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"The Ravenscrofts didn't seem that kind of person. They seemed well balanced and placid..." And yet, twelve years earlier, the husband had shot the wife, and then himself—or perhaps it was the other way around, since sets of both of their fingerprints were on the gun, and the gun had fallen between them. The case haunts Ariadne Oliver, who had been a friend of the couple. The famous mystery novelist desires this real-life mystery solved, and calls upon Hercule Poirot to help her do so. Poirot is now a very old man, but his mind is as nimble and as sharp as ever and can still penetrate deep into the shadows. But as Poirot and Mrs. Oliver and Superintendent Spence reopen the long-closed case, a startling discovery awaits them. And if memory serves Poirot (and it does!), crime—like history—has a tendency to repeat itself.

Topics: England, Suspenseful, Cold Cases, Murder, Death, Secrets, Suicide, Private Investigators, Female Author, British Author, Village, 20th Century, Twins, Tense, and Series

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061741524
List price: $8.99
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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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
Worst mystery ever? Worst Agatha Christie book? Worst post-modernism? Worst book about having tea with people? Spoiler: they were twins!!more
My second Christie after Crooked House. I thank her for helping me to get into the reading world. Always, hence, a good book.more
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.more
Read all 13 reviews

Reviews

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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
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.more
Worst mystery ever? Worst Agatha Christie book? Worst post-modernism? Worst book about having tea with people? Spoiler: they were twins!!more
My second Christie after Crooked House. I thank her for helping me to get into the reading world. Always, hence, a good book.more
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.more
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