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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2017
Great book
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on 22 September 2013
When I first read this book, I couldn't understand the plot or anything else in this story. Having read it a few times I now understand it a bit more. If you are new to Christie's Poirot then don't read this as your first novel, as you might feel put off as it is certainly different from any Poirot novels Christie has written before. There is plenty of murder involved, but this is on a more grand scale. This is an international story written about prominent people within the world who instill terror by stealth, and Poirot happens to be aware of what they are about and decides to go on the chase and catch these people. Has Poirot finally met his match or can he and his sidekick Hastings conquer the world of espionage and manipulation?

This book is an acquired taste, but I would certainly recommend it.
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on 14 May 2010
This is a departure from the Poirot norm for Christie, which I don't think really worked. Rather than a whodunit, it's more of a thriller akin to James Bond (though they came later) complete with megalomanic baddies and a secret mountain hideaway.

Poirot is on the trail of 'The Big Four' a master criminal gang intent on taking over the world. Through a number of individual encounters Poirot tracks the four down and plots their downfall, assisted by the inept narrator, Captain Hastings.

The plot is structured almost as a series of short-stories, each building slightly upon the last and gradually leading towards the conclussion. As such it doesn't really fit together as a novel, and unlike the usual Poirot books there is no mystery for the reader to attempt to solve along with Poirot - we are just left to follow Hastings as he bumbles along, oblivious to Poirot's plans. This makes it quite a frustrating read as sometimes you are deliberately left in the dark, and at others it's so obvious what's going on that you want to kick Hastings for not falling in.

So overall it's only a mildly entertaining read, and certainly not one that demands a great deal of brain power. I hope this was a one off and we get back to the Christie cliché of 'murder at the manor'.
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on 28 November 2016
A good novel, though a little different from her other books. A good change, and showcases Dame Christie's versatility.
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on 11 September 2007
The Big Four is one of Agatha Christies very unusual books, it is a great one and if you have read a lot of her regular books, then you should definitely read this because it is completely different from anything else that she has ever written. I found it difficult to put down because it is very intriguing.

The book is about a group called the Big Four, and they are trying to gain world domination ( it's a bit far-fetched but it doesn't really seem too unlikely when you are reading it ). In the group, there is a Chinaman, an American Millionaire, a Frenchwoman scientist, and a man, known as the Destroyer. A lot of murders occur and as a result of Poirot and Hastings investigation, the group are desperate to kill them both. It involves a lot of action scenes aswell, with Poirot and Hastings in near death experiences.

There are very few clues in the book because Poirot is trying to discover the Big Fours methods and he is trying to show very few of his own, along the way. There are however questions like, how some of the complicated murders are done? Who number four is? What is the significance of Poirots twin brother, to the case? etc.

I highly reccomend this book but it might not appeal to some people. If you are looking for some good Agatha Christie books, read, And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Murder On The Orient Express, Death On The Nile, A Pocket Full Of Rye and A Murder Is Announced, and many more.
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on 28 January 2014
As with all of Agatha Christies, Poirot stories this one keeps you guessing all the way to the last page.
Beautifully written, a fabulous read.
Of all fictional detectives, Hercule Poirot , is amongst my favorites. I love the television series with David Suchet playing him, and when I read an HP, book, it is as if I can hear his voice coming from the page.
Most definitely worth the price, and the read,and if you have not yet read any of the Poirot stories, then this one, although
being one of the last ones, is a good one to start with.
All I can say further, is for you to enjoy the read.
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on 11 March 2013
So far this is my favourite Poirot book. I absolutely adore Hercule and I nearly had kittens when Achille was introduced. Poirot is on the trail of an international 'terrorist' gang known as the 'Big Four' who have managed to evade detection by everyone save Hercule Poirot, and only through chance. It would appear that Hercule has met his intellectual match.

If you are wondering which Agatha Christie book you should read first I would recommend this one, it is simply fabulous!
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Poirot and Hastings become involved with a gang of international criminals who are very good at working out what he will do next. Have the invincible duo met their match? It starts with an unexpected visitor and a piece of paper with the number four written all over it again and again.

Gradually a picture emerges of four master criminals who seem to be pulling the strings of a large army of fellow criminals whose lives are expendable. As soon as any of them come close to revealing any secrets they meet a mysterious end.

I wasn't so keen on this book as I have been on most Christie novels because I could not quite believe in all the dangerous situations. It read more like a James Bond novel than a conventional crime novels.

It is more a collection of short stories linked by the theme of the Big Four than a novel. It could be said to be a forerunner of modern international thrillers though the nationality of the criminals would probably be different today.
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2006
I must confess that I have tried to read all of Agatha Christies novels with Hercule Poirot as the main detective. Of all these, this is my favourite, for a number of reasons. I agree with a fellow reviewer, that Poirot is at his best, and most interesting, when Catain Hastings is on board. The synophis is that behind the Worlds diasters/affairs are four people. Poirot takes them on, with a LITTLE help from Hastings. The inclusion of Hastings is a masterstroke by christie, as we see events through his romantic, simple mind, and he addresses points/questions that would often would love to yell out to poirot.This is Boys own stuff, and is riveting to see Poirot stretched to combat this mysterious sect. Great read
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on 12 January 2006
After reading a few dodgy reviews i was quite sceptical about this book.... however as soon as i started i couldnt put it down. murder after murder, mystery after mystery the quest to discover the big four is gripping. BUY THIS BOOK!!!
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