©1927 Agatha Christie; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London UK
"The acknowledged queen of detective fiction." (Observer)
This story takes Hercules away from his usual local murders into the world of espionage. I loved it. Lots of little surprises keeping the pace moving along.
"Poirot's most exciting adventure!"
I loved this book from start to finish. It takes Poirot and Hastings into the world of international espionage and conspiracy. Time after time, they escape risky situations, as they seek the 'Big Four' of the title, individuals who between them make up a global superpower. Occasionally it is a bit silly, or even slightly ridiculous, but that just makes it all the more entertaining. The narration by Hugh Fraser (who plays Hastings in the ITV Poirot series) is excellent. Whilst it is an excellent book, I would not recommend it to those who have not read or listened to Poirot stories before - this book is likely improved by a good understanding of Poirot and Hastings, and the relationship between them, which is explored in Agatha Christie's earlier work.
This is one of Agatha Christie's misfires. The plot is laughably cheesy and reads like one of those Saturday B movies. There are mysterious villains who are masters of disguise, plots to bring down governments, the good guys always just one step behind, miraculous escapes, amazing coincidences... and a yawn from start to end
So why 2 stars? Because Hugh Fraser does his usual fantastic job of narration. Despite the shockingly awful material to work with he manages to inject some drama into the proceedings. It's a shame that, apart from the Christie books, he does doesn't appear much in the Audible playlist
"The Big Four"
If you read the Agatha Christie websites you'll know this is an emergency construct of several other plots.
It is very episodic, some of the storylines are derivitive of Sax Rhomer, some of the denouments are silly.
And the ending ........
But apart from that it's entertaining if you don't take it too seriously. Read the AC website, see why she wrote it, treat it as an historical story in the AC canon. The David Suchet adaptation will be interesting.
The reading by Captain Hastings (sorry - I've gone blank on his name) is excellent as usual.
Did I spell 'denouments' right?
"Action packed & pacy"
Unlike most of Christie's Poirot stories which follow a single plotline, The Big Four takes the reader through several mini-mysteries which are all linked, resulting in several tension rises and releases, culminating in an unexpected turn of events before the eventual denouement. I've read around 10 Poirots and this is my favourite - a nice change of pace and one that will keep you fully engaged throughout.
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