Five Little Pigs

Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries, Book 24, Hercule Poirot, Book 25
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (719 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other "little pigs" who could have done it: Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee), who had her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess), who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline's daughter is determined to prove her mother's innocence, and Poirot just can't get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

This title was previously published as Murder in Retrospect.

©1942 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Possibly my favorite Poirot novel

This is one of my favorite Christies for a number of reasons.

On the surface level, I always enjoy reading about art and artists. The murder victim was a professional painter, and I'm intrigued by authorial perceptions of artists. (Sometimes the mind reels).

Second, there is nothing quite as interesting as examining how different people perceive the same event, and it's done with brilliance here. That's what makes the book really special for me. Each of those who knew the accused see her differently, and thus see the murder differently. The same goes for the artist himself.

The ending is wonderful and for me, it was quite unexpected. (I'd pegged a different suspect!)

The writing style, is of course, dated. (The novel was published in 1942). I appreciate Christie as a brilliant storyteller rather than as a literary stylist.

A family member received the complete Poirot for Christmas, so we've been binge-watching the wonderful David Suchet and company. No spoilers, but just a word to say if you saw the beautifully filmed adaptation in the series, the novel is different in significant ways. But I loved them both.

Hugh Fraser never disappoints, on screen or on audio. I just love him.

Recommended for old-school mystery fans.

6 people found this helpful

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A Top Notch Mystery

Where does Five Little Pigs rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Five Little Pigs ranks among some of the best audiobooks I've listened to.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The story was very suspenceful with a great twist at the end.

What does Hugh Fraser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Fraser always does a good job with characterizations, listening to him read a book is like listening to an old time radio show, the book comes to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending was emotionally satisfying.

Any additional comments?

One of the best of the Piroit mysteries, Christie really grew as a writer as she developed the character. Piroit developed from a Sherlock Holmes knock off to a detective with a distinctive personality who ended up being quite unique in the annals of detective fiction.

5 people found this helpful

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Don't let the name scare you away!

This was a very well-told, engrossing mystery that I thought I had figured out several times - enough said about that!
I highly recommend this book on every level - great characters, action, suspense and a wonderful feel for the period of summer houses, England, and the great performance by Hercule Poirot himself. The way he solved this mystery was seemingly simple (which is why I thought I had solved it) but was clever because he had each character involved in the murder write a summary of what happened - 16 years later. And it takes little grey cells to unravel the truth.
Hugh Fraser is so consistently good I am in awe of his talent - his reading of the characters makes you forget you're not there listening to them speak.
Don't miss it.

2 people found this helpful

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Simply amazing!

I am always impressed with Agatha Christie’s incredible skill in storytelling. This piece is a perfect example. This is my first audiobook and I was left addicted! Her descriptions, thrilling plots, and interesting characters will leave you wanting to hear more! You will not be disappointed!

1 person found this helpful

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Good, but not Christie's best

Hugh Fraser (who played Hastings, the sidekick of Hercules Poirot on the well-loved tv series) narrates this book, as he has done with several other Christie books.

He did the best he could with this book I think. While I doubt there are actually any "bad" mysteries by Agatha, I would not place this among her best works. It is tedious, and Poirot goes back and forth among the possible candidates for the murderer just interviewing them.

There is very little action otherwise, and I found myself actually becoming a little bored (almost a first for anything by AC). Don't know whether a different narrator might have spiced it up a bit--Fraser wasn't terribly animated in his reading--though perfectly ok in other respects.

I'd say, if you love Agatha Christie, this should be on your listening/reading list so you can complete the works. It is not bad--it just is not up to the usual quality of her writing.

4 people found this helpful

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events of long past make for a dry, static novel

While I like the concept attempted here - the same event told over a decade later by the 5 participants in the event - the execution of it in a novel just didn't really inspire mental or emotional involvement. Yes, it was boring.

The "Rashomon" technique of having the participants tell different versions of the same death (and the events before and after) would be fine, except in a book it requires long passive statements......in this case, for instance, Poirot reads letters from the witnesses of their recollections. In a visual medium like a book or TV show, we see the stories in flashbacks, but they are still seen as action. In a textual medium like a novel, it is written in the past tense and often read by a third party (without personal flourishes in word choice and tone) - and that's a lot more boring and flat.

I think this is the first Agatha Christie novel that I wouldn't recommend - except for the excellent narration by Hugh Fraser, that makes it acceptable.

2 people found this helpful

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Classic Christe

Worth the time. Twists and turns to find the truth. No need for 7 more words to describe this book

2 people found this helpful

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Christie at her best

This is my favorite of Christie’s books. Interesting characters, very pointed but brilliantly underplayed clues, and the emotional edge at the end cuts me up every time. Absolutely brilliant.

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One of Christie's best!

An engrossing Hercule Poirot cold case that is a great character study. Similar to Cards on the Table with a confined list of suspects, it is a refreshing and satisfying mystery with a great solution. Highly recommend!

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Christie and Frazier

Well, I love Agatha Christie and I love Hugh Frazier. What else can I say? Oh- it was a great storyline. 😊

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  • EGR
  • 12-29-19

A Bit Obvious

Not a bad story, and very well performed. Unfortunately I guessed both the murderer and the motive during the course if chapter 2, so maybe not up to her usual standard.