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Five Little Pigs: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – Feb 1 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073570
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 404 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“The answer to the riddle is brilliant.” (Times Literary Supplement (London))

“A brilliant piece of detective fiction, in which character plays an important part.” (Daily Telegraph (London))

“Straightforward bamboozling from start to finish.” (New Statesman (UK))

“As usual, Mrs. Christie hoaxes us with a double twist at the denouement, and provides excellent entertainment.” (Punch (UK))

“Agatha Christie never fails us, and her Five Little Pigs presents a very pretty problem for the ingenious reader.” (Manchester Guardian (UK))

From the Back Cover

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoningher husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, therewere five other “little pigs” who could have done it:Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market;Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayedat home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), whohad her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devotedgoverness), who had none; and Angela Warren (thedisfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determinedto prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirotjust can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
For many years I didn't read any of Agatha's books, deceived by the unspoken prejudice against all writers of mystery novels, that somehow they're not "real" writers, as if they stood to literature like entertainers stand to "genuine", quality artists and performers.
I liked some of the adaptations I saw of her works though, and always had a soft spot for "Murder on the Orient Express" so I finally gave in and became a fan, especially of Hercule Poirot. I didn't think her work could bring me any more surprises, so many books later.
So I was delighted at how much I loved this one. It has all the characteristics that have made her dear to me, especially as an author, for these things are sometimes nowhere to be found in adaptations one sees: characters who are basically mouthpieces to Agatha's views on the world and life; the way Poirot's ridiculousness makes him so easily underestimated by friends and foes alike; and in Agatha's mysteries the crime and whodunit is merely a pretext to watch and observe and reflect upon people whom you become more and more fascinated with, sometimes just because you're watching. It's like Hitchcock's "Rear Window", but some decades earlier.
I even fell into the trap of thinking that this time I had guessed correctly who the killer was, something I never do. What for? Agatha always beats me, and this time was no exception. I particularly loved the ending, the best I have ever read in any mystery novel and, to me, eerily reminiscent of Conan Doyle's "The Blue Carbuncle".
For those who feel curious, the painting that is described as a blind girl sitting on an orange is by George Frederic Watts and is called Hope because the harp she's holding has only one string left but she doesn't give up playing upon it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although it is not as well known as many other Christie novels, THE FIVE LITTLE PIGS deserves to be ranked among the author's best, and in it Christie explores a theme to which she will return again and again: an old crime of long ago that reaches out of the past to color the present.
This particular crime comes to Hercule Poirot when a young woman asks him to find out the truth about her father's murder sixteen years earlier--a crime for which her mother, Caroline, was convicted. With all physical evidence gone and Caroline herself dead, Poirot must reach back in time through the memories of the five surviving witnesses in an effort to either confirm the original conviction or expose the true killer.
FIVE LITTLE PIGS is one of Christie's most intriguing novels, for the personalities of the murdered husband and convicted wife are evoked entirely through the memories of those who knew them--and to very powerful effect. The characterizations are extremely vivid, the story offers an unusual degree of atmosphere for a Christie novel, and the solution to the crime is among Christie's most astonishing and satisfying. Thoroughly enjoyable in every possible way.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Caroline Crale is accused for the murder of her husband, Amyas Crale, no one supposes that she could be in any way innocent. After Mrs. Crale dies only one year after being tried and convicted, the murder is laid to rest. But now 16 years later, the Crale daughter, Carla, is given a letter from her mother. Mrs. Crale had written the letter before her death, in which she explicitly says she wasn't guilty of murder. Now Carla is determined to know the truth and hires the best person for the job, the remarkable Hercule Poirot. But can Poirot solve a murder which took place 16 years before?
Agatha Christie certainly spins a terrific story revolving around a murder which has been laid to rest for 16 years. Throughout the story we are given different points of views from different characters. This novel truly defines the meaning of 'in the eye of the beholder' since everyone has a different account to tell, a different viewpoint, and a difference in remembering facts. Though Poirot will never have the chance to meet the victim (Amyas Crale) or the supposed murderess (Caroline Crale), with the help of interviewing the people involved long ago. Part One tells about Poirot's interviews with the counsel for the defence, counsel for the prosecution, the solicitors, the police superintendent, and the five witnesses. Then Book Two focuses on the narratives of the five witnesses and the conclusion to the story.
Here's a quick introduction to the five witnesses (and suspects!). The title, "Five Little Pigs", refers to these five characters;
Philip Blake - went to market: Best friend to the murdered victim, has good business sense and is a very precise man. Could he have devised the perfect plan to kill?
Meredith Blake - stayed at home: The perfect example of a English country gentleman.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not often the American title of an Agatha Christie novel is an improvement to the original one, but this is truly an exception: "Murder in Retrospect" nicely catches the basic idea of the novel, whereas the original title "Five Little Pigs" is somewhat tacky and might set you off on the wrong foot. No, this book is not about a serial killer using a nursery rhyme as the blueprint for his crimes. It's all about the past.
When Carla Lemarchant asks the great Hercule Poirot for help, she isn't referring to a crime of which the body is still warm, but talks about a murder that has taken place 16 years ago. Carla's mother was found to be the guilty party and as a result she found her death in prison, taking the truth with her to the grave. But just before her death she managed to write a short letter to her daughter saying that she was not guilty. Now Carla wants Poirot to dive into the past in a search for the truth.
Undoubtedly Agatha Christie was in great form when she started plotting this intriguing mystery. Not only did she create a stunning story line, she also added some 'remarkably' rich characterizations. Remarkably because regular readers of her oeuvre may remark that character development is surely not one of her strongest points. Even more reasons to call this work a piece of 'literature'.
Quite remarkably is the structure used to communicate to the reader all the information about this murder. The five main characters -five little pigs- write down each their own version of the facts. If read very carefully, comparing these versions can bring the reader very close to the final solution. But don't be to euphoric when you think to have solved the crime: Agatha Christie surely has some surprises in stock for you. Certainly in this must-read mystery novel!
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