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Five Little Pigs: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Paperback – February 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 265 customer reviews
Book 24 of 43 in the Hercule Poirot Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The answer to the riddle is brilliant.” (Times Literary Supplement (London))

“A brilliant piece of detective fiction, in which character plays an important part.” (Daily Telegraph (London))

“Straightforward bamboozling from start to finish.” (New Statesman (UK))

“As usual, Mrs. Christie hoaxes us with a double twist at the denouement, and provides excellent entertainment.” (Punch (UK))

“Agatha Christie never fails us, and her Five Little Pigs presents a very pretty problem for the ingenious reader.” (Manchester Guardian (UK))

From the Back Cover

Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoningher husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, therewere five other “little pigs” who could have done it:Philip Blake (the stockbroker), who went to market;Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist), who stayedat home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcée), whohad her roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devotedgoverness), who had none; and Angela Warren (thedisfigured sister), who cried all the way home.

Sixteen years later, Caroline’s daughter is determinedto prove her mother’s innocence, and Poirotjust can’t get that nursery rhyme out of his mind.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hercule Poirot Mysteries (Book 24)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073570
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This classic Christie was published in Britain as "Five Little Pigs" and in the US as "Murder in Retrospect" because Poirot must solve a crime that took place 16 years before the story opens. Dame Agatha wrote this during the 1940's, a period that critics agree was when she did her best work.
The crime in this book is the murder of the brilliant painter Amyas Crayle. His wife is convicted of the crime and sent to prison. However, their young daughter is now of age and receives a letter from her mother professing her innocence. The daughter turns to the famous Hercule Poirot for help. If the wife is innocent, Poirot must look a the five people who were present at the time of the crime---hence, the "five little pigs." In true nursery rhyme fashion, one little pig went to market (financial counsellor), one little pig stayed home (thanks to an inheritance), one little pig had roast beef (had made a good marriage), one little pig had none (retired teacher with limited income), and one little pig cried all the way home (a woman with a disfiguring facial scar).
One of the most interesting aspects of this book is that Poirot will get an account of the murder from each of the five characters. At the end of these five accounts, you will have all the information that Poirot has and can try your hand at out-detecting the master.
This is a great detective story and, in my opinion, one of the best by Agatha Christie.
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Format: Paperback
Five Little Pigs was published in 1942 during the period when Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was writing at the top of her murderous genius. The novel is the first of a quartet of novels in which the original murder being investigated occurred in the past. In this case it was 16 years prior to the time when Hercule Poirot stepped in and solved the case.
The Plot: Carla Lemarchant,a young Canadian woman planning on being married in the near future, visits England to hire Hercule Poirot. Sixteen years in the past her mother Caroline had been arrested for the murder of her husband Amyas Crale. Crale was a famous painter. His poisoned body was found in the garden of his estate Hardcross Manor in Devonshire. The five suspects (hence the "five pigs" designation) are:
Phillip Blake-The best friend of the victim. Blake is a businessman. He tells Poirot that Mrs. Crale was guilty.
Meredith Blake-Phillip's brother who informs Poirot that Amyas Crale was having an affair with Elsa Greer a sexpot who was several years his junior. "Merry" is an expert on herbs and poisons.
Elsa Greer-the much married wealthy woman who was Crale's lover. She was posing for Crale on the September day when the painter was found dead after drinking a cold beer.
Cecilia Williams-the elderly nursemaid for Carolyn Crale's half sister. She believes in Mrs. Crale's innocence, (Mrs. Crale died in prison).
Angela Warren-The half-siter of Mrs Crayle. Mrs Crayle through a paperweight at Angela causing her to be blind in one eye. Every since this childhood act of violence Mrs. Crale has taken good care of her Miss Warren.
What makes this Christie thriller of special note is:
a. Each of the five suspects writes a summary of the events surrounding the murder.
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By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the other reviewers have pointed out, FIVE LITTLE PIGS is probably Agatha Christie's sole display of literary merit. Beautifully written prose and complex, well-crafted characters, along with the usual ingenious plotting and structure, combine to form a pretty nice piece of work. The stunning solution will undoubtedly leave readers satisfied, but the whole story and the dark, rather moody atmosphere it carries evokes a sense of sorrow that may last for a long time. A powerful, haunting masterpiece, FIVE LITTLE PIGS is vintage Christie, and her only book in which she showed that she possessed talents beyond her ability to construct a detective novel.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While Five Little Pigs is not nearly as popular as Christie's well-known works like And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express, it is just as well done. Known as a mastermind plotter but a mediocre writer stylistically, Christie does some of her best writing in this book, making evocative but subtle use of literary imagery and symbolism. Though use of 'written' accounts and flashbacks contrasted with present time, Christie also does some of her best character development in this book. You really get a strong, well-rounded sense of the main characters in Five Little Pigs. Beyond just its literary merits, it is also an excellent mystery novel. Many of the clues come in the form of dialogue, and if you interpret them correctly you might arrive at the solution. Pay attention to the literary imagery-- it also contains clues. The book ends powerfully with a moving sense of poetic justice. Most importantly (for a detective novel) the solution comes across truthful, satisfying and gives the sense that the author "played fair" -- she didn't withhold vital information. Because of the character development, Five Little Pigs has the potential to appeal to a wider audience than just mystery fans. Read It! I consider this book to be one of Christie's Top Five Novels.
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