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Cat Among The Pigeons: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – Jun 6 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (June 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073792
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The classic 1959 Christie tale is revisited in this utterly charming and intriguing murder mystery in which two teachers find the body of the new games' mistress in the gymnasium, the latest victim of the so-called cat killer. Though not a predominant character for most of the tale, Christie's legendary Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. Hugh Fraser relates this tale with classic English charm, speaking with a pitch-perfect and ear-pleasing dialect that adds to the atmosphere. Fraser reads with sheer delight, offering a fun variety of characters, including a marvelous take on Poirot himself. The experience created is truly cinematic and listeners will be giddy with delight! (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

“I am addicted to Agatha Christie.” (Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author)

“To read Agatha Christie at her best is to experience the rarefied pleasure of watching a faultless technician at work, and she is in top form in Cat Among the Pigeons.” (New York Times)

“Immensely enjoyable.” (Daily Express (London))

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This 1959 novel begins in a fictional mideastern country. The country is on the brink of revolution, the young prince is planning his escape he entrusts the family fortune in gems to his closest friend to smuggle out of the country. Arrangements are made shortly before the two young men are killed.
Meanwhile, back in England it is the beginning of the summer term at Meadowlands, an exclusive girls' school. Students and staff from all over the world are there, including a princess from the mideast whose cousin/fiance has just been killed. The famous gems have also found there way there. Various unusual occurances begin to take place at the school, strange visitors, unusual behavior among the staff and then murder and kidnapping.
One of the students uncovers part of the secret and decides that she needs outside help so she contacts Hercule Poirot. Poirot, of course, resolves the mysteries both large and small that have been plaguing the school.
There are more characters introduced in this novel than is usual in Christie's work which makes this one of the more challenging of her work to figure out. There are several subplots woven into the action that things confusing as well. This is a departure from Christie's usual 'cozy' stories of village life or house parties. It is more of a thriller than her usual work, some of her most sympathetic characters are killed and Poirot only appears at the end of the novel. Even so it is a very enjoyable mystery and one of my personal favorites.
We are also treated to an update on the Summerhills, old friends from a previous book, MRS. McGINTY'S DEAD. Mrs. Summerhill is a friend of one of the students' parents. Poirot is delighted to hear that although Mrs. Summerhill's house is still disorganized and her cooking is generally deplorable she makes wonderful omelets, a skill that she learned from him.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An English pilot for a Middle Eastern ruling prince just managed to hide a fabulous fortune in gems somewhere in his sister's room, just before the prince was overthrown in a revolution. The unsuspecting sister returned to England with her daughter, just in time for the girl to start in Meadowbanks, an élite girls school, where a female cousin (& fiance) of the deposed prince, was also arranged to attend.
Several interested parties had been on the prowl searching for the gems, the pilot's efforts had not been as clandestine as he had hoped. With new girls, new teachers, and also a new young handsome male gardener, was it a wonder that some residents of Meadowbanks felt as if there was a hidden cat among the pigeons.
Agatha Christie painted an excellent picture of an English public school going about its daily business. There were staff as well as students who were trying to get use to a new environment. There was a headmistress, who having successfully established the school according to her vision after years of struggle, was considering passing the torch to the next generation. There were old faithfuls among the staff who were less prominent but had heard and seen much of what others missed.
Meadowbanks was probably Agatha Christie's of what an ideal school should be like.
Having got the background set, Agatha Christie got down to business with the first murder, the victim being a rather unpopular new staff in the recently completed Sports Pavilion. Readers would have been given enough outright hints before this as to what would be of interest in the Sports Pavilion. The object of the mystery quickly turned from recovery of the gems to the discovery of the murderer.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was one of Agatha Christie's "not so good" books. Thankfully there aren't many but they do exist. Perhaps she should not have mixed genres (spy thrillers and crime). Mind you, there isn't a James Bond chase scene in the book but the opening pages takes the reader to a fictional Arab nation on the verge of a coup d etat and sees its young prince exchanging ideas with his English pilot on how to smuggle out the royal jewels.
I am not spoiling anyone's surprise when I say the deaths in this novel are connected directly or indrectly to the jewels (which have ended up in a girls school, by the way). The three murders all come rather late in the book and as such the revelation of the culprit by Poirot feels rushed.
Yes, the book is touted as a "Hercule Poirot mystery" although we only get to see him three quarters into the story. Since almost all of the investigation was handled by the local inspector, an undercover Special Branch officer and a very intelligent girl, it would have been better if they tied it all up with no need for Poirot to show up.
All in all, I was not impressed with Cat Among the Pigeons. Those new to her work should start with other titles as this one may turn them off Agatha Christie, who was a good mystery writer actually. Her mystery novels usually ends with the reader (me, in this case) gasping and going, "Damn! She's good."
This one didn't. Nuff said.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is definitely one of Christies best novels, right up there with Death Comes as the End, And Then There Were None, and Murder in Mesopotamia.
Yeah, ok, she might not be a literary genius, but she definitely has genius of a kind. She practically invented this type of detective novel (i'm not counting Conan Doyle. Why? Because i hate his ludicrous novels), using the brain, whilst at the same time creating great character sketches.
She doesn't develop her characters loads, but then, that is NOT what her novels are about. they're about enjoying a great puzzle. And boy, can she construct a great puzzle! The one here is probably the bestm in that is lacks Hercule Poirot for about the first three quarters (some of her best books were those which were without Poirot or Marple). through that she was able to create a good psychological detective story, then bring Poirot in at the end to tie it all up neatly and provide the solution.
The climax is great, and probably one of her best. I read this when i was about 12, and was not at all versed in the workins of a detective novel, in that it is the least likely person who did it. I just enjoyed the read, and was gladly surprised when i found out the identity of the culprit. No doubt, those with mroe experience would have been able to spot the killer straight away. However, this remains one of her best novels, and one which i will enjoy reading again and again.
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