The Big Four

A Hercule Poirot Mystery
Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
Series: Hercule Poirot, Book 5
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (584 ratings)

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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

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not really a mystery.

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

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

well,

This book definitely would have been better if it hadn't been so gosh-darned racist, ya know?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Hugh will always be Hastings to me, but he was so good in his character voices. Loved his reading.

The story is considered one of Christie's lesser HP books but the story is riveting.

Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

my least favorite Poirot story so far

This story was too predictable and dull, and copies a lot from Sherlock Holmes. I've loved all the other Poirot novels so far so this was a bit of a bummer.