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The Big Four: A Hercule Poirot Mystery [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 22 2011 Hercule Poirot Mysteries
The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and so many other unforgettable characters—brings her entire oeuvre of ingenious whodunits, locked room mysteries, and perplexing puzzles to Harper Paperbacks. In her classic The Big Four, the great Poirot is caught up in a deadly game of international intrigue as he races to uncover the strange mystery of “Number Four.”

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Review

“It is always a delight to meet Hercule Poirot again. He is one of the few detectives with real charm.” (Dorothy L. Sayers)

“The acknowledged queen of detective fiction.” (The Observer (UK))

From the Back Cover

Framed in the doorway of Hercule Poirot’s bedroom stands an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man stares for a moment, then he sways and falls.

Who is he? Is he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what is the significance of the figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a worldof international intrigue, risking his life—and thatof his “twin brother”—to uncover the truth.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Christie - but different Jan. 21 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the 5th Hercule Poirot mystery but is quite a bit different from MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES or many of the more famous later ones like MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS or DEATH ON THE NILE. The plot is more fantastic, involving a vast international conspiracy of supercriminals and has Poirot taking a much more active role than usual.
The story opens with Hastings planning to surprise Poirot by arriving from South America unannounced only to be surprised himself by Poirot's own imminient departure - for South America. A filthy stranger bursts into Poirot's apartment with a cryptic message which sets the two detectives on a long and twisted trail to save the world.
This book was published in 1927 not long after Christie's first marriage ended (and her mysterious disappearance). She was in deep financial trouble and took a suggestion to link together a series of previously published stories. (Information from Agatha Christie's autobiograhy).
This resulting book was immensely popular when it was first released but has not aged that well, in my opinion. If you are, like me, an advid Christie fan, you will probably find this book amusing but if you are new to Christie's work or are only familiar with the later books you probably would be better served with another choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More parody than mystery March 23 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Big Four" is an Agatha Christie mystery where Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings are on the trail of an evil organization whose ultimate goal is world domination through chaos.
Poirot and Hastings are bested by the Big Four at every turn, falling into traps where their death was supposed to be certain. Poirot becomes obsessed by this organization, much like another famous fictional detective and his sworn archnemesis. The ending seems to only have Poirot save face after being outsmarted by this group many times over.
In the end, this book was good not for its plot, which you can see in any espionage book or film, but for the seemingly eerie similarities in Christie's Big Four and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Moriarty. All it needed was Poirot playing the violin!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Never a disappointment....excellent read Oct. 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What can you say about Hercule Poirot....one of my very favourites. Just once I would like to be able to predict the ending, but once again Christie has fooled me.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie Falters Aug. 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Agatha Christie was out of her element in the spy thriller, The Big Four, in which the villains are fomenting nothing short of world wide conquest. And moving Hercule Poirot away from country houses was not a good idea as he traipses uncharateristically all over the continent. His famous gray cells seem a little slow as well as all the puzzles set before him will be readily apparent to the reader long before the famous detective figures it out. The saving grave of this otherwise dismal entry into the Poirot library is the return of Hastings and the development of the relationship between Poirot and himself. A mystery to be skipped except for the die hard Christie fans.
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2.0 out of 5 stars James Bond-esque Sillyness July 21 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It certainly isn't often that I would criticize an Agatha Christie book, but then again, The Big Four isn't exactly your normal Christie book.
The Big Four has Poirot go head to head with this larger then life crime group - aptly named The Big Four - which, amazingly, no one has ever heard of. The members of the Big Four are a Chinese businessman who helped the Russian Revolution, the richest man in the world, a brilliant French scientist, and another unknown man.
The Big Four has its headquarters in the side of a mountain, is capable of overthrowing governments, hijacking weapons and numerous other dangerous deeds that would put the bad guys from a James Bond movie to shame.
Besides the ridiculous story, boring characters and some of the least surprising plot twists I've ever seen from Agatha Christie, there really isn't much here worth mentioning.
If you're interested in seeing what a Bond movie in the 30s would be like, maybe the Big Four is for you, otherwise I can't imagine who this would appeal to.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poirot vs. Fu Manchu July 12 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nearly all the Detection Club rules are broken in this, Christie's worst book for some fifty years. Poirot faces a group of super-criminals: a fiendish Oriental (a la Fu Manchu), an American millionaire, a mad scientist ("mad-mad-mad with the madness of genius!"), and "the destroyer," who are behind all the world problems: "the world-wide unrest, the labour troubles that beset every nation, and the revolutions that break out in some," as well as Lenin and Trotsky, "mere puppets whose every action was dictated by another's brain." Their ultimate goal is, of course, to use a laser beam to take over the world. The bulk of the book concerns various loosely related cases (some of which, such as "A Chess Problem," are ingenious enough), but too many episodes are appropriate to a shilling shocker: e.g., Hastings, having refused a fiendish Oriental devil's order to lure Poirot into a trap on pain of death (with typical English understatement, "that Chinese devil meant business, I was sure of that. It was goodbye to the good old world."), capitulates when he learns that his wife will die by the Seventy Lingering Deaths. And so it gets sillier and sillier as it goes on, until, Poirot having died and come back from the dead as an imaginary twin brother, it ends with the Big Four blowing up the Dolomites in a mass suicide pact. Tripe.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of my favorites
The Big Four represents one of Agatha Christie's early attempts at a "conspiracy" type mystery.Those familiar with some of her later efforts in this genre, such as "Passenger to... Read more
Published on June 16 2003 by Lisa Bahrami
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
I have read many Christie mysteries and Hercule Poirot is one of my favorite fictional detectives. He really shines in this book. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2003 by Melissa Bourdius
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly moving
... Anyway, this book would entertain all readers because of its profinity and great danger. You have to like dangerous and surprising plots for this book. Read more
Published on May 8 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly moving
...this book would entertain all readers because of its profinity and great danger. You have to like dangerous and surprising plots for this book. Read more
Published on May 8 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Master Criminals Are Out To Rule The World!
Long before Hitler, Mussolini, or even Osama Bin Laden, Agatha Christie created a number of novels with the master-criminal-out-to-rule-the world theme. Read more
Published on April 27 2002 by Antoinette Klein
2.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christies Pulp Novel... Still better than most!
Several other reviewers rehashed the plot points already, so I won't do that right now. What I will say is that this book sat on my shelf for a while before I got to it, and when... Read more
Published on March 6 2002 by DARBY KERN
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Four
I have read a number of Agatha Christie thrillers before this one, but The Big Four is right up among the top of my list with the others. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2002 by Jimmy
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