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Mr. Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host, but he was a man of whome everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Hercule Poirot that he considered murder and art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether ...

Topics: England, Murder, Private Investigators, Female Author, British Author, Games, Death, Police, Suspenseful, Crime, Women Detectives, Scotland Yard, 20th Century, Third Person Narration, 1930s, and Series

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061740039
List price: $8.99
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Only four suspects, who could it be?

This is one of Dame Agatha's books where she adeptly uses the narrative trick, as she's never used it before. You'd think that from four suspects you could easily pick out who did it. I guessed, and rationalized, because I really want to point out the murderer for once for Pete's sake, but that old woman, she kept on throwing ploys at me.

And I enjoyed being bamboozled. Cheers for this novel!more
An enjoyable Hercule Poirot mystery with an unusual setup: four potential sleuths, four potential murderers, all in the room together when their host dies. All four sleuths are characters Christie has used before or will use again, and three - Hercule Poirot, Superintendent Battle, and Ariadne Oliver - star in books of their own. If Christie didn't write it yourself, you might almost think it was an homage.Almost all of the detection here simply involves the different protagonists going around and, in their own ways, getting information from the suspects - a fairly passive investigation, but Christie keeps it crisp and interesting. Everyone has an individual character, with special note for Mrs. Oliver, a very funny self-mockery of Christie herself. She and Poirot don't share an awful lot of dialogue together, but that's for later (far later) novels. The one big criticism is that it ends quite suddenly - the denoument having occurred in a very exciting way, mind, with a couple of big bluffs. And then the book just stops, on a rather tedious, jokey note. It needed at least one more chapter just to wrap it all up.Still - a pleasantly entertaining book, somewhat untrumpeted amongst Christie's successes of the 1930s.more
I enjoyed the Poirot I read recently and picked up another from the selection in the local library. This is classic Christie. She creates a field of suspects for a murder that is only four people wide, and then proceeds to show how they all have a motive, they all have opportunity etc. It's all quite neat. In a way it's very formulaic but that's not a problem. It's very entertaining having each suspect built up as the murderer and then played down again; and then there are four separate mysteries investigated as each suspect's background is looked into. The ending piles layers of misdirection on top of each other - honestly, I already can't remember who actually did it. It doesn't really matter, it's just fun to read.more
There’s not much to say about Cards on the Table, for it is nothing else than perfect detective fiction featuring one of the most famous private detectives there ever was: Hercule Poirot. This time Poirot has to deal with a twisted murder case that happens right under his nose with all the possible subjects gathered at the same bridge party of crazy Mr. Shaitana. With no physical clue to go on, Poirot has to make extensive use of his little grey cells to finally reveal the murder and his hidden secrets from his dark past.Compared to classics like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Murder on the Orient Express, the plot could have been a bit more crisp in the beginning of the inquiries – but soon after that the story comes up with twists, twists and – again: twists. The ingenuity of Hercule Poirot is again proven to be singular - for even when Poirot seems to be mistaken, he is still right in the end. Impossible?…not for Poirot.p.s. I think knowing the bridge rules really helps experiencing the atmosphere of the novel a lot – sadly I never played for myselfmore
After art collector and noted party host Mr. Shaitana boasts to Hercule Poirot that he collects successful murderers, Shaitana arranges a party to show off his collection. He balances four suspects with four sleuths: Poirot, Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard (introduced in The Secret of Chimneys), Colonel Race of the intelligence service (introduced in The Man in the Brown Suit), and mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (introduced in some of Christie's short stories). As the guests prepare to leave, Shaitana is found dead in his chair. Murdered, of course. Which one of Shaitana's four collected murderers committed the crime while the other three were absorbed in a bridge game?It was fun to experience several of Christie's sleuths in the same novel. Mrs. Oliver turned out to be a delightful foil for Poirot. As a whole, I think I prefer the Poirot novels that include Mrs. Oliver. She livens things up. For me, the one negative aspect of the book is its extensive focus on bridge. I'm not a bridge player, and the detailed descriptions of the bridge game lost me. I enjoyed the story a lot more once the focus moved beyond the bridge game to other aspects of the crime.I listened to the audio version read by Hugh Fraser, who played Hastings in the British television series. His style is well-suited to the Poirot books. Warmly recommended.more
Originally published: 1936In Chapter 3 of THE ABC MURDERS (1935), Hercule Poirot describes to Captain Hastings the kind of crime he would most like to investigate:Four people in a room are playing bridge, while a fifth reads in a chair by the fire. At the end of the evening, it is discovered that the man by the fire has been killed. No one has been in or out of the room, and murderer must have been one of the four players while he or she was dummy.This is the very scenario Christie explores in CARDS ON THE TABLE.Mr. Shaitana, a collector in more ways than one, invites eight people to dinner. Four of them are sleuths whom readers of Agatha Christie novels have already met: Superintendent Battle, Hercule Poirot, Ariadne Oliver, and Colonel Race. The other four are, Shaitana has previously confided to Poirot, all successful, hitherto undetected, murderers. Shaitana appears to be doing his best to frighten them. After dinner, during which methods of murder are discussed and explored, the party divides into 2 bridge tables. Mr Shaitana does not play. The sleuths are given a table in an adjoining room, while Shaitana and the "murderers" are in the same room, he sitting by the fire. At the end of the night Shaitana is discovered to be dead, stabbed with a small dagger from his collection.The "murderers" are Dr. Roberts, Mrs Lorrimer, Major Despard, and Miss Meredith. In the bridge game they are partnered so that they are women vs. men.After the discovery of the murder Superintendent Battle takes charge and consults with his fellow sleuths. They then interview the other 4 guests, but it is not clear who had motive or opportunity.This is a very tightly constructed novel, regarded by some as among Agatha Christie's best.In the foreword to CARDS ON THE TABLE she comments"There is an idea prevalent that a detective story is rather like a big race - a number of starters - likely horses and jockeys. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice!' The favourite is by common consent the opposite of a favourite on the race-course. In other words he is likely to be a complete outsider! Spot the least likely person to have committed the crime and in nine times out of ten your task is finished. Since I do not want my faithful readers to fling away this book in disgust, I prefer to warn them beforehand that this is not that kind of book. There are only four starters and any one of them, given the right circumstances, might have committed the crime."This idea of the probable murderer being an outsider is voiced again during the novel by at least two characters.Agatha Christie also tells us that this was one of Hercule Poirot's favourite cases. Predictably, Captain Hastings, who plays no role in it at all, considered it very dull. Poirot saw it as a case that exercised all of his deductive skills. He has already warned Mr Shaitana that his hobby might be a very dangerous one, and so it proves. Hercule Poirot says he was "a man of great vanity. He was also a stupid man - that is why he is dead." Poirot is not best pleased that the murder has taken place under his very nose so to speak.Mrs Oliver refuses at first to believe that any of the bridge players are murderers - "they are too nice" - and then she says the women could not have stabbed Shaitana.Superintendent Battle points out that "murderers look and behave very much like everybody else." Mrs Oliver constantly flits from one suspect to another and does a great deal to muddy the investigation. She brings up the horse race analogy again, suggesting each sleuth investigate one person. Superintendent Battle says he can't do that - he is obliged to investigate them all equally.Another interesting aspect - Mrs Oliver points out that not only do they have four sleuths, they all come from different backgrounds - Scotland Yard, the Secret Service, a private investigator, a crime fiction writer.This is a very enjoyable read, designed to make the reader exercise "the little grey cells" and to consider who solves the mystery best - the steady methodical working of Superintendent Battle, the psychological considerations of Hercule Poirot or the intuition of Ariadne Oliver.more
Cards on the Table was an exemplary Poirot mystery. I really liked the introduction where she explains how there is none of the 'pick the least likely character' aspect to figure out the killer. Four bridge players, four suspects, one killer. Outstandingmore
I have been reading a number of bridge-related mysteries lately, and so far this is the best of the lot. M. Poirot is invited to an evening of dinner and bridge, at which the host is murdered. He works with the police but also with the other guests to identify the killer. I'm not a huge fan of Poirot--it's hard to think along with him, because he reveals so little--but he does a nice job of using the players' bridge techniques to characterize the players, and actually makes use of what was going on during the game to solve the puzzle.more
With typical Agatha Christie style and humor, Cards On the Table, featuring Hercule Pirot along with other sleuths she made famous, stands out as one of her best puzzles. The idea of putting four murders, four sleuths and one instigator, makes for a very interesting evening of bridge, and it’s conclusion of murder comes as no surprise. What I did find surprising was the outcome, as the four sleuths work through each suspect. Of course, it is down to Hercule Poirot to come up with the answer. I felt very much like the wonderful, tongue-in-cheek novelist, Ariadne Oliver, and at different times suspected everyone.I think this is one of her best mysteries and I enjoyed every minute of it.more
3* If you are an Agatha Christie fan, this is yet another of her murder mysteries which Monsieur Hercule Poirot - to the amazement of all around - solves.more
This is the second novel that features Colonel Race but we really don’t learn anything new about him in this story. He is one of four "detectives” invited to a party where the host promises to have four other guests who have gotten away with committing murder without ever being suspected of the crime. The other three “detectives” are Superintendent Battle (his 3rd appearance), Ariadne Oliver (2nd appearance) and Hercule Poirot (13th appearance). After dinner the guests play bridge with the four “murderers” in one room where the host sits by the fire and the four detectives in another room. Guess what happens! This is a case where Poirot uses “psychology” to reach the solution and I will confess that not only did I enjoy it but I did not figure out the solution before the “reveal”.more
This was an excellent one featuring Monsieur Poirot and Ariadne Oliver. The murder takes place at the home of Mr Shaitana. While a bridge game is going on, someone murders Mr. Shaitana, but why? I liked that there were 4 murder experts and 4 suspects. Very entertaining read.more
Having never read an Agatha Christie mystery before, I was not sure what to expect going into Cards on the Table. I quickly discovered Christie's reputation is well-deserved. Cards on the Table has a gripping premise from the beginning. The enigmatic Mr. Shaitan invites the incomparable Hercule Poirot to an evening gathering. Upon arrival, it doesn't take long for Poirot to deduce the nature of the gathering. Four of the guests are sleuths of some variety or another, including an army Colonel, a Superintendent of Scotland Yard, Poirot himself, and a famed mystery writer. And the other four guests? It is soon revealed they are murderers who have gotten away with their crimes. For his disturbing sense of humor, Shaitan is rewarded with a knife in the chest at the beginning of the novel. Four sleuths matched up against four suspects, the latter all known to be capable of murder. And the mystery is underway! Despite the unlikely circumstance of the murder, Christie pulls it off brilliantlyInevitably, my thoughts as I read this book drifted to a comparison between Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. As a huge fan of Holmes, I was surprised by how well Poirot stacked up. Poirot is almost Holmes's opposite. Whereas Holmes relies on evidence, Poirot has a more psychological mind. Whereas Holmes operates outside of the law, Poirot works with and respects the police. Indeed, in Christie's world the police are competent and skilled. Superintendent Battle, a character from other Christie novels, does as much sleuthing as Poirot. I was able to appreciate Poirot for the unique character he is. It helped that Christie gave a few appreciative nods to Doyle's character at a couple of points.The mystery itself is relatively mundane. Christie is relying on her ability at characterization to hold the interest of the reader. It is a successful gamble. Each character is interesting in his or her own way. What helped the book greatly was Christie's especially brilliant tongue-in-cheek character Mrs. Oliver. A mystery writer of great fame, Mrs. Oliver inserts herself into the police investigation and proceeds to pronounce every suspect as most certainly the killer at one point or another. Christie uses Oliver to make fun of herself throughout the book. Yet Christie doesn't overdo it, Mrs. Oliver is no buffoon (at least not completely). She contributes in her own way to the solving of the case.This isn't a perfect novel. Without a working knowledge of the card game bridge, it isn't easy to follow some of Poirot's psychological analysis. The very end of the novel also takes a few turns too many in my opinion. Some of the content I would consider bordering on racist. But overall, this is a fun mystery novel and from what I understand, it isn't even considered one of Christie's best.more
Another entertaining Poirot – I found it absolutely fascinating to read, especially by the way that Poirot deducts the murderer by asking questions about what they remembered of the room that evening and how their bridge game went. I have seen the TV film of this one but it didn’t ruin it for me at all. Agatha Christie has a great way with words, and makes the story seem so alive and kept me engaged the whole way through. I got halfway and couldn’t put it down!Mrs Oliver, the author, was great fun to read, too, which didn’t let the book get too ‘heavy.’ But just as you think you know who the murderer is, there’s a great twist at the end! I also liked how my copy had copies of their bridge cards, that Poirot talks about throughout the story; I don’t understand card games at all but I thought it was a nice touch. It made the story seem a lot more ‘real.’more
I thought I had this figured out early, but I was wrong! I listened to this (a "radio play" version, really), and I find the BBC productions of Christie's books to be quite charming. If you need something to pass a couple of hours, I recommend them. This is the first Poirot I've listened to, and I think I prefer Miss Marple -- Poirot's accent takes some getting used to.more
Superb. Mr Shaitana hints to Poirot that he collects murderers who got away with it and invites Poirot and three other 'experts', Battle, Race and Mrs Olover to dinner with four people who may already have murdered someone. When Shaitana is killed Poirot and the others experts must discover which of the other four is definitely a killer. Just when you think you know who the murderer is you discover you actually don't. All this plus Christie's sort of alter ego, Mrs Oliver, wonderful!more
The setup: Clever Mr. Shaitana invites four suspected murderers and four detectives to dinner to watch them squirm. Unfortunately, he's not clever to figure out that this sets him up for murder. Now it's up to Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Colonel Race, and Mrs. Oliver to figure out which murderer committed the murder.It's fun to see the different perspectives from Christie's detectives, and there is, as usual, much reliance placed on the psychology of crime rather than physical evidence. One of the bigger clues, though, involves a game of bridge the suspects were playing at the time of the murder so if, like me, you don't know anything about bridge you'll just have to wait for Poirot to explain it. But it's a clever mystery that shouldn't be passed over if you're a fan of Christie's work.more
A murder in a locked room. The psychological crime. on my lit of top A.C. novels. Brilliant beyond belief.more
Excellent Christie. A nice departure from her more formulaic books.more
This was a pretty good mystery from Agatha Christie. Both Battle and Poirot were major charactors in it. I was hard trying to figure out who did it because there was 3 murderers in the book and 4 murders. Who did what and why was an interest task to keep straight. Poirot of course saves the day once more with the method and his little grey cells.more
A fun mystery by which I was thoroughly mislead. A nice easy read with interesting characters.more
Excellent and quick read.more
Make a nice hot comfy pot of tea and enjoy matching wits with Poirot and Ms. Oliver all the while enjoying a marvelous whodunit! Ms. Christie's books never disappoint!
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Read all 26 reviews

Reviews

Only four suspects, who could it be?

This is one of Dame Agatha's books where she adeptly uses the narrative trick, as she's never used it before. You'd think that from four suspects you could easily pick out who did it. I guessed, and rationalized, because I really want to point out the murderer for once for Pete's sake, but that old woman, she kept on throwing ploys at me.

And I enjoyed being bamboozled. Cheers for this novel!more
An enjoyable Hercule Poirot mystery with an unusual setup: four potential sleuths, four potential murderers, all in the room together when their host dies. All four sleuths are characters Christie has used before or will use again, and three - Hercule Poirot, Superintendent Battle, and Ariadne Oliver - star in books of their own. If Christie didn't write it yourself, you might almost think it was an homage.Almost all of the detection here simply involves the different protagonists going around and, in their own ways, getting information from the suspects - a fairly passive investigation, but Christie keeps it crisp and interesting. Everyone has an individual character, with special note for Mrs. Oliver, a very funny self-mockery of Christie herself. She and Poirot don't share an awful lot of dialogue together, but that's for later (far later) novels. The one big criticism is that it ends quite suddenly - the denoument having occurred in a very exciting way, mind, with a couple of big bluffs. And then the book just stops, on a rather tedious, jokey note. It needed at least one more chapter just to wrap it all up.Still - a pleasantly entertaining book, somewhat untrumpeted amongst Christie's successes of the 1930s.more
I enjoyed the Poirot I read recently and picked up another from the selection in the local library. This is classic Christie. She creates a field of suspects for a murder that is only four people wide, and then proceeds to show how they all have a motive, they all have opportunity etc. It's all quite neat. In a way it's very formulaic but that's not a problem. It's very entertaining having each suspect built up as the murderer and then played down again; and then there are four separate mysteries investigated as each suspect's background is looked into. The ending piles layers of misdirection on top of each other - honestly, I already can't remember who actually did it. It doesn't really matter, it's just fun to read.more
There’s not much to say about Cards on the Table, for it is nothing else than perfect detective fiction featuring one of the most famous private detectives there ever was: Hercule Poirot. This time Poirot has to deal with a twisted murder case that happens right under his nose with all the possible subjects gathered at the same bridge party of crazy Mr. Shaitana. With no physical clue to go on, Poirot has to make extensive use of his little grey cells to finally reveal the murder and his hidden secrets from his dark past.Compared to classics like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Murder on the Orient Express, the plot could have been a bit more crisp in the beginning of the inquiries – but soon after that the story comes up with twists, twists and – again: twists. The ingenuity of Hercule Poirot is again proven to be singular - for even when Poirot seems to be mistaken, he is still right in the end. Impossible?…not for Poirot.p.s. I think knowing the bridge rules really helps experiencing the atmosphere of the novel a lot – sadly I never played for myselfmore
After art collector and noted party host Mr. Shaitana boasts to Hercule Poirot that he collects successful murderers, Shaitana arranges a party to show off his collection. He balances four suspects with four sleuths: Poirot, Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard (introduced in The Secret of Chimneys), Colonel Race of the intelligence service (introduced in The Man in the Brown Suit), and mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (introduced in some of Christie's short stories). As the guests prepare to leave, Shaitana is found dead in his chair. Murdered, of course. Which one of Shaitana's four collected murderers committed the crime while the other three were absorbed in a bridge game?It was fun to experience several of Christie's sleuths in the same novel. Mrs. Oliver turned out to be a delightful foil for Poirot. As a whole, I think I prefer the Poirot novels that include Mrs. Oliver. She livens things up. For me, the one negative aspect of the book is its extensive focus on bridge. I'm not a bridge player, and the detailed descriptions of the bridge game lost me. I enjoyed the story a lot more once the focus moved beyond the bridge game to other aspects of the crime.I listened to the audio version read by Hugh Fraser, who played Hastings in the British television series. His style is well-suited to the Poirot books. Warmly recommended.more
Originally published: 1936In Chapter 3 of THE ABC MURDERS (1935), Hercule Poirot describes to Captain Hastings the kind of crime he would most like to investigate:Four people in a room are playing bridge, while a fifth reads in a chair by the fire. At the end of the evening, it is discovered that the man by the fire has been killed. No one has been in or out of the room, and murderer must have been one of the four players while he or she was dummy.This is the very scenario Christie explores in CARDS ON THE TABLE.Mr. Shaitana, a collector in more ways than one, invites eight people to dinner. Four of them are sleuths whom readers of Agatha Christie novels have already met: Superintendent Battle, Hercule Poirot, Ariadne Oliver, and Colonel Race. The other four are, Shaitana has previously confided to Poirot, all successful, hitherto undetected, murderers. Shaitana appears to be doing his best to frighten them. After dinner, during which methods of murder are discussed and explored, the party divides into 2 bridge tables. Mr Shaitana does not play. The sleuths are given a table in an adjoining room, while Shaitana and the "murderers" are in the same room, he sitting by the fire. At the end of the night Shaitana is discovered to be dead, stabbed with a small dagger from his collection.The "murderers" are Dr. Roberts, Mrs Lorrimer, Major Despard, and Miss Meredith. In the bridge game they are partnered so that they are women vs. men.After the discovery of the murder Superintendent Battle takes charge and consults with his fellow sleuths. They then interview the other 4 guests, but it is not clear who had motive or opportunity.This is a very tightly constructed novel, regarded by some as among Agatha Christie's best.In the foreword to CARDS ON THE TABLE she comments"There is an idea prevalent that a detective story is rather like a big race - a number of starters - likely horses and jockeys. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice!' The favourite is by common consent the opposite of a favourite on the race-course. In other words he is likely to be a complete outsider! Spot the least likely person to have committed the crime and in nine times out of ten your task is finished. Since I do not want my faithful readers to fling away this book in disgust, I prefer to warn them beforehand that this is not that kind of book. There are only four starters and any one of them, given the right circumstances, might have committed the crime."This idea of the probable murderer being an outsider is voiced again during the novel by at least two characters.Agatha Christie also tells us that this was one of Hercule Poirot's favourite cases. Predictably, Captain Hastings, who plays no role in it at all, considered it very dull. Poirot saw it as a case that exercised all of his deductive skills. He has already warned Mr Shaitana that his hobby might be a very dangerous one, and so it proves. Hercule Poirot says he was "a man of great vanity. He was also a stupid man - that is why he is dead." Poirot is not best pleased that the murder has taken place under his very nose so to speak.Mrs Oliver refuses at first to believe that any of the bridge players are murderers - "they are too nice" - and then she says the women could not have stabbed Shaitana.Superintendent Battle points out that "murderers look and behave very much like everybody else." Mrs Oliver constantly flits from one suspect to another and does a great deal to muddy the investigation. She brings up the horse race analogy again, suggesting each sleuth investigate one person. Superintendent Battle says he can't do that - he is obliged to investigate them all equally.Another interesting aspect - Mrs Oliver points out that not only do they have four sleuths, they all come from different backgrounds - Scotland Yard, the Secret Service, a private investigator, a crime fiction writer.This is a very enjoyable read, designed to make the reader exercise "the little grey cells" and to consider who solves the mystery best - the steady methodical working of Superintendent Battle, the psychological considerations of Hercule Poirot or the intuition of Ariadne Oliver.more
Cards on the Table was an exemplary Poirot mystery. I really liked the introduction where she explains how there is none of the 'pick the least likely character' aspect to figure out the killer. Four bridge players, four suspects, one killer. Outstandingmore
I have been reading a number of bridge-related mysteries lately, and so far this is the best of the lot. M. Poirot is invited to an evening of dinner and bridge, at which the host is murdered. He works with the police but also with the other guests to identify the killer. I'm not a huge fan of Poirot--it's hard to think along with him, because he reveals so little--but he does a nice job of using the players' bridge techniques to characterize the players, and actually makes use of what was going on during the game to solve the puzzle.more
With typical Agatha Christie style and humor, Cards On the Table, featuring Hercule Pirot along with other sleuths she made famous, stands out as one of her best puzzles. The idea of putting four murders, four sleuths and one instigator, makes for a very interesting evening of bridge, and it’s conclusion of murder comes as no surprise. What I did find surprising was the outcome, as the four sleuths work through each suspect. Of course, it is down to Hercule Poirot to come up with the answer. I felt very much like the wonderful, tongue-in-cheek novelist, Ariadne Oliver, and at different times suspected everyone.I think this is one of her best mysteries and I enjoyed every minute of it.more
3* If you are an Agatha Christie fan, this is yet another of her murder mysteries which Monsieur Hercule Poirot - to the amazement of all around - solves.more
This is the second novel that features Colonel Race but we really don’t learn anything new about him in this story. He is one of four "detectives” invited to a party where the host promises to have four other guests who have gotten away with committing murder without ever being suspected of the crime. The other three “detectives” are Superintendent Battle (his 3rd appearance), Ariadne Oliver (2nd appearance) and Hercule Poirot (13th appearance). After dinner the guests play bridge with the four “murderers” in one room where the host sits by the fire and the four detectives in another room. Guess what happens! This is a case where Poirot uses “psychology” to reach the solution and I will confess that not only did I enjoy it but I did not figure out the solution before the “reveal”.more
This was an excellent one featuring Monsieur Poirot and Ariadne Oliver. The murder takes place at the home of Mr Shaitana. While a bridge game is going on, someone murders Mr. Shaitana, but why? I liked that there were 4 murder experts and 4 suspects. Very entertaining read.more
Having never read an Agatha Christie mystery before, I was not sure what to expect going into Cards on the Table. I quickly discovered Christie's reputation is well-deserved. Cards on the Table has a gripping premise from the beginning. The enigmatic Mr. Shaitan invites the incomparable Hercule Poirot to an evening gathering. Upon arrival, it doesn't take long for Poirot to deduce the nature of the gathering. Four of the guests are sleuths of some variety or another, including an army Colonel, a Superintendent of Scotland Yard, Poirot himself, and a famed mystery writer. And the other four guests? It is soon revealed they are murderers who have gotten away with their crimes. For his disturbing sense of humor, Shaitan is rewarded with a knife in the chest at the beginning of the novel. Four sleuths matched up against four suspects, the latter all known to be capable of murder. And the mystery is underway! Despite the unlikely circumstance of the murder, Christie pulls it off brilliantlyInevitably, my thoughts as I read this book drifted to a comparison between Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. As a huge fan of Holmes, I was surprised by how well Poirot stacked up. Poirot is almost Holmes's opposite. Whereas Holmes relies on evidence, Poirot has a more psychological mind. Whereas Holmes operates outside of the law, Poirot works with and respects the police. Indeed, in Christie's world the police are competent and skilled. Superintendent Battle, a character from other Christie novels, does as much sleuthing as Poirot. I was able to appreciate Poirot for the unique character he is. It helped that Christie gave a few appreciative nods to Doyle's character at a couple of points.The mystery itself is relatively mundane. Christie is relying on her ability at characterization to hold the interest of the reader. It is a successful gamble. Each character is interesting in his or her own way. What helped the book greatly was Christie's especially brilliant tongue-in-cheek character Mrs. Oliver. A mystery writer of great fame, Mrs. Oliver inserts herself into the police investigation and proceeds to pronounce every suspect as most certainly the killer at one point or another. Christie uses Oliver to make fun of herself throughout the book. Yet Christie doesn't overdo it, Mrs. Oliver is no buffoon (at least not completely). She contributes in her own way to the solving of the case.This isn't a perfect novel. Without a working knowledge of the card game bridge, it isn't easy to follow some of Poirot's psychological analysis. The very end of the novel also takes a few turns too many in my opinion. Some of the content I would consider bordering on racist. But overall, this is a fun mystery novel and from what I understand, it isn't even considered one of Christie's best.more
Another entertaining Poirot – I found it absolutely fascinating to read, especially by the way that Poirot deducts the murderer by asking questions about what they remembered of the room that evening and how their bridge game went. I have seen the TV film of this one but it didn’t ruin it for me at all. Agatha Christie has a great way with words, and makes the story seem so alive and kept me engaged the whole way through. I got halfway and couldn’t put it down!Mrs Oliver, the author, was great fun to read, too, which didn’t let the book get too ‘heavy.’ But just as you think you know who the murderer is, there’s a great twist at the end! I also liked how my copy had copies of their bridge cards, that Poirot talks about throughout the story; I don’t understand card games at all but I thought it was a nice touch. It made the story seem a lot more ‘real.’more
I thought I had this figured out early, but I was wrong! I listened to this (a "radio play" version, really), and I find the BBC productions of Christie's books to be quite charming. If you need something to pass a couple of hours, I recommend them. This is the first Poirot I've listened to, and I think I prefer Miss Marple -- Poirot's accent takes some getting used to.more
Superb. Mr Shaitana hints to Poirot that he collects murderers who got away with it and invites Poirot and three other 'experts', Battle, Race and Mrs Olover to dinner with four people who may already have murdered someone. When Shaitana is killed Poirot and the others experts must discover which of the other four is definitely a killer. Just when you think you know who the murderer is you discover you actually don't. All this plus Christie's sort of alter ego, Mrs Oliver, wonderful!more
The setup: Clever Mr. Shaitana invites four suspected murderers and four detectives to dinner to watch them squirm. Unfortunately, he's not clever to figure out that this sets him up for murder. Now it's up to Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Colonel Race, and Mrs. Oliver to figure out which murderer committed the murder.It's fun to see the different perspectives from Christie's detectives, and there is, as usual, much reliance placed on the psychology of crime rather than physical evidence. One of the bigger clues, though, involves a game of bridge the suspects were playing at the time of the murder so if, like me, you don't know anything about bridge you'll just have to wait for Poirot to explain it. But it's a clever mystery that shouldn't be passed over if you're a fan of Christie's work.more
A murder in a locked room. The psychological crime. on my lit of top A.C. novels. Brilliant beyond belief.more
Excellent Christie. A nice departure from her more formulaic books.more
This was a pretty good mystery from Agatha Christie. Both Battle and Poirot were major charactors in it. I was hard trying to figure out who did it because there was 3 murderers in the book and 4 murders. Who did what and why was an interest task to keep straight. Poirot of course saves the day once more with the method and his little grey cells.more
A fun mystery by which I was thoroughly mislead. A nice easy read with interesting characters.more
Excellent and quick read.more
Make a nice hot comfy pot of tea and enjoy matching wits with Poirot and Ms. Oliver all the while enjoying a marvelous whodunit! Ms. Christie's books never disappoint!
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