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Elephants Can Remember: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Elephants Can Remember: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Hugh Fraser


Elephants Can Remember: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by Hugh Fraser

ratings:
4/5 (72 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062229786
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

A classic Hercule Poirot investigation, Agatha Christie's Elephants Can Remember has the expert detective delving into an unsolved crime from the past involving the strange death of a husband and wife.

Hercule Poirot stood on the clifftop. Here, many years earlier, there had been a fatal accident followed by the grisly discovery of two bodies—a husband and wife who had been shot dead.

But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder? Poirot delves into the past and discovers that "old sins leave long shadows."

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062229786
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976, after a prolific career spanning six decades.

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Reviews

What people think about Elephants Can Remember

3.9
72 ratings / 27 Reviews
What did you think?
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Hercule Poirot must dig deep into the past to solve a crime (or was it?) over a decade old.I don't think this is the best story Christie wrote, but it suited me at the moment. It is quite repetitive, sentimental at the end, not a difficult mystery to solve, and the timeline and people involved are confusing. Yet somehow it was still a comfort read because I enjoy spending time with Mrs. Oliver and Hercule Poirot.
  • (3/5)
    I did & I didn't.... Endless prattling supposition for the purpose of confounding the reader not only bores me, but annoys the hell out of me.Mrs. Ariadne Oliver attends a Literary Luncheon where she is guest speaker. After the luncheon she is accosted by a nasty woman who insists that Mrs. Oliver look into the deaths of Mrs. Oliver's goddaughter Celia's parents, an apparent double suicide to determine exactly whom shot whom.... for the purpose of determining the possible mental health of Ceila who is long-time childhood friends with the woman's adopted son.Ceila's aunt, her mother's twin, has long been in & out of mental institutions for murdering young male children...Celia was away in Switzerland when her parents died, but there were others in the house, now elderly & retired ( Elephants) who remember bits & pieces of what went on.M. Poirot is brought into the investigation for his relationship w/ the police.I pretty figured out what actually happened, but not the overly sentimental & pseudo-romantic reasoning (which ruined the ending for me).
  • (3/5)
    Another good Poirot book and it featured Ariadne Oliver, whom I always enjoy. This time she enlists Poirot's help in looking into an old crime that happened to her godchild's parents. The exciting part for me was that while I didn't have all the details/motives, I did figure out the general gist of what happened before Poirot explained it to me!
  • (5/5)
    Ah Poirot! He teams up yet again with mystery authoress Mrs. Oliver to solve a years-old mystery, and does it admirably. Entertaining.
  • (3/5)
    Poirot's objective in this book is to uncover the truth of a crime that happened in the past. By asking questions and using his usual process of thinking, Poirot discovers the truth in the crime.

    While not predictable from the beginning, I found this book to be the only one of Christie's that I've read so far that I've been able to guess the ending of. Still a good mystery and the answers that everyone seek are not what they expect.
  • (4/5)
    A classic little stroll through Poirot-land, with Mrs. Oliver leading the way through a re-investigation of an old suicide. I guessed way before the end what the situation had been and was rewarded by a precise confirmation, but it was a fun read.
  • (4/5)
    The story begins with Hercule Poirot's writer-friend, Ariadne Oliver, attending a literary luncheon. A woman approaches Mrs Oliver to ask her about the parents of Ariadne's god-daughter Celia Ravenscroft. She wants to know which of Celia's parents killed the other.Ariadne Oliver takes the problem to her old friend Hercule Poirot who ferrets out the answer.He thinks it is a problem worth solving and so they both begin their own line of enquiry. Mrs Oliver tracks down old friends who might remember the incident at the time, and Poirot consults some professionals, in particular ex-Superintendent Spence and Mr Goby.The novel explores the nature of collective memory, particularly when some people are under the impression they've learnt facts, but in actual fact what they "know" is hearsay, second hand information. And little by little Poirot uncovers what actually happened.I don't really think I have read this novel before, but I actually managed to solve the puzzle a little ahead of Poirot. It is a mystery tinged with romance, a teasing out of the nature of love. I think Christie was desperate to get some ideas across, like whether a woman was likely to kill her husband and then kill herself.In terms of her writing life, this is the second last novel that Christie ever wrote. I was particularly interested to find out whether she still had her writing powers. Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976) was after all 82 years old when this was published. It is the last Poirot she wrote (although not the last published).For the most part the novel is well plotted and the characters are interestingly drawn. But the ending is a bit flat, almost like an amateur theatrical performance where the actors wave their goodbyes.
  • (2/5)
    A Poirot mystery rather spoiled by lengthy ramblings from a friend of his (a crime writer). Clever plot with unexpected twists, but too rambling and long-winded for my tastes.
  • (3/5)
    A whole investigation only to find out at the end that one person had the entire story and was willing to tell anyone that would listen. Frankly disappointing. The only redeemable features are Poirot and Olivier's eccentricities.
  • (3/5)
    Not the best of Agatha Christie, by a long shot, but still . . . it's an Agatha Christie, with the cozy trademark feel, and the quirky character of Ariadne Oliver, not to mention Poirot. Enjoy it for what it is--a lesser work by a great mystery writer--that's what I did.
  • (3/5)
    And even if they can't, Poirot will recall the small details that explain it all. Being about memory and written with a relatively smaller vocabulary (compared to her other books), this book makes it look as though Christie may have been suffering from some memory issues herself when she wrote this...
  • (1/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    In which Mrs. Oliver uncovers a long-dead murder, and Poirot sets out to solve it.

    The worst of the Poirot novels. There is a distinct drop in vocabulary and grammatical variety, consistent with old-age, in Christie’s final novels, and here she babbles on at length, reminiscing about things that have no bearing on the plot whatsoever. In fact, very little makes sense. The murder mystery isn’t wholly unbearable but it’s submerged beneath all of this silliness. Amazingly, even the usually reliable pairing of Poirot and Ariadne Oliver can’t salvage this. Mrs. Oliver had begun as a wry commentary on Agatha Christie’s own career, and had been utilised several times as a dynamic character – combining her love of amateur detectives with her gift for characters who could unsettle the exacting Poirot – and as a commentator on crime fiction as a genre. Here, she’s just a surrogate for the bemused Christie, still writing this Belgian detective decades after she tired of him. Unlike Arthur Conan Doyle, Christie considered her role as a storyteller to be more important than any kind of dispute with a fictional character, so refused to let go. Perhaps she should have.

    "Elephants" hasn’t been adapted by the David Suchet series, but if – God willing – the show returns for more, we should expect an adaptation. Good luck to them.

    Poirot ranking: 38th out of 38

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This is the worse of Mrs. Christie’s book I have read—and I love her books. Three or four chapters through the book I started wondering if Agatha Christie wrote it during a period of crisis in her life; or maybe she was considering quitting writing or was tired of Hercule Poirot… (Conan Doyle comes to mind!) I wonder what was going on in her life at that specific time. The dialogues are endlessly long and often times boring, repetitive, wooden. Poirot has very little of his charm—it comes back spasmodically, erratically. And the constant reference to elephants drove me nuts! Ariadne is the same from other books, but just way more long dialogues to her—more like monologues—when Poirot just injects a few monosyllables. It was relatively easy to extricate the plot at one point, but it was quite intelligent nevertheless.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    2.5 StarsThis is not Christie's best work. Here she teams two memorable characters – Hercule Poirot and Mrs Ariadne Oliver to investigate a decades-old mystery. Did General Ravenscroft kill his wife and them himself, or did Lady Ravenscroft shoot her husband before committing suicide? Their daughter wants some answers, and she asks her godmother, Mrs Oliver, to try to find the truth for her. The audio version is narrated quite capably by John Moffatt.I have a hardback of this book (because of my elephant collection), but I don’t remember ever reading it before.
  • (3/5)
    If you have read a lot of Agatha Christie, you will know that it is usually the portly Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who does all of the sleuthing but in this particular cold case, his good friend and celebrated author Ariadne Oliver takes charge. Some nosey old biddy comes up to Ariadne at a literary luncheon and starts asking about an apparent double suicide that occurred decades ago.I’m personally not sure what to think about this book. Ariadne Oliver has always been a fun character; I assume she is a parody of the author Agatha Christie in real life. Her character was certainly the best part of the novel; the other characters seemed dull and very much the same as one another. Even Poirot himself (his dialogue at least) was beginning to blend in to the cast of elderly British ladies present. He seemed to have lost his usual foreign mannerisms that make him so unique.As well as the characters, I’m also in two minds about the plot. Initially I was taken in as with every other Christie novel but around halfway through I worked out the remainder of the plot completely (don’t let this put you off Christie novels, this is the first and probably the only time I’ve worked out the solution by myself). However, I was nearly shaken from my theory once or twice by a few of those red herrings Christie is famous for.Overall, I would say that this is a sub-par Christie. The characters were a little dull, the plot was unusually simple and Poirot seemed to morph into an old woman. However, the atmosphere, if a little subdued, was still there and Ariadne’s role in the story was, as always, good fun. Recommended for completists and dedicated Agatha Christie fans.
  • (2/5)
    A trivial effort by Agatha Christie. The solution was obvious about halfway through the book and the young lovers were tedious. Mrs. Oliver, an elderly writer of successful mystery novels brings the mystery and Hercule Poirot together. The book is improved somewhat by Mrs. Oliver's reflections on life as a mystery writer and by some of the interviews that she conducts. It was written in the 1970s and refers to pop stars and long hair.
  • (4/5)
    I am on an Agatha Christie run right now. This book is a Hercule Poirot mystery. This is a story of a woman,Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, that is approached while at a literary luncheon by some one unknown to her, Mrs. Burton-Cox, about Mrs. Oliver's goddaughter's parents deaths fifteen years earlier. Mrs. Burton-Cox is curious to learn the truth about the murder/suicide of Celia Ravenscroft's parents.This was a different type of mystery that was interesting to follow. You already know who the victims are you are just trying to learn who was killed first. Who was the actual person to murder and then commit suicide. Mrs. Burton-Cox is concerned because her son and Celia are planning to get married. She doesn't want her son marrying some one who may decide to kill her son. As the story progresses you start to feel that there is an underlying reason for Mrs. Burton-Cox's true concerns.
  • (2/5)
    I adore Christie, but this book sadly shows a loss of her trademark wit. The reader who is new to Agatha Christie should steer away from this one until they have read her earlier works.
  • (3/5)
    Slightly confused plot which again has Poirot investigating a past incident - here a potential double suicide, or murder/suicide - in the hope of finding out just what happened, which, of course, he does. Mrs Oliver ably assists.
  • (2/5)
    When Mrs Oliver's god-daughter needs to know whether her father killed her mother or her mother killed her father, Poirot must investigate the 20-year-earlier deaths of the couple. Just enough misdirection to make the story interesting, although it seems to be more about Mrs Oliver and her work and relationships than it does about the mystery itself.
  • (2/5)
    Elephants Can Remember is a sad read. It's not just that the subject matter of this very late Poirot/Ariadne Oliver novel is so inherently tragic, it's more the spectacle of the decline of Agatha Christie's skills as a writer displayed on page after page. It's like watching Muhammed Ali at the end of his boxing career -- all the old sparkle and snap are gone, and you'd rather it all had ended in a more dignified way.I'll not belabor this review with a laundry list of this book's faults, other than to say that it's remarkably repetitious, and that the dialog is very bad indeed. Even the inimitable Poirot loses his voice here; he sounds more like an aging upper class British lady than a Belgian private eye.The one point I can recommend is that at least this novel improves at about two-thirds of the way through. If you can bear with it that far, at least a shadow of Christie's former brilliance is in evidence.Recommended only to Christie fans looking to complete their tour of the corpus.
  • (3/5)
    I was intrigued by this case, and I had some idea of who the killer or killers were by the end. It is definitely one of the classic Poirot mysteries.
  • (3/5)
    This was a case where Poirot gets to dive into the past for his friend Mrs. Oliver. Mrs Oliver is approached by an 'Odious' women and asked about a event that had happened many years ago, wanting to know some specific insider information. Mrs Oliver is loath to give the woman any help in the matter but her interest is piqued and so she asks her friend Hercules Poirot for a hand in the matter.I wasn't real impressed with this one, it seemed that it went into many long rambling parts that could have been a little shorter. This is also possible that I have been reading to many Agatha Christie's of late and need to move on to someone else for awhile. Overall not bad, good clues and a fun read.
  • (4/5)
    It's an interesting subgenre of the English mystery, where the protagonist must uncover clues to solve a mystery or murder that happened in the past. ("Long past?" asked Scrooge. "No," returned the ghost. "Your past.") Generally it relates to the present-day characters - other examples might be Ambler's Coffin For Demetrios or Sayers' Nine Tailors - but really historical mysteries come along occasionally too. It's generally not a particularly thrilling genre, but sometimes the past does prefer not to be unburied and comes buzzing back for revenge on its tormentors. Not in Elephants, though - it's a quiet little read with a peaceful puzzle. But yes, the identical twin sisters are a bit hackneyed even for 1972.
  • (1/5)
    Worst mystery ever? Worst Agatha Christie book? Worst post-modernism? Worst book about having tea with people? Spoiler: they were twins!!
  • (3/5)
    My second Christie after Crooked House. I thank her for helping me to get into the reading world. Always, hence, a good book.
  • (4/5)
    A late work from Christie, among her very last. As a mystery the work is perfectly fine. In style it lacks the glamour and panache that characterize her works from the 30s and 40s.