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The Big Four Hardcover – 3 Dec 2007

3.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Comic Strip edition edition (3 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007250657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007250653
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 1.1 x 29.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 843,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The acknowledged queen of detective fiction.”
Observer

About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written towards the end of the First World War, introduced us to Hercule Poirot, who was to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. She is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 100 foreign countries. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 20 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is not your typical Poirot with a limited number of suspects, close ties and fine deductions leading to the solution of the case. Instead it focuses on individual mysteries which link together to form the over all plot. The story is also more action based than your standard Poirot plot with Poirot and Hastings regularly subjected to deadly peril and narrow escapes possibly more suited to a comic book. Indeed at times the story is more like an experiment to see how many times the author can knock poor Hastings unconcious without becoming rediculose.

I don't want to convey a totally negative impression, however, I actually quite enjoyed the story, I just personally prefer stories like 'Hickory Dickory Dock' which have slightly more thought and a little less thrill seeking. 'The Big Four' would particularly suit anyone who is a fan of the abrupt action in the Paul Temple detective stories or who just wants an entertaining story to listen to. It sould not ,however, necessarily be dismissed by those who want a more traditional Agatha Christe, it has flashes of the charm of some of the more famous Poirot stories even if it lacks the depth.

As always with these particular complete and unabridged tales you do have the pleasure of the entire story masterly performed by Hugh Fraser who brings the book to life in the best possible style.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a slightly odd Poirot, where Christie moves away from her trademark 'cosy' murder mystery and into the world of international espionage and camp villains who want to take over the world... It's still enjoyable, especially the wonderful Hastings who is even more out of his depth here than ever, but I expect you have to be a real Christie/Poirot/Hastings fan to really enjoy this one.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although Agatha has trouble writing thrillers, this book is the exception. It is beautifully read by Hugh Fraser (Hastings) and twists and turns through 6 hours of enjoyable listening. Poirot is really out of his comfort zone as he and his twin brother have to take on, one at a time, each of the big four responsible for world unrest. No cosy country house theme in this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Not so much a 'whodunnit'; more of a thriller with a few deaths along the way, as Poirot and Hastings go in pursuit of the elusive 'Number 4', leader of the Big 4 organisation whose goal is world domination. At times predictable and with a tendancy to be slightly fantastical, the plot should be taken with a pinch of salt. The story romps along nicely, and unlike other Christie novels, you don't have to think about clues and psychology- and yet the action is still gripping and sinister! I did find the ending a bit of a disappointing climax to its brilliant build up. Still, very enjoyable. An early Christie novel.
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Format: Paperback
Not suprisingly a disappointing read compared to most of her mysteries considering it started off as short stories strung together to make a novel when Christie was recovering from the breakup of her marriage. Still,it is entertaining enough for fans - especially the first and last appearance of Achille Poirot!
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Format: Paperback
The Big Four is probably the first Agatha Chrisie novel that has left me disapointed. The plot seems to be a hodge podge of four different short stories pushed together in order to create a full length novel. These would undoubtably been better as short stories, where the slenderness and lack of subtlety in the plots would at least have had the benefit of being short lived. Poirot and Hastings are always a pleasure to see together but even them and the return of the Countess cannot redeem this third rate pot boiler
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Format: Hardcover
Possibly the worst thing Christie wrote - certainly the weakest of the Poirot mysteries. The plot - Hercule Poirot, aided by a Hastings newly returned from his South American adventure, unearths a worldwide criminal conspiracy led by a gang of criminal masterminds. The Big Four are a Chinaman, an American, a Frenchwoman, and their murderous hitman.

The plot is threadbare ... it lurches into science fiction for a time, it nowhere achieves any credibility. Ian Fleming can contrive international conspiracies, Agatha Christie cannot. Removed from her world of cosy mysteries, she's all at sea. Her suggestion that Trotsky and Lenin were simply pawns in the hands of this criminal conspiracy demonstrated the infantile level of her political awareness. The narrative allows a few desultory comments about foreigners, demonstrates her detachment from and lack of understanding of working people and the working classes. In places the book is virtually unreadable ... except, of course, that Christie does write with extraordinary fluidity and the quality of her word-crafting keeps you plodding along. Nevertheless, it is the most put-down-able book of hers that I've come across.

Christie's strengths are in the writing of mysteries. She actually has limited understanding of crime and of human psychology (and is very definitely politically myopic), but she writes astonishingly good mysteries using a limited psychological and criminological palette. In "The Big Four" she is completely adrift, and her story wallows in its own mire. Perhaps, however, its weaknesses can be excused ... or at least explained.

Written in 1927, this novel betrays all the hallmarks of the hastily assembled prefabrication it is.
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