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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 31 August 2017
Cards on the Table is not a traditional Christie whodunit by any means, neither is it a typical Poirot mystery - but what it is, is an extremely cleverly executed mystery. Published first in 1936, this was also the first outing for the eccentric Ariadne Oliver. It's almost a closed room mystery in as much as the action takes place around a Bridge party with four detectives, of sorts, present - the inimitable Poirot, Oliver, Battle and Race - together with the, terribly dramatic, host of the party and a further four guests who are all said to have 'gotten away with murder'. When the host is murdered, the detectives are faced with four suspects. A whodunit - but certainly not traditional. It's an original and unusual take from Christie and certainly an enjoyable read. I think more enjoyment would be had if the reader has at least an inkling of the intricacies of Bridge - of which I know absolutely nothing! Still, there are great character studies here, clever red herrings and a solid mystery all amounting to an enjoyable read which may keep you guessing until the end.
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on 25 August 2017
Four guests all concerned in solving crime and four others one of whom may be a murderer attend a dinner hosted by the morally dubious Shiatana. Following the dinner the two groups play bridge in separate rooms, at the end of the night Shiatana is found murdered and suspicion falls on the four guests playing in the same room.Poirot, Mrs Oliver,Battle and Race were all in the other room and decide to solve the crime.The idea that Mrs Oliver would be allowed to sit in on a police questioning seems ridiculous . Poirot concentrates on the bridge scores and finally solves the case.
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2014
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 most would probably find obnoxious (I have a vision of Christopher Lee!). He invites four detectives, including Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Ariadne Oliver, and Colonel Race, to a dinner party together with four other guests that he informs Poirot have all committed an undetected murder. And they all accept the invitation, despite not really liking him! After dinner the two group separate and play the card game Bridge in separate rooms. During the Bridge games one of the four 'murders', fearing revelation, kills Shaitana with a stilletto dagger as he dozes in a chair. The detectives then set about trying a identify the culprit.
Poirot uses the Bridge scores and the observational abilities of the four suspects to make conclusions about their character, which is clever in parts, whilst all four detectives investigate the history of the suspects. Some say they find Ariadne Oliver a little annoying, but although I think she adds some welcome humour, one can't help thinking that as a literary self-caricature Dame Agatha is almost mocking her readership at times.
A strong point of the novel is that Poirot is present with his piquant observations, deductions and all his glorious character flaws from the start. Dame Agatha mis-directs the reader with the usual range of blind avenues and red-herrings.
However, overall the story has a very contrived feel to it. There seem some obvious plot difficulties, such as how did Mr Shaitana know what he says he knows, why would the 'guilty' guests accept such an invitation from him, and some strange behaviours and the use of coincidence is a bit of a stretch. At times it reads like a few welded together short stories. The ending stretches credibility too.
Overall, entertaining but in my opinion not one of the better Poirot novels
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on 19 February 2013
The premise for this story is a party host being murdered during a game of bridge. One of the four people in that room is the murderer. With next to no evidence, Poirot, a crime novelist and Scotland yard are set to solving this mystery.

It has the hallmarks of a good read, but I feel Christie tries too hard in places. For instance, a series of events happen that have next to no bearing on the case. She paints an unbelievable psychological portrait of the suspects that just doesn't really hold much substance. And the most detracting thing is that the vast majority of the book revolves around Bridge terminology. If you are unacquainted with the game you will have no clue what a trick, dummy, rubber, grand slam etc... are and whole pages (often whole bouts of conversation) are taken up with such terminology.

It's not a bad story as a whole. The reader is often thrown through loops as to who the criminal is, so it does keep you thinking. However, I found myself reading more to get through it than out of the excitement a Poirot novel usually gives me, though. It's certainly worth a read, but there are other Poirot titles that are more deserving.
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on 1 April 2018
Loved this. A wonderful collection of characters. 4 suspects playing bridge in the room the murder was committed, 4 more including Poirot & Police Inspector playing bridge in a separate room. These 4 work together to uncover the murderer. Plenty of hints, red herrings and a satisfying end to the story.
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on 30 November 2013
Considered by many to be her greatest work, it certainly is one of her finest. Agatha Christie herself said there are only four starters and any one of them might have committed the crime.
One detective per suspect is a great idea, although as one of them is Poirot, there's really only one. Agatha Christie thought the limited number of suspects might knock out the surprise. But it doesn't. In many ways it easier to keep up with who's who.
Poirot's thought process is as baffling as ever, and full of clues if only we could spot them. The really big clue comes though in the...
Christie at her best

Jane Hetherington's Adventures in Detection Omnibus (Books 1-3): Omnibus Edition (Books 1-3)

The Magpie Murders - Omnibus Edition
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on 12 April 2018
Thus is such a refined, economical murder mystery. If you play bridge you can actually work out who committed the murder once you've seen the bridge scores (in the text) and learned the state of play. Clues abound, as do red herrings. It is my favourite Christie.
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on 18 November 2014
Hugh Fraser is my favourite reader of the Poirots, brilliant nuances and accents, really brings all the characters to life. This is a classic Christie - an ingenious scenario and a closed circle of suspects. I love these CDs last thing at night and they are unabridged so you get a really good story experience over a few days if that's how you want to listen. Very relaxing and one of the best stories.
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on 18 December 2017
I have always liked Agatha Christy books easy to read with very good stories. I can work out most times who dun it.
This time I was completely foxed. Very good read right to the very end.
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on 15 January 2013
I've read this book so many times and each time I've enjoyed it as much as the last. Here we see four "sleuths" and four people who have possibly murdered in the past, invited to a dinner party organised by a Mr Shaitana. Mr Shaitana is subsequently murdered and the four "sleuths" have to find out which of the other four would be murderers did it.

Very easy read and nice and light. Would recommend.
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