Four famous sleuths-including Hercule Poirot-and four infamous criminals get together for a game of bridge-and murder. Christie at her classic best.
Mr. Shaitana is famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he is a man of whom everybody is a little afraid. So when he boasts to Hercule Poirot that he considers murder an art form, the detective has some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana’s “private collection.”
Indeed, what begins as an absorbing evening of bridge is to turn into a more dangerous game altogether.…--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The detectives on the case are Poirot, Col. Race from the Foreign Office, Sgt. Battle (THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS and THE SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY) and Ariadne Oliver, mystery writer (DEAD MAN'S FOLLY and THE PALE HORSE). The murderers include Dr. Roberts, who may have killed a patient; Col. Despard, who may have killed the husband of the woman he loved; Mrs. Lorrimar, whose husband died under 'usual circumstances' and Miss Meredith whose former employer died of an accidental poisoning.
The detectives decide to try to uncover the murderer themselves, each has their own ideas about who did it and why and each goes about the investigation in their own way. The plot takes many interesting twists and turns. Just when it appears that all has been revealed Christie gives one of her characteristic twists .
The main reason that I feel that this is a four, not a five star novel is the emphasis placed on the bridge game. As a non-bridge player I felt that there was a vital clue that I was missing even though it was right there in front of me. In fairness it is possible to solve the crime without the bridge game clues but it was still frustrating while reading the story.