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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Elephants Can Remember
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on 19 January 2006
Poirot is a fantastic character and through his adventures Agatha Christie has transported millions of readers into a world of mystery and intrigue. However, in 'Elephants Can Remember' we are less transported and more dragged along on a whimsical trip down memory lane.
After being informed of a 12 year old double suicide by an old friend Poirot decides to discover what really happened on that cliff so many years ago. As the evidence is not new enough Poirot uses a tactic different from most of his books and that is to interview those that may have known the people all those years ago. From the evidence gathered he has to determine whose memories are nearest and what really happened.
Poirot is not in large sections of this book so it lacks the humour of his earlier books. Also it seems to lack direction and coherence that a more a traditional story would have.
One for Agatha Christie completeists and not to be used as an introduction to her books.
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Ariadne Oliver is approached by a woman she doesn't know who wants to ask her about Ariadne's Goddaughter - Celia Ravenscroft. She wants to know whether Celia's mother killed Celia's father and then herself or vice versa. She wants to know because her son is going to marry Celia. Ariadne wasn't even in the UK when the tragedy happens but she agrees to try and find out what happened.

Naturally Ariadne talks to Hercule Poirot whose curiosity is aroused as he thinks that the tragedy didn't actually happen exactly how it was publicly reported. After Ariadne meets up with Celia again and finds out Celia herself wants to know more about the shooting for her own peace of mind she agrees to investigate and enlists Poirot's help.

I thought this mystery was very clever and the ultimate solution more poignant than many of Christie's books. I liked the way Mrs Oliver and Poirot worked together, dove-tailing their particular skills. Ariadne's nosiness and Hercule's ability to get witnesses to talk.
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on 12 October 2012
I enjoyed reading a Poirot that hasn't been filmed yet, though I still saw David Suchet and Zoe Wannamaker in my imagination. This is an excelent Agatha Christie, full of twists and turns.
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on 26 May 2012
This is one of Christie's better efforts in terms of characterisation and plot development. As with all studies of a crime that occurred long ago, pace is necessarily sacrificed in the pursuit of information. Christie compensates for this by giving a very limited number of possibilities and introducing a lot of highly entertaining dialogue into the gradual development of the solution. Because of these factors, the rules of the puzzle are not typical Christie. Gone are the hundreds of suspects in an obvious case of murder, allowing you to play the guessing game if you are too idle to try and work it out. With this novel, you have to work out if there has been a crime and then, I suggest, use the slow pace to try and work out every aspect of the solution. Guessing is easy in this case, but will only give you part of the puzzle - even if you guess right - so what's the point? The two clues that Poirot bangs on about are all you need to work out everything by about three-quarters of the way through the book. Ellery Queen would have put in a challenge to the reader there. Then you can have the very great satisfaction of smugly nodding your way, in great detail, through Poirot's explanation.

WARNING Possible spoiler: Readers under 40 might find the behaviour of one of the characters, as described in the solution, utterly unbelievable. I would ask them to think that when the incident occurred, people were very different - more sure of what was right and wrong and, therefore, more able to decide and do what was "honourable". I hasten to add that this does not make them "better" than more recent generations, they just had a more simple outlook that made these decisions easier. Personally, I think a little uncertainty is a good thing; it makes you less likely to make mistakes!
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on 17 August 2009
I have read a handful of Agatha Christie novels and watched many more on television and therefore feel I know a little of how these books work, what they are about, their structure.

My favourite ones have been where a murder has happened in a big house and Poirot/Miss Marple solve the case. Elephants Can Remember wasn't like that. It was about Poirot solving a mystery from years ago - a strange case where a married couple, for unknown reasons, went for a walk along the cliff top and committed suicide. Or at least - this is what people think. Can Poirot really get to the truth?

Of course he can. What a rubbish book if he couldn't! I enjoyed this book in the same way I enjoy all Agatha Christie novels. They are short, easy to read novels. You are in competition with Agatha Christie to solve the murder before the final denoument.

There were things I disliked in the book. It took a while to get the story started, there were a lot of talking about possible things that happened and rumours (led by Ariadne Oliver) which really didn't add much to the plot of the story.

Over all I did enjoy this book however I would recommend reading many other of her novels before venturing onto this one.
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on 7 June 2013
I am enjoying reading this book, perhaps now with greater appreciation than I did many years ago when I read it for the first time and found it disappointing. Now that I am older I have a greater understanding of the human frailties featured in this story, that then only irritated me. So I would say, give this lovely gentle and thoughtful book a chance if you usually prefer the more dramatic works by Christie.
That said, i have only awarded three stars because of this very disappointing Kindle version - the formatting is absolutely atrocious and this version is riddled with mistakes which detract greatly from the clarity and the enjoyment of the text. I am a writer myself, hoping to be even half as successful as Dame Agatha, and I would not dream of releasing a version of this book so badly flawed.
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on 29 June 2015
I hate to write this as I love most of Agatha Christie's work but this has to rate as one of her worst books. It's slow and dare I say it boring. I would definitely avoid.
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VINE VOICEon 20 May 2005
For the third time in Poirot's career, and this time with the help of Mrs Oliver, he finds himself dealing with a case that has happened many years ago. In this case the deaths of a retired general and his wife who seem to have died in a strange suicide pact - only there was no reason for it.
This was the last Poirot novel Agatha Christie wrote, since "Curtain" been written many years before. And it feels like an eulogy to memory and to things past. It's not her best novel or even one which surprised me, since I guessed what had happened (and felt really happy because of it). But nevertheless is quite a good read, and I am sure other people will enjoy it as well.
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on 9 July 2013
The storyline was well presented in the Agatha Christie style but lacked impetus or true meaning as it was set in more modern times than Poirot is accustomed to and for me this spoiled the overall effect of Poirot as set in my minds eye.
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on 17 July 2013
Thought that I had all of Agatha Christie books so was delighted to find this. Really enjoy her books and to be able to now put them on my Kindle is good news.
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