Cards on the Table (Poirot) Paperback – 1 Jul 2008
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“The finest murder story of her career… Mrs Christie has never been more ingenious”
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 over 100 foreign languages. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 19 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just another classic tale of Hercule getting down to some good old murder investigation.Published 15 days ago by peter
This is an easy read. Once I started the story there was no way back, I was drawn into it, it captivated me, I just had to push on to the final conclusion.Published 2 months ago by cristofori
It's been a while since I read any Christies but I enjoyed picking this one up. Poirot attends a dinner party given by the mysterious Mr Shaitana who has said he collects... Read morePublished 7 months ago by TallyCat