• The Big Four

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,048 ratings)

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The Big Four

By: Agatha Christie
Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
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Publisher's Summary

Framed in the doorway of Hercule Poirot's bedroom stands an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man stares for a moment, then he sways and falls.

Who is he? Is he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what is the significance of the figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a world of international intrigue, risking his life - and that of his twin brother - to uncover the truth.

©1927 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Big Four

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviewers Must Be Mistaken

Would you try another book from Agatha Christie and/or Hugh Fraser?

Yes. This book was one odd failure in the Christie collection.

Any additional comments?

I thought the reviewers who made bad comments about this book must have been mistaken. Not so. Hugh Fraser's performance was excellent, but even the best reader couldn't make the ridiculous plot less ridiculous. It was a James Bond fantasy starring Hercule Poirot, a character that doesn't fit at all. The whole thing was silly without humor. This was my ninth Christie listen, all the rest very good to excellent stories. I still want to hear more Poirot mysteries, and will bet on the fact that Christie didn't repeat the mistake she made with this one.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Agatha tried something different here

What did you like best about The Big Four? What did you like least?

I liked the departure from Christie's standard format for this Hercule Poirot adventure. It seems to me I once read that she really detested Poirot as a character and wanted to quit writing his stories, but fans insisted. I think here, she attempted to make him more of a James Bond character, in an attempt to at least shake things up and perhaps focus more on Hastings. The plot twists in this book are of a different, more fantastic variety and more than once I LOL'd at some of the wildly fortunate developments, but that just made it more fun. Since Agatha returns to her previous Poirot style after this one, we can safely assume her experiment was something less than successful and I'll be glad to get back to a more traditional Poirot novel with the next one, but this one is still a hoot.Re: what I liked the least, I can't think of anything that I didn't particularly like. It was different, certainly, but still an enjoyable listen.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Now who are we to suggest changes to an Agatha Christie story? I ask you. Sheesh. Sorry, but I think that's a silly-ass question.

What about Hugh Fraser’s performance did you like?

Hugh does an outstanding job, once again. His Belgian accent fades at times but still, he puts in an another exceptional performance. I don't know why it's so surprising when English performers capture American accents so well, but Hugh does a great job with all of the various voices of this one, including the Yank.

Was The Big Four worth the listening time?

Certainly it's worth the time investment. Don't pay attention to the reviews telling you to ignore this one. Honestly, it's a hoot, just because it is different, if for no other reason. Give it a listen. It's entertaining. Really. I'm not lying. I wouldn't do that. Not about this at any rate.

Any additional comments?

Nah. Not so much.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Weak Early Christie but Performance is Masterful.

Just too incredible to satisfy. More like an absurd B-movie than the complex measured tales of her later years.

6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Early dated work

Unless you're a Christie fan, I wouldn't bother reading. Its dated and not a mystery. Just a story of tracking down 4 people who want to rule the world. Actually a pre Bond, wonder if Ian was inspired.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Like a bad, less realistic James Bond book

This was not like any of the other Poirot books - no real mystery to solve, just running from place to place encountering "villains" that are more ridiculous than any Batman or Bond flick. I can't believe anyone who liked the earlier books - or mysteries in general - would like this.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A different storyline for Poirot and Hastings

This is a different format for Poirot and Hastings to be in. It is actually based on a series of short stories that Christie penned. This story is not a typical murder mystery set in a rural location. It is a thrilling tale of intrigue and adventure. There are only tow books where Poirot's "brother" is mentioned and this is one of them. Also, this is the only book I have read so far where you actually get to here about Hasting's wife. She is rarely mentioned. This book has non-stop action and is set more like a spy thriller format than a mystery.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not really a mystery.

Well performed, but not really a mystery and that is what I look for in Agatha Christie novels.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing intrigue

Hastings is back, but this is less of a mystery and more a disjointed spy thriller that appears as if Christie is trying to create Poirot's version of Moriarty, while channeling Fu Manchu and early science fiction. Overall, it was a failure as a novel and the Belgian investigator felt out of place in this attempt at grand international intrigue.

Poirot retires at then end of the story and I wonder if it should have been set before "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?"

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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not so much

There is a reason this one was never made into a movie. It is unlike any other Poirot mystery And loses much of the charm because of that.

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As far fetched as it can get...

... as Hastings put it in chapter 3. Hugh Fraser's performance is impeccable as always, but the story? To put it bluntly, it's a mess.