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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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The Big Four: A Hercule Poirot Mystery + The Murder On The Links: A Hercule Poirot Mystery + Peril At End House: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

One of mystery fiction's most beloved heroes, Hercule Poirot, is brought vividly to life in this delightful audio production. Originally published in 1927, this outing thrusts Poirot into one of Christie's most outlandish and melodramatic adventures. It finds her Belgian detective pitted against an international quartet of criminal masterminds bent on world domination. Narrator Fraser is no stranger to Poirot's world, having played the detective's faithful companion, Captain Hastings, in several made-for-TV movies. A gifted reader, he obviously enjoys interpreting this material, and he perfectly captures each of Christie's diverse characters, shifting flawlessly from one to the other. But it is in his portrayal of Poirot that Fraser shines. With a well-tuned accent, Fraser brings out the full range of Christie's eccentric detective. This mystery may not be Christie's best, but with its over-the-top premise and international cast of villains, portrayed with relish by Fraser, it is certainly one of her most entertaining. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“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))

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Hercule Poirot as 007 April 13 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For those who think Ian Flemming invented the novel of international intrigue, Agatha Christie anticipated him by several decades. Poirot and Hastings confront an international cabal intent on nothing less than world domination. Close calls and near misses abound, and early on in the saga Poirot extricates himself and Hastings from certain death with a deus ex machina worthy of the most futuristic weapon ever employed by James Bond.
As Holmes and Watson dueled to the death with Moriarty and his three henchmen in "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House", Poirot and Hastings do battle with the Big Four. Moriarty's aims were more modest than the Big Four's, but Poirot's battle was no more earnest than Holmes'. Just as Holmes' smarter brother, the indolent Mycroft, assisted in the defeat of Moriarty, Hercule's smarter-but-lazy brother Achille assisted in the defeat of the Big Four.
The story proved fun to read, but it wasn't up to the best of Christie's efforts.
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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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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a disappointment....excellent read
What can you say about Hercule of my very favourites. Just once I would like to be able to predict the ending, but once again Christie has fooled me.
Published 11 months ago by jill forrester
2.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie Falters
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. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by Ricky Hunter
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. 26 2002 by Jimmy
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