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The Big Four: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – Aug 30 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (Aug. 30 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073877
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By A Customer on July 21 2003
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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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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