Mr. Shaitana is famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he is a man of whom everybody is a little afraid. So when he boasts to Hercule Poirot that he considers murder an art form, the detective has some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's "private collection".
Indeed, what begins as an absorbing evening of bridge is to turn into a more dangerous game altogether.
©1936 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers
Some of Agatha Christie's mysteries are more about characters and some are more about mystery, and this is one of the latter. That's not to say that the characters are poor, only that the mystery itself takes center stage. It's a real whodunnit: A dinner party includes 4 criminals, whom the host claims to know have each gotten away with murder, and 4 sleuths, both professionals and amateurs......and while the 4 criminals are in a room playing bridge, one of them quietly and secretly murders the host. Whodunnit, and how will Poirot figure it out? Keep listening and find out.
Hugh Fraser does a terrific job, as I've enjoyed in the past.
This book was as wonderful as any other of her tales. I love the way that Poirot referred to this type of murder in a previous book as his "ultimate crime to solve". I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone but it left me somewhat dizzy. The last 30-45 minutes seem to move the action really fast and the ending literally comes out of nowhere.
The only part I didn't care for was when other members of Scotland Yard went to interview people. You didn't know who these officers were and never heard anything about them later on either. It seemed random. I can understand the need to interview the people but why not send one of the characters we already knew? It was like they had a cameo appearance and in a book it just doesn't work the same as a movie.
I may have enjoyed it better if I played bridge. I didn't understand many of the hands that were played during the games. I would have gotten more out of the book if I did.
I haven't yet read the print edition, but I very much enjoyed Hugh Fraser's performance.
The limited pool of suspects made for an interesting whodunnit.
The end of a Christie book is always a favorite.
I chuckled in a few places, mostly due to Mr. Fraser's charming voices.
Plot twists right up to the end; never was able to narrow my suspicions properly, though I had correctly eliminated one of the 4 suspects. I think I might have appreciated this one a bit more if I knew the slightest thing about playing bridge, but as to that, I am in the dark, and so the whole motif was lacking significance for me. The wrap-up was less satisfactory than usual, even leaving me wondering a bit about Miss Meredith.
The narration wasn't quite as clean as usual either, though Fraser is still good at defining and differentiating several character voices, I was surprised by this performance- there were several instances of dialogue with mismatched character voices, enough that a few conversations were confusing and demanded re-listening.
I love Agatha Christie but I didn't love this book. I found it too dry; it could of been all the talk of cards...which I find very uninteresting. The narrator, Hugh Fraser, is absolutely superb! Hugh Fraser's narration is what kept me from stopping midway through.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
In my own mind, I kind of think of Agatha Christie mysteries as being sort of "A list" and "B list." To me, this book is on the "B list," but not because it is bad; only because it is not quite as wonderful as some others (I don't personally think there are any bad AC novels).
In this one, Poirot (along with Supt Battle, Col. Race and Ariadne Oliver--a mystery writer who one senses is created by Agatha in her own image) must solve an odd murder. Mr. Shaitana, a man who has boasted he can pick up on clues to people who have committed murder, invites the four sleuths, along with four other people, to play two tables of Bridge. Alas, the man who believed he could figure out who was a murderer quickly becomes the murder victim. And the hunt begins. Poirot cleverly uses the score sheets from the bridge game to ascertain who was playing the game at various times. But there are many more twists and turns till the murderer is revealed in the end.
I think High Fraser does a good job with the narration, and it is all the more fun since he played Captain Hastings in the Poirot TV series. This is a fun read. Agatha Christie is always a winner, and even though I read them all many years ago, I'm having a lot of fun listening to them again. Recommend!
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