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The Big Four (Poirot) Paperback – January 2, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Poirot
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; Masterpiece edition edition (January 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007120818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007120819
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,038,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of mystery fiction's most beloved heroes, Hercule Poirot, is brought vividly to life in this delightful audio production. Originally published in 1927, this outing thrusts Poirot into one of Christie's most outlandish and melodramatic adventures. It finds her Belgian detective pitted against an international quartet of criminal masterminds bent on world domination. Narrator Fraser is no stranger to Poirot's world, having played the detective's faithful companion, Captain Hastings, in several made-for-TV movies. A gifted reader, he obviously enjoys interpreting this material, and he perfectly captures each of Christie's diverse characters, shifting flawlessly from one to the other. But it is in his portrayal of Poirot that Fraser shines. With a well-tuned accent, Fraser brings out the full range of Christie's eccentric detective. This mystery may not be Christie's best, but with its over-the-top premise and international cast of villains, portrayed with relish by Fraser, it is certainly one of her most entertaining. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The acknowledged queen of detective fiction." Observer

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Customer Reviews

The plot was very contrived and confused.
Sara J Spangler
I've read only a few novels from the Hercule Poirot series, but this did not appear to be of the mystery genre.
mito
I have read about 3-4 other Agatha Christie books before this one.
"gorgeousgirly"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on April 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those who think Ian Flemming invented the novel of international intrigue, Agatha Christie anticipated him by several decades. Poirot and Hastings confront an international cabal intent on nothing less than world domination. Close calls and near misses abound, and early on in the saga Poirot extricates himself and Hastings from certain death with a deus ex machina worthy of the most futuristic weapon ever employed by James Bond.
As Holmes and Watson dueled to the death with Moriarty and his three henchmen in "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House", Poirot and Hastings do battle with the Big Four. Moriarty's aims were more modest than the Big Four's, but Poirot's battle was no more earnest than Holmes'. Just as Holmes' smarter brother, the indolent Mycroft, assisted in the defeat of Moriarty, Hercule's smarter-but-lazy brother Achille assisted in the defeat of the Big Four.
The story proved fun to read, but it wasn't up to the best of Christie's efforts.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Elizabeth on January 1, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is absolutely one of Christie's best Poirot mysteries. The CD is read by Hugh Fraser, who does a wonderful job and is very easy to listen to.

The plot includes many close shaves with capture and death for both Poirot and Hastings, while they attempt to track down a gang of ruthless criminals headed by four leaders who are attempting to take over the world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on January 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the 5th Hercule Poirot mystery but is quite a bit different from MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES or many of the more famous later ones like MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS or DEATH ON THE NILE. The plot is more fantastic, involving a vast international conspiracy of supercriminals and has Poirot taking a much more active role than usual.
The story opens with Hastings planning to surprise Poirot by arriving from South America unannounced only to be surprised himself by Poirot's own imminient departure - for South America. A filthy stranger bursts into Poirot's apartment with a cryptic message which sets the two detectives on a long and twisted trail to save the world.
This book was published in 1927 not long after Christie's first marriage ended (and her mysterious disappearance). She was in deep financial trouble and took a suggestion to link together a series of previously published stories. (Information from Agatha Christie's autobiograhy).
This resulting book was immensely popular when it was first released but has not aged that well, in my opinion. If you are, like me, an advid Christie fan, you will probably find this book amusing but if you are new to Christie's work or are only familiar with the later books you probably would be better served with another choice.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a slightly different mystery from Christie's other works. I would look at it as more of a spy story really as opposed to a traditional whodunit. Simply put, there is a gang of international crooks called the "Big Four" whose aim is nothing less than world domination. Poirot stumbles onto their doings by accident and then makes it his personal mission to stop and destroy this group. A nice addition is Captain Hastings, back from South America for a trip. I always thought that the Poirot mysteries were so much more entertaining with Hastings on the scene. The plot itself is a bit far-fetched but then again, looking at how Hitler and Mussolini roused entire nations a few years later, this book which was written in the 1930's may be an eerie precursor of the power of mass hysteria. My only complaint is that much of the book reads like a series of almost separate incidents and there really doesn't appear to be too much connection between them and Poirot's mission. All the same, I feel that Christie's addicts will enjoy this one, again more for the atmosphere and the fun dialogue rather than wanting to read a great mystery.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a big fan of Hercule Poirot's mysteries. I agree with otherreviewers, though, that this book does not reflect Ms. Christie'susual style. In fact, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as her other Poirot novels, so if any of you haven't read Agatha Christie books before, DO NOT start with this one. Get Five Little Pigs instead. By the way, to another reviewer, Hastings meets his wife to be in Murder on the Links. Anyway, read Big Four after you've read more of Christie's books.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It certainly isn't often that I would criticize an Agatha Christie book, but then again, The Big Four isn't exactly your normal Christie book.
The Big Four has Poirot go head to head with this larger then life crime group - aptly named The Big Four - which, amazingly, no one has ever heard of. The members of the Big Four are a Chinese businessman who helped the Russian Revolution, the richest man in the world, a brilliant French scientist, and another unknown man.
The Big Four has its headquarters in the side of a mountain, is capable of overthrowing governments, hijacking weapons and numerous other dangerous deeds that would put the bad guys from a James Bond movie to shame.
Besides the ridiculous story, boring characters and some of the least surprising plot twists I've ever seen from Agatha Christie, there really isn't much here worth mentioning.
If you're interested in seeing what a Bond movie in the 30s would be like, maybe the Big Four is for you, otherwise I can't imagine who this would appeal to.
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