Reader reviews for The Big Four

Captain Hastings and Hercule Poirot investigate several quite varied crimes only to find a common thread running through them. Before long, Poirot believes that they are up against an international cabal that calls itself "The Big Four." It is made up of a brilliant Chinese strategist, a female French scientist, a very wealthy American, and a master of disguise who calls himself, simply, Number Four. Close calls and near catastrophes abound, and even though it has taken the better part of a year, Poirot's obsession with destroying The Big Four will either be realized or will be the death of him. Literally.This book took a slightly different track to the finish than Christie's other Poirot novels. It was great fun to read, though.
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This book is great for conspiracy theorists as Poirot battles the Big Four, whose goal is world domination. its also interesting as Poirot shows his romantic side.
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A Hurcule Poirot mystery. This was not one of his better ones. I think it was written later and was an attempt to give Poirot a more challengeing foe as well as write an international spy novel. It was an enjoyable read but is not nearly as believable as most of the other Poirot novels.
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A great disappointment after the skillful and inventive The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Big Four barely holds together as a book. Indeed it may not be said to have a plot at all. Instead it is a series of vignettes that are tied together with the loosest of bindings. I presume what Christie was aiming for was a romp such as she had provided in several of her earlier books but this time with Poirot and Hastings at the center of the story. But instead of a romp she delivered a book that lacks both insight and joy with cardboard cutouts rather than characters.In many ways the most interesting thing about this book is the insight it gives into how precarious the world of the privileged middle-class seemed in the late 20s even before the stock market crash. Without doubt this book has no pretensions to realism yet at the same time it wouldn't have worked had it not played on the barely unconscious fears of the relatively monied that their world was tottering on the edge of something very frightening. All around they looked and they saw labour unrest and the overthrow of governments and they cannot believe that such things could hapen without some mastermind behind the scenes. Not, I think, because they thought that the workers had no reason to complain about anything but more because they really didn't believe that ordinary workers were capable of organizing themselves. And this book reflects the dream that if only the heads of those dread organizations could be cut off then the workers would subside back into their previous state of continual but safe discontent.
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This is a pretty silly book. Maybe we've just seen too many spy movies by now, but all my husband and I could think while we read this was, "Why didn't they just kill him?" That major blooper in the plot makes it difficult to suspend belief the rest of the time.
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Early thriller-style Poirot with Poirot and Hastings tracking down an international gang of four bent on world domination. Not as good as her character based murder mysteries but not an unpleasant diversion. All the Queens of crime try the thriller genre and they are generally their weakest works.
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Part of my mission to read all the Christie-books, this is a Poirot mystery. Here Hercule takes on a case which turns out to be of global importance. This makes this book somewhat different in style to the standard "a guy has been killed by poison in his hot chocolate" kind of story. Not one of my favourites by Christie, but still a worthwhile read.
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Poirot is up against a group of four expert criminals who attempt to lead him into a trap in their determination to cause international upheaval. Very well written and suspenseful.
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A thriller rather than a whodunnit, this adventure sets Poirot and Hastings up against a mysterious group plotting to control the world. An enjoyable read if slightly episodic in places, and an abrupt resolution which doesn't quite match the feel of the rest of the book.
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A bald and unconvincing narrative ...... and no amount of corroborative detail could help it out.I've just finished reading Agatha Christie's The Big Four. In short, don't bother.Basically, it's Poirot v. SPECTRE. My willing suspension of disbelief got hanged by the neck until dead, dead, dead. Odd, given how much I enjoyed the other Poirot novels I've read. But then, I found a hint of why on the wikipedia page on the book - it was derived from a series of short stories Christie wrote for The Sketch magazine, and that shed some light on things. In general, I find her to be a better novelist than short story writer, and it could well be that cobbling a bunch of short stories together into a novel is not going to produce her best work.Anyway, unlike most of her novels, I actually got the plot twists before they happened. And the secret lair not only had a self-destruct button, but it got used. I'll note in passing that the location isn't all that far from Reichenbach Falls, or Piz Gloria Still, by the time I was two thirds the way through the thing, I couldn't put it down until I was finished, so that part of her writing effect remained true to form.
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