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Elephants Can Remember (Hercule Poirot series Book 37) [Kindle Edition]

Agatha Christie
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.99
Kindle Price: $4.74
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 37%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
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Book Description

"The Ravenscrofts didn't seem that kind of person. They seemed well balanced and placid..." And yet, twelve years earlier, the husband had shot the wife, and then himself—or perhaps it was the other way around, since sets of both of their fingerprints were on the gun, and the gun had fallen between them. The case haunts Ariadne Oliver, who had been a friend of the couple. The famous mystery novelist desires this real-life mystery solved, and calls upon Hercule Poirot to help her do so. Poirot is now a very old man, but his mind is as nimble and as sharp as ever and can still penetrate deep into the shadows. But as Poirot and Mrs. Oliver and Superintendent Spence reopen the long-closed case, a startling discovery awaits them. And if memory serves Poirot (and it does!), crime—like history—has a tendency to repeat itself.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Did General Ravenscroft kill Lady Ravenscroft or was she the one holding the gun? Many years later their daughter would like to know, so her godmother, Ariadne Oliver, asks Hercule Poirot to investigate. Working in tandem, Mrs. Oliver and Poirot identify and interview an ever-increasing list of witnesses (the elephants of the title). Poirot painstakingly reconstructs long-vanished relationships, and his deductions eventually lead him to one final witness. Even the great Christie recycled concepts from time to time; this mystery is one of several "remembered death" titles, characterized by long, descriptive conversations that can be tedious. In this case the contrast between Poirot's severe, analytical style and that of the charming but erratic Mrs. Oliver adds life to what would otherwise be a rather dull tale. John Moffatt delivers the competent if unexciting reading one expects from this producer. Christie at her worst (which this is not) is still better than most mystery writers. Recommended for all mid- to large-sized libraries.DI. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


'Splendid!she tells us all we want to know and nothing that is irrelevant.' The Times 'The acknowledged queen of detective fiction.' The Observer

Product Details

  • File Size: 1736 KB
  • Print Length: 243 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062074032
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC2IZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,153 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing murder in retrospect mystery May 2, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Celia Ravenscroft is but a little girl when both her parents commit suicide. Never did she worry about the real reasons for that dramatic event, until today when she stands on the verge of getting married to Desmond Burton-Cox. Only one question suddenly seems of importance: Who killed whom, Celia's father or mother? Reason enough for Ariadne Oliver, Celia's godmother, to pay a visit to her old friend Hercule Poirot. The famous sleuth persuades Mrs. Oliver to delve -with his guidance, of course- into the past, to find the persons who are like elephants, the persons who will still remember the important details about this all-but-forgotten tragedy.
Elephants Can Remember is Agatha Christie's next to last work of detection and the author shows clearly signs of age, which is understandable since she was eighty-two years old and in failing health.
Elephants Can Remember is a "murder in retrospect" mystery. Although Christie has proven to fully master this format -see Sparkling Cyanide and Five Little Pigs- she now quickly looses touch with the story. She is forced to sow the narrative together with vague memories of a series of old spinsters and suddenly even events that should easily be remembered are covered by the veil of forgetfulness. No surprise that the plot is total confusion. It is less a mystery than a scrapbook of memories. Action is less important than atmosphere, which makes the story quite tedious and difficult to hang on to. Nevertheless, the experienced reader will figure out the solution to this not too mysterious mystery halfway through the book.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Egregiously Bad, Monumentally Boring, and No Mystery October 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This must be the worst Agatha Christie book ever. It's her very last Hercule Poirot novel, and one can see that the writer is very old by now (82). There is no freshness left in her prose; it is stale, predictable, corny, and generally trashy. As other reviewers have said, the material contained here would barely be enough to sustain a short story. To make a full-length novel out of this really is ridiculous. The book fails at what normally is Agatha Christie's greatest strength: the plot and the denouement. With dozens of pages left to go, the reader *knows* the solution! Unheard of in the world of Christie; if for nothing else, then for this the novel cannot be rated higher than 1 star. However, the characters and dialogs are boring and cliche-ridden as well, so the book has no redeeming qualities either. Nothing ever happens on the 200 pages of this book; no crime, no mystery, no real conflict among characters; it's all just endlessly boring talk, talk, and nothing but talk about the past. The only interesting thing, perhaps, is to contemplate the autobiographical hints Christie gives us in describing one of the novel's detectives, Ariadne Oliver -- a mystery writer. But these hints are only interesting because they throw light on our favourite writer, Agatha Christie -- they are not interesting in themselves and therefore do not improve the book's literary quality. It was excruciating to have to wade through the turgid prose of this book; this title cannot be recommended to anyone except extreme Christie enthusiasts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Even Agatha Christie can run out of convincing plots. October 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Inspite of a good character analysis and settings, this book falls much much below the usual standard of A.C. The plot especially is a BIG let-down and the climax falls flat. That even A.C should resort to such predictable wool-over-the-eye is amazing. The structure is very little different from Five Little Pigs - if Elephants Can Remember then Pigs can recall much better!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable April 7, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, but this mystery was lacking. I figured out whodunnit about halfway through the novel, but thought to myself, " can't be so-and-so! That would be too obvious." Well, guess what. It was. It was still a good read because I enjoy Ms. Christie's writing style and interactions between characters. If the mystery itself is not the only important part, then it's a worthwhile book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good thing people can forget November 6, 2000
I am fan of Christie's work but this one is a huge disappointment. The story could have been told in 4 pages. There is no continuity to the plot, no idea why a dozen "elephants" had to be interviewed, and no clue how Poirot uncovered the "mystery". This is one mystery novel where I would recommend you read the last 5 pages and be spared the boredom of repetitive conversations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I know Christie was pretty old when she wrote this book, so it pains me to be so negative, but her age really does show. The story isn't interesting, the mystery isn't mysterious and the characters are paper-thin -- even Poirot seems like a shadow of his usual self. The exception is Ariadne Oliver, who gets a remarkable amount of development for someone who ostensibly is just a side character. This is her final appearance in a Poirot mystery, and she gets an excellent send-off. The same cannot be said for Poirot. This is the final Poirot novel that Christie wrote, though not the final one that was published, since she wrote his real finale years earlier and set it aside to be published after her death. I haven't read it yet because I cannot bear to, so I'm saving it to be the last new Christie book I ever read. I just hope it's superior to this one!

In this one, Poirot and Mrs. Oliver are trying to figure out what happened to the parents of one of Mrs. Oliver's god children. They were found shot to death in the woods, but what happened? Did the father shoot the mother or vice versa? Was it a suicide pact? Mrs. Oliver is asked to investigate by a woman she meets at a luncheon, then proceeds to go about interviewing a lot of people she hasn't seen in many years, to ask questions about what was happening in the family, to try and put the pieces together with Poirot, who is busy talking to the police. It's quite similar to Five Little Pigs (Also published as Murder In Retrospect), another Poirot murder in retrospect. The difference is that you'll be able to spot the solution to this one miles off, as I was.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot
Published 29 days ago by Phyllis Stratton
4.0 out of 5 stars If you don't enjoy her stories and her wonderful characters
Agatha Christie what more can you say. If you don't enjoy her stories and her wonderful characters: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple don't join a mystery book club. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pat A. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars She aims to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding the tragic and...
I have seen this novel discussed as evidence of Ms. Christie's earlier stages of dementia. Hmm, we should all be demented in this manner. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Penelope Schmitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
ExCellent story line . Kept my interest throughout the book
Published 4 months ago by Jacob W. Diehm
4.0 out of 5 stars so this is considered her 'worse' what is considered her 'best'
I gather that this is considered her worse book by most people and she may have had Alzheimer's when she wrote it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by simple sellers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 5 months ago by Caroline
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun read by Christie
Again, a fun read by Christie, Love Poirot.
Published 5 months ago by Lauran
2.0 out of 5 stars OH dear
Sadly , Dame Agatha was way past her best when this was published. The plot is almost non existent, the text boringly repetative and I wonder that the publishers accepted it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. MacDonald
1.0 out of 5 stars Human Nature and Agatha Christie
I believe this book showed the insight into human nature that Agatha Christie possessed. It was a drift away from her more usual story line, but a refreshing drift.
Published 5 months ago by Daniel J. Leahy
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 for those in speech and debate or journalism in ...
5 for those in speech and debate or journalism in delving into concluding from witness testimonies of deaths that occurred years ago. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Kim
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More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

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