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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the cleverest Poirot novels
This is a very unusual Poirot novel in that it has an equal number of suspects and detectives (four in each case). Poirot is invited to dinner by an eccentric acquiantance, Mr Shaitana, who promises to introduce him to four murderers who have got away with their crimes. When Poirot arrives at Mr Shiatana's he finds three other detectives there, enigmatic Superintendant...
Published on 6 Aug 2004 by L O'connor

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining in parts but a little contrived and unbelievable
This is a slightly differently constructed murder-mystery from many of Dame Agatha's stories, and although interesting and entertaining in parts, it ultimately feels rather contrived.
The plot involves the murder of Mr Shaitana, a showman/poseur who dresses like Mephistopheles and enjoys teasing and baiting his acquaintances for his own amusement in a manner that...
Published 10 months ago by John M


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the cleverest Poirot novels, 6 Aug 2004
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a very unusual Poirot novel in that it has an equal number of suspects and detectives (four in each case). Poirot is invited to dinner by an eccentric acquiantance, Mr Shaitana, who promises to introduce him to four murderers who have got away with their crimes. When Poirot arrives at Mr Shiatana's he finds three other detectives there, enigmatic Superintendant Battle, Colonel Race of the Secret Service, and Mrs Ariadne Oliver, an eccentric writer of detective fiction. The four murderers are elderly widow Mrs Lorrimer, bluff Doctor Roberts, dashing, adventurous Major Despard, and Anne Meredith, a young girl. The two parties, murderers and detectives, settle down to play bridge in separate rooms, and Mr Shiatana sits by the fire in the murderers' room. In the course of the evening he is murdered, but which of the four is responsible? The four detectives set out to solve the crime. As always in Christie's novels there are plenty of humorous touches, one of my favourites is where Superintendant Battle calls for one of the suspects: "I should have kept him to the end" said Mrs Oliver. "in a book, I mean," she added apologetically. "Real life's a bit different" said Battle. "I know" said Mrs Oliver "badly constructed." In the course of the book the detectives find out all the can about the suspects, and learn about the murders they commited earlier (one suspect turns out to be innocent of any murder). There are lots of exciting twists to the plot and you are kept guessing right up until the end. It is apparently possible to find out the identity of the murderer by studying the bridge scores reproduced in the book, if you understand bridge that is. I don't but it doesn't matter, this is an intriguing and clever mystery, definitely one of Mrs Christie's best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read !, 23 Jan 2008
By 
Mr. Mg Reynolds "Carry On fan" (Oxfordshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This is an absolute treat for observant Agatha Christie fans as it features four of her superb creations namely Hercule Poirot , Supt Battle , Mrs Oliver and Colonel Race . It is so very clever how it is all solved on the basis of people's bridge playing patterns . Such a pity that the 2006 TV version was spiced up & that the liberties taken in that adaptation sadly stopped it being quite so good . As a novel its dark premise is not too overpowering as there is wry humour . Battle & Race were sadly missed from the TV version and this novel is easy to read while the red herrings keep the reader guessing up untill the end . Agatha Christie sets the scene very well indeed and this novel is a forgotton gem . A great way to make a coach or train journey pass more pleasently !
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Christie novels, 26 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Cards on the Table (Paperback)
This is the first Agatha Christie book I read, and I was about 13 years old. This book was totally different from what I had read before (basically books for kids) and I was baffled at such a complex and clever plot. Since then i've read more than 30 and I still like them. Unlike in other of her books, here you only have four possible murderers and you know it has to be one of them -no surprises. But when you think you got it, then it makes you change your mind, and yet in the end you'll never guess. The characters are great, starting with Hercule Poirot, the belgian detective I met in this book and still surprises me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars keeps you hooked, 18 Jun 2007
By 
Lindymck (Falkirk, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cards on the Table (Paperback)
real page turner, keeps the suspense going and throws lots of red herrings at you. liked the idea that all the suspects were not quickly eliminated. fast paced easy to follow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Lot Better Than I Expected, 3 Oct 2007
This book was one of Agatha Christie's books that seemed interesting and different, it could have been great or very bad, it is the former. I wasn't sure about getting it because I do enjoy the whodunnit aspect to A.C's books and there are only four suspects and any of them could have done it ( so there isn't exactly a massive surprise ending or anything ) but for some reason the book is great in a different kind of way to her other books.

In this book, Poirot ( along with three other great detectives ) is invited to a party hosted by mr Shaitana, Shaitana also invites four people he has met in the past and he claims that each of them has commited murder before. After a long game of bridge, mr Shaitana is found dead and so the investigation begins.

Poirot solves this crime out of such clues as all the different guests observational skills, whether they had past crimes or whether that was a mistake, the choice of murder weapon, and a second murder.

This is a aurprisingly excellent book, you will not be dissapointed.BTW, don't read the reviews after mine if you haven't finished the book as 1 of them spoils the ending, I know I said the ending isn't too important in these books but it is still better not to know it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who killed the host?, 16 Feb 2005
By 
Miguel M. Santos "miguelmsantos" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Although not one of Agatha Christie's very best books, it is still a marvellous murder plot (it is her own fault, she puts the bar so high...). Four possible murderers in a room playing bridge, four of Ms Christie's best detectives (Poirot, Battle, Colonel Race and Mrs Ariadne Oliver) playing in the next room, and the host is found dead by the end of the evening. And the only clues are the bridge scores. Having no idea of how to play bridge, I realised fairly early on that there would be no chance of getting the killer right, but still it was quite a very good reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christie 'classic' for bridge players, 11 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cards on the Table (Paperback)
Excellent and unusual psychological puzzle for Poirot to discover which of four people committed murder during a bridge game. Characterization and motivation more to the fore than usual. Surprising denouement despite the comparative shortage of suspects. One of my favourites and a 'must' for detective story readers and bridge players alike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cards on the Table, 30 Oct 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cards on the Table (Poirot) (Hercule Poirot Series Book 15) (Kindle Edition)
In this classic mystery, Poirot is invited to a dinner party with a difference by the slightly unsavoury Mr Shaitana; a rich man addicted to parties and gossip. He wants Poirot to come to dinner to meet his exhibits - murderers who he claims have "got away with it." Although Poirot finds his hobby dangerous he agrees, leading to a dinner party with four sleuths (Poirot himself, Colonel Race, who works for the Secret Service, Superintendent Battle from Scotland Yard and our old friend the detective writer Ariadne Oliver) and four possible murderers (the cheerful Dr Roberts, the explorer Major Despard, serious bridge player Mrs Lorrimer and the young and nervous Miss Anne Meredith). After dinner the guests play bridge, while Mr Shaitana dozes by the fire and, during the evening, he is murdered.

This murder leads to our four sleuths pooling information in trying to discover who could have killed the host in full view of everybody and also looking into their backgrounds to see which of them, if any, were really guilty of murder. Christie was a keen bridge player and, although you may think this makes the book dry, she is careful to only use the card game as a small part of the story. The real fun is in the uncovering of secrets, as all the guests at the dinner party meet up and discuss what happened. Although Mrs Oliver uncovers some great clues, it is M. Poirot and his little grey cells that reign supreme and solves the mystery of what happened. First published in 1936, this is Christie at her best - which is better than any other crime writer there has ever been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and unusual! Don't be put off if you don't play bridge., 4 Jan 2011
This story has an excellently and unusually constructed plot, well drawn and unusually complex characters and a brilliant surprise ending. Four people in a room, all suspected to be past murderers by their host, Mr Shaitana, are playing bridge while Shaitana is sitting in the same room in a chair by the fire. At the end of the evening, Shaitana is discovered dead in his chair, stabbed with an ornamental dagger on display in the room. No one has been in or out of the room. Which of the four players was the murderer?

Four crime investigators, including Hercule Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Colonel Race, a Secret Service agent, and Ariadne Oliver, a famous detective story writer, playing bridge in another room of the house, are on hand to investigate the murder.

The investigation is, unusually, almost entirely a psychological 'fit' between the four suspects and the nature of the crime that is committed. Poirot's end-of-story explanation of Shaitana's murder is right up to his usual superlative standard.

Cards On The Table is especially interesting to bridge players but those with no knowledge of the game are in no way disadvantaged from enjoying this story.

This is one of Christie's very best and unusual stories and I would recommend this to crime readers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poirot solves a 'perfect' murder, 19 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cards on the Table (Paperback)
Great plot. A bit confusing if you don't know Bridge, but throughly enjoyable. Despite haivng only 4 suspects the real murderer is difficult to guess.
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