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4.4 out of 5 stars69
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on 11 August 2008
Having read a few Agatha Christie's lately, I am happy to say that this is one of my favourites so far. Unlike some others I've tried - The Third Girl, and Sparkling Cyanide for example - the ending of this one is very satisfying with everything clicking into place without being too ridiculously unrealistic (as is the case with the other two novels mentioned). Beautiful period language too - very enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 14 October 2010
'Five Little Pigs' is a typical title for an Agatha Christie novel, as she had a penchant for borrowing nursery rhymes. Plotwise, it's a watertight story, but not as taut as usual. This can be put down to it being a cold case which, as other reviewers have noted, goes over the same ground several times, according to the varied perspectives of the protagonists. When interviewed by Poirot, they seem blase for the most part because they don't expect his interest in the case to throw up anything new. Consequently, there is an absence of tension. As a puzzle then, it might appeal more to a Rubik's Cube enthusiast than a lover of crime fiction.
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This is the 24th novel featuring Hercule Poirot; preceded by the classic “Evil Under the Sun,” followed by the excellent “The Hollow” and published in 1942. Even a mere mention of the Poirot titles written around that time show us that Christie – always my favourite author of all time – was on a real roll. Five Little Pigs is not one of her best known Poirot mysteries, which is a shame, as this is a wonderful read.

Carla Lemarchant was only five when her mother, Caroline Crale, was found guilty of poisoning her husband, the artist Amyas Crale. Carla was sent away to Canada and she is now hoping to get married, but she is concerned that the shadow of the past will always make her future husband worry about her stability. Besides, her mother left her a letter to be shown to her when she came of age, and that claims that she was innocent. Now Carla turns to the only person she feels can help her untangle the truth of a crime which happened sixteen years ago – Hercule Poirot.

Poirot sets out to revisit the case. He interviews those involved ; from the investigating police officer to the lawyers representing those on both sides of the case. Lastly, he sets out to gain the truth from the five eye witnesses, who were there that day: Philip Blake, Amyas Crale’s best friend, Meredith Blake, Philip’s brother with an interest in amateur chemistry, Caroline’s half sister Angela Warren, her governess Miss Williams and Elsa Greer – the young woman who fell head over heels with Amyas and had stated publicly that she would marry him.

This is a tale of love, jealousy and passion. Poirot’s recreation of the case and his final unveiling of the real culprit is classic Christie. As always, she is utterly in command of her characters, plot and holds you spell-bound. Nobody writes a mystery as well as Christie and, to be, she will always be the unchallenged Queen of Crime.
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on 6 January 2014
I first read this Christie book a couple of years ago and although I enjoyed it, I didn't consider it as being up there with her best. Well after recently seeing the ITV adaptation starring the marvellous David Suchet I've just finished reading it again and have no problem greatly revising my initial opinion of the book. Now although there are actually a large number of changes made to Christie's story in the television production, some quite major, it is good viewing and re-kindled my interest in the story.

Back to the book now... In this mystery, Poirot is looking back at a crime from the past. He is employed by a young woman to look into the circumstances of the conviction of her mother for the poisoning of her artist father 16 years previously. The five pigs of the title are the five principals present at the time of the crime (two men and three women). Poirot privately assigns each of them a line from the "This little piggy" nursery rhyme and his work in solving the crime comes from the telling of the event from the POV of each of the five. Christie's writing is really clever and both she and Poirot are at the top of their game as they mesh the five versions of the same story together. At no time did anything feel repetitive as each of character's take on events took centre stage. You know of course that Poirot gets to the truth so your job is to marvel at how he actually pieces it together. Funnily enough for reasons I can't explain when I first read this book I didn't, as I usually do, try to work out which of the suspects was the guilty party I simply "observed" from over Poirot's shoulder so to speak.

It is a clever and worthy addition in the Christie catalogue and one I'm really glad that I revisited. PS it is worth giving the ITV adaptation a look too!

A 5* read.
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on 27 January 2014
My favourite Poirot, bar Curtain, this is a very different book to the usual murder mysteries she writes. Poirot is hired to deduce the innocence (or not) of the long dead Caroline Crale, convicted of the murder of her artist husband Amyas Crale. There are five suspects and each of their memories (or what they claim are their memories) of the crime are painstakingly taken apart by the great detective. Five viewpoints of the crime but which is the true remembrance? Wonderful.
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Carla - daughter of Caroline Crale who was convicted of murdering her husband sixteen years ago - wants Hercule Poirot to find out who was really responsible. She believes her mother was innocent. Poirot is rather reluctant to take on the case but something about the girl persuades him to do so. He sets out to interview the five people who were in the house at the time of the death and asks them to write their own accounts of that day.

The reader's job - along with Poirot - is to work out who is telling the truth. Is there another possible murderer and has there been a miscarriage of justice? As ever this book is well written and superbly plotted and the characters spring to life on the page when you're reading their accounts of what happened.

It kept me turning the pages and I read it in less than twenty four hours. I never used to be fan of Poirot as I preferred Miss Marple but I'm starting to like his way of working and the sort of person he is. There is no one quite like him in detective fiction.
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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2012
This is one of Agatha Christie's best. It is her first attempt at dealing with solving crimes in the past - a theme she'd return to in Sleeping Murder and Elephants Can Remember. It is beautifully and elegantly dealt with here.

The structure of the book revolves around the recollection of those who were involved in a killing some sixteen years beforehand. Most of the book is devoted to the written accounts of five witnesses. All the clues are fairly presented, all Poirot's deductions pleasing, fitting and satisfying.

Best of all, the characters are presented fully enough and with enough plausibility that it not only aviods the creakiness that sometimes afflicts Christie stories, but also means that those, like me, who had seen and enjoyed the David Suchet television version can still be entertained and engaged by the book.

Recommended to anyone with a hankering for classic detective fiction.
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on 21 February 2001
This is a more unusual Christie novel. The murder having taken place 16 years earlier, Poirot has only the five written accounts of witnesses to deduce the real criminal. The reader therefore, more than perhaps ever before, sees and hears exactly what the detective does, but I still reckon it's impossible to come to his conclusion. If you think the guilty one is the character I did you'll find yourself being described as "stupid" by the master himself. An excellent read that will lead you down many cul-de-sacs before a dramatic climax.
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on 3 January 2014
A fantastic book, probably one of Christie's best that feature the mustachioed detective! Poirot is asked to investigate a murder from many years ago, one where the supposed murderer has already been tried, convicted and hanged! Can Poirot solve the mystery based on the five possible murderers testimonies alone? He digs deep into the past, and as always comes up trumps with a twist in the tale! A very enjoyable read, which will keep you guessing as you turn the pages. Great selection of characters, good subplots and motives make up this well written detective story. If you like a roaring whodunit then this is the book for you!
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on 23 March 2013
I was unsure about buying this as I was not sure if a graphic novel version of Agatha Christie's novels would work but it really does, I loved it. The images were beautiful and were very true to the novel. I will be buying more in the future.
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