pages, for the puzzle maker non pareil Funny and head shakingly clever And I had never even heard of this one In this classic mystery, Poirot is invited to a dinner party with a difference by the slightly unsavoury Mr Shaitana a rich man addicted to parties and gossip He wants Poirot to come to dinner to meet his exhibits murderers who he claims have got away with it Although Poirot finds his hobby dangerous he agrees, leading to a dinner party with four sleuths Poirot himself, Colonel Race, who works for the Secret Service, Superintendent Battle from Scotland Yard and our old friend the detective writer Ariadne Oliver and four possible murderers the cheerful Dr Roberts, the explorer Major Despard, serious bridge player Mrs Lorrimer and the young and nervous Miss Anne Meredith After dinner the guests play bridge, while Mr Shaitana dozes by the fire and, during the evening, he is murdered.This murder leads to our four sleuths pooling information in trying to discover who could have killed the host in full view of everybody and also looking into their backgrounds to see which of them, if any, were really guilty of murder Christie was a keen bridge player and, although you may think this makes the book dry, she is careful to only use the card game as a small part of the story The real fun is in the uncovering of secrets, as all the guests at the dinner party meet up and discuss what happened Although Mrs Oliver uncovers some great clues, it is M Poirot and his little grey cells that reign supreme and solves the mystery of what happened First published in 1936, this is Christie at her best which is better than any other crime writer there has ever been. I m so torn on this book On the one hand, how often can you say that you have four yes, four of Dame Agatha Christie s sleuths in one book On the other hand, the task they take on turns out to be a bit thin at least at first.A cruel globetrotter and art collector named Mr Shaitana gathers eight people for a party In hindsight, it turns out that he has invited four sleuths no less than Hercule Poirot, ditzy mystery writer Ariadne Oliver Scotland Yard s finest, Inspector Battle, and spy troubleshooter for the Empire, Colonel Race Shaitana has also gathered four people he believed to be people who had gotten away with murder One of them commits yet another murder, poisoning Shaitana with a shirt stud Yes, I had to look it up, too That means that Shaitana s murderer has to be bridge wizard Mrs Lorimer, successful Dr Roberts, big game hunter Major Despard, or pretty sweet young thing Anne Meredith.Dame Agatha had a bee in her bonnet about being able to detect a murderer based on the psychological profiles of the various suspects, and she explores that idea in this 1936 novel Perhaps, in this day of FBI profilers, other readers will think Dame Agatha was ahead of her time however, to me, it seems like a faddish idea like eugenics or John Harvey Kellogg s crackpot health regimen that seem crazy a century later I was all ready to slap a three star maybe even two star review on Cards on the Table and rank it second only to The Big Four in awfulness.But curse you, Dame Agatha two thirds of the way in, she deviates from this crackpottery and delivers enough twists and turns for a rollercoaster She really knows how to surprise and beguile her readers So I ll ignore the tediousness of the middle of this novel and award four stars to the grand dame of the Golden Age, who managed to rescue and elevate this novel.