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Cards on the Table: Hercule Poirot Investigates (Superintendent Battle Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Agatha Christie
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mr. Shaitana was famous as a flamboyant party host, but he was a man of whome everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Hercule Poirot that he considered murder and art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's private collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether ...

Editorial Reviews


“When you think it’s Colonel Mustard in the basement with the crescent wrench, you owe the fun to Dame Christie.” (William Dietrich, New York Times bestselling author of the Ethan Gage Adventures)

“The finest murder story of her career….Mrs. Christie has never been more ingenious.” (Daily Mail (London))

From the Back Cover

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.…

Product Details

  • File Size: 2354 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1500129844
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (December 15, 2003)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC10ZC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,410 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Shaitana, a wealthy collector of objets d'art, has an unusual idea for a dinner party after a chance meeting with Hercule Poirot in an art gallery. He invites to dinner four detectives plus four people he suspects may have gotten away with murder.
Along with Poirot are two detectives we have met in earlier Christie works: Colonel Race, the trouble-shooter from the Foreign Office, and Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard. Introduced in this book is Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, a best-selling mystery writer, who has been compared to Christie herself. Like Mrs. Christie, Mrs. Oliver eats large quantities of apples while writing and Mrs. Oliver's books are about a quirky Finn who is not unlike Mrs. Christie's quirky Belgian. Mrs. Oliver will return in six additional novels.
The other four guests that evening are: Dr. Roberts, a successful physician; Mrs. Lorrimer, an affluent widow who loves to play bridge; Major Despard, an African and South American explorer and guide; and Miss Anne Meredith, a young lady Shaitana met in Switzerland.
After dinner, a game of bridge is arranged. Shaitana directs the four detectives to one room while the other four guests play in a separate room. The host says he does not like the game so sits and dozes by the fire in the room where the four possible murderers are playing. When the guests prepare to leave later, it is discovered that Shaitana has been fatally stabbed at some point in the evening.
All four detectives tackle this case in their own way. Bridge players will delight in the way Poirot handles the case. He concentrates on the game itself, the hands that were dealt, and the method of scoring. If you pay attention to the game, you just might guess the murderer.
This is one of Christie's classic surprise endings and, in my opinion, one of her best works.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christie in Fine Fettle January 6, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book, with its initial copyright in 1936, shows Christie at the height of her powers.

One of the coziest things about a Christie mystery - especially those which were written earlier - is that they are set before so many of the great advances in forensics. There's no mention of computer databanks or DNA, no fiber analysis nor hair samples. Now, I'm all for the wonderful things that can be done with forensics for capturing criminals in the real world, and these can make for fascinating reading, too. But novels are sometimes more pleasant when they don't deal with the technical side of things, but let the readers ponder, along with Christie's detective Hercule Poirot, the psychology behind the murder.

In Cards on the Table, Christie sets up an imaginative, elegant, albeit implausible scenario. Four murderers - successful ones, those who have gotten away with it - are invited to dinner by Mr Shaitana, a rich eccentric who collects only the best - including collections of people. To the same dinner party this Shaitana invites four specialists in crime - a policeman, a man in the Secret Service, a writer of detective novels and of course our protagonist, Hercule Poirot. The dinner is excellent and Shaitana then makes some provocative remarks, putting the wind up in his quartet of murderers. The two groups - murderers and crime specialists - then divide into two different rooms and play bridge for the rest of the evening. Shaitana does not play, but sits in an armchair by the fire in the same room as the murderers. The evening continues until late. The crime specialists come to bid their host farewell, when lo! - to their great surprise, they find that their host has been murdered in the chair.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A psychological masterpiece! August 22, 1999
By A Customer
Agatha Christie's preface to this book says it all. In most mystery novels, finding the murderer is easy; one merely has to focus upon the person who was least likely to have commited the crime. Needless to say, this is not that kind of book.
The incomparable Hercule Poirot has always boasted of his insight into the criminal mind. And in this book, he discovers, perhaps, the case most suited to his method. Four murderers, thrown together by a slightly sardonic host. Each had a motive. An oppourtunity. At the end of a bridge game, the host was found dead, and one of the four did it.
Hercule Poirot, once again, delves into the psychology of crime and exercises his "little gray cells". A note: At one time or another during the book, all of the suspects will seem the least likely, and most likely to have done it. Perhaps the most obvious candidate for murder is the one that is guilty. I am saying nothing more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Think of it- four suspects, all with an equal oppertunity and motive to have killed the mysterious Mr.Shaitana. At several points, it seems as though you know exactly who has done it- until you find out that it was not them, but another suspect. A brilliant, though sometimes confusing plot, all come into focus by the charming personality of Hercule Poirot.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Christie November 15, 2000
By H. Lim
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In my personal opinion, this Christie is virtually flawless. I think it is her best book.
I espceially love the beginning of the book. It is almost ritualstic, like a Japanese dance. Quite unlike, say, Ackroyd or Express.
The solution is not a trick (unlike both the previous); and it is based purely on psychology. Very good characterisation, an almost surrealistic atmosphere, and a devious, devious Poirot!
The only comparison to this novel is And Then There Were None, which is even more devious, but less of a joy to read. Ackroyd I still admire greatly.
But this book is, overall, the best of Christie I have read.
Jonathan Lim
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