The Labours of Hercules (Hercule Poirot, #26)
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The Labours of Hercules (Hercule Poirot #26)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  7,338 ratings  ·  235 reviews
What do a lost Pekinese, a reputation poisoned by gossip, a man spiraling into madness, and a Russian countess in love have in common? Hercule Poirot.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1947)
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While I respect Agatha Christie for her contributions to the mystery genre, I have to admit I'm not necessarily a big fan of much of her work.

I've liked a good deal of what I've read, but for the most part little of it seems to end up on my list of favorite mystery stories or she on my list of favorite mystery writers.

But every once in a while, I'll admit something about a Christie mystery or story captures my attention and I'm inclined to pick it up. In this case, it's the hook for this collect...more
Laurel Young
Of all Agatha Christie's collections of stories featuring the great Hercule Poirot, this is the one of which the man himself would most approve. It has the order and method, to be sure! A perfect dozen cases, updating the Labours of Hercules for the modern world (well, the 1947 world). The stories have a certain inevitability to them--it would be a shame to name a character Hercule and NOT do something with the classical allusion. The format is both the collection's greatest strength and its wea...more
Hercule Poirot does not underestimate his abilities. No, no – he is the best. And while he does not resemble that powerful demi-god, Hercules, he thinks that his brain, it is no less inferior than Hercules’ body. In fact, he is capable of achieving his own labour of Hercules!

The Stories.

The Nemean Lion. Hercule Poirot is outraged, insulted. Miss Lemon has suggested that he investigate the kidnapping of a Pekinese dog. How utterly beneath him! And yet, when he reads the owner’s letter, it is int...more
Just finished The Labours of Hercules the 26th volume of Hercule Poirot adventures.

The premise is that Hercule has made a pact with himself to take on only twelve more cases before he retires to take up gardening. Not just any case but one that simulates the twelve labors of the Greek hero Hercules... not by brute strength but by the little gray cells!

So twelve entertaining short stories follow.

Obviously Hercule did not retire at volume 26, for there are a total of 41 volumes under Poirot's mon...more
It is a sign that I'm not especially enjoying the other books I'm reading that I've managed to finish several Agatha Christies without making significant forward progress on the others. What can I say? Poirot never disappoints
Poirot is not one of my favorite characters - he tends towards the stilted, and is a bit of a prig even for the days when this was written.

Likewise, I have never been particularly fond of Christie, and this set of tales reminded me of why. I like a story which works its way to a conclusion, inviting the reader along with a subtle touch, allowing said reader to say "Aha! I know who did it and why" even as the story's detective comes to the same conclusions.

These stories don't do that for the mo...more
Tom Wherry
Sep 16, 2012 Tom Wherry rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christie fans, mystery fans, Christie completists
A fun collection of twelve mini-mysteries with one common theme. Poirot considers him a modern Hercules, in the sense that he and his namesake both dedicate their lives to the removal of certain pests. So Poirot decided that these, the last cases before his retirement, should have some metaphorical connection to the original 12 Labours of Hercules. Some stories were better crafted than others but they all had that twist in the tail that Christie is famous for.

The Nemean Lion: The case of a missi...more
It must be said. I am not a great fan of Poirot, who is nothing but a collection of idiosyncratic tics, in my opinion, and does not even approximate a flesh-and-blood person. Though, oddly, I like the David Suchet TV portrayal, but it's more for the furnishings than the characters. My lack of enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes probably stems from the same feeling - a walking bunch of mannerisms, not really assembled into much of a human being.

That doesn't prevent some of the stories involving these...more
Troy Blackford
This might be the most adroit 'themed' short story collection I have yet encountered. The 'skeleton' of this book is this - Hercule Poirot decides to undertake 12 cases that have some analog in the 12 'labors' of his classical namesake, Hercules. Suffice to say, all manner of witty and puzzling engagements follow. The genius Ms. Christie displays in making allegorical connections between the classical - and mostly physical - 'labors' of the famous historical strongman are paralleled via equally...more
Evil Genius
Reading this was the 13th Labor of Hercules. The latter half of the book had some funny moments though.
The Labors of Hercules is a set of short stories with some really good mind-twisters. It's fun to try to solve the puzzles along with Hercule Poirot as he tries to complete the 12 labors as per his namesake Hercules.

I think I have finally reached a point where I am outgrowing AC novels. There is a marked difference in the quality of writing between Poirot and non-Poirot stories. I just read The Mirror Cracked which was actually a good mystery but not well written. I found it so tiring to get thr...more
Andrea Ika
Book Review: The Labours of Hercules

Agatha Christie

My rating 5 stars

Someone suggests that people should be careful when it comes to giving names to thier children, here Hercule Poirot realeses the resemblence of his name to this of Hercules. Then a thought comes to his head: There should be, once again, THE LABOURS OF HERCULES.. in a modern way, before his final retirement.

My opinion
I enjoyed this book especially because it contains shorter murder mysteries with Hercule Poirot that are real...more
This collection of short stories is not Christie's best work, definitely not, but it is enjoyable enough and easy to read. I appreciated the wide variety of cases Poirot investigates: this book is not just about murders but also about a lost dog, a called-off engagement, a stolen cup, a cocaine league, and a religious cult.

However, I think the stories were too short: I never had time to form any sort of ideas about or feelings for any characters, which made the results seem flat. I also disliked...more
The great Belgian detective is nearing a self-imposed retirement from active cases, but feels that he wishes to end his career with a number of cases that (at least to him) are similar to the twelve labors of the original Hercules. Ranging from dog-napping to a missing persons case to jewelry theft and drug dealing, Poirot allows his little grey cells (with the assistance of returning characters like Detective Inspector Japp and the ever helpful George, among others) to conclude each of these la...more
Amanda Jaczkowski
I'll just start off by saying that I love Agatha Christie. This particular book was a series of twelve short mysteries, making it a fast paced and easy read. There was not a lot of depth, but her writing style is uncanny.

I was surprised to have multiple references to India, including a servant named Abdul, multiple references to "henna dyed hair", and at least one dropping of the word "wallah".

This brings me to a side-bar. How much of books do we just pass over and not understand? How many peo...more
Really excellent stories, with good twists (though after reading a dozen or so Christie's one gets to figure out that if you are sympathetic to the character or if they are the most unsuspecting in personality, they are most likely the criminal). Each of the stories are fairly fresh and very interesting. Poirot's analysis of the ancient Greeks at the beginning of the book was definitely one of my favorite parts though, -quite hilarious in fact- as he puts them down in his very Hercule Poirotian...more
Probably because they're so short and there's no room for a well-rounded development of mysteries, but I saw most of them coming and so didn't enjoy them that much.
It was okay. Sadly, I didn't like it much. Hercule Poirot was acting like a match-maker and I found it quite annoying. I was tempted a lot to just skim through stories but I didn't do it; though, it was immensely hard to go through page after page of not at all interesting book. I couldn't help looking at the page number and find out how many more were left to read; needless to say, I was ecstatic when I was done with it. Maybe I didn't like it much because I was sick while reading it but I can'...more
An Odd1
Why bother with imaginative chapter titles if no preceding table of contents to summarize? Belgian magnificently mustachioed Hercule Poirot decides to choose cases preceding retirement by vague harking to the mythical ten labors of Greek hero Hercules - Nemean Lion (kidnapped Pekinese dogs), Lernean Hydra (village gossip accuses haggard Dr Oldfield of poisoning invalid wife to wed pretty Jean Moncrieffe), Arcadian Deer (mechanic Ted Williamson, handsome as "Greek god" p50 seeks lovely blonde mai...more
Hercule Poirot is generally an annoying character, and his mysteries tend to be a lot of people telling him how brilliant he is, then absurdly long interviews with no action, then a dramatic reveal. This collection of short stories, though, is a creative and engaging way to use the character. The basic premise is that the detective gives himself a challenge (one that works better if we call a duck a duck and acknowledge that the challenge here is a literary one for Christie) that he will take a...more
Anu Harchu
Херкиүл Пуароу нэгэнт тэтгэвэртээ гарах нас нь болжээ. Гэсэн ч мэргэжилдээ дуртайг хэлэх үү шууд салж чадахгүй л байлаа. Нэгэн найзтайгаа энэ тухайгаа ярьж байтал түүний өөрийнх нь нэрний тухай яриа орж ирнэ. (Херкиүл гэсэн нэр бол Херкулесийн арай өөр хувилбар нь юм.) Яг тэр үед Пуароу ахин яг 12 ажил хүлээн авах бөгөөд энэ нь Херулесийн үйлдсэн 12 үйлтэй шууд бус утгаар адилхан байх юм.

Херкулесийн үйлс ном бол бүрэн хэмжээний тууж биш юм. Энэ нь тус тусдаа өрнөл бүхий 12 бүлэг хэргээс...more
Adam Graham
Poirot's begins a quest due to an obnoxious guest who mocks Poirot's name and the amazing fact that Poirot knows little of the Greek classics given that he was named Hercules and his brother Achillies. Egged on by the professor, Poriot decides to read the classics and is shocked by the lack of morality of the Greek gods and that his namesake was all muscle and no brain. Right then and there, Poirot vows to give the modern world something that's truly admirable: his own labours of Hercules. Poiro...more
Poirot commits himself to retirement – once he has solved 12 cases which resemble the famed 12 labours of Hercules.

Is there a more unusual book in the Christie canon? "The Labours" are some of the last short stories Christie wrote (possibly the last?) and she brings a consummate skill – in both prose and construction – that wasn’t always present in the early days. Without Hastings, or indeed any narrator, we get to see Poirot at his most arrogant. It’s pleasant that Christie would let her charac...more
This is cheating a little as I actually read these in the collected short stories (though they were in order with the preface from the stand alone collection tying it all together).

They're a mixed bag of 12 short stories, loosely linked as Hercule aims to retire (again) after completing his own labours. Some of the associations and modern themes are quite subtle and clever (hydra = gossip) though a few are stretched pretty thin. Still, the same with any Poirot short stories, some good, some ok,...more
The Labors of Hercules – A. Christie
Audio performance by Hugh Fraser
4 stars

Hercule Poirot is about to retire. Leaving his detecting career behind, he plans to take his little grey cells to the country where he will cultivate gourmet vegetable marrows. Before he departs, he determines to undertake 12 more cases; cases of special and particular interest, which will mirror the labors of the classical Hercules. Twelve cases that also give Agatha Christie an opportunity to write 12 wonderful short...more
I first started reading Agatha Christie when I was 11 or 12--and now I'm almost 43. Miss Marple or Poirot? Poirot, vraiment!I love the little egg-shape headed, puffed up, mustachioed, Belgium detective. Somewhere in the last decade or two, Christie's books became "comfort reading" for me. And yesterday, recovering from some nasty stomach flu, I re-read, yet again, "The Labors of Hercules," wherein our protagonist is contemplating permanent retirement to the country to raise a better crop of vege...more
Geert Daelemans
Hercule Poirot goes Greek

As always, Hercule Poirot is on the verge of retirement. But before he settles down to cultivate vegetable marrows once and for all, he decides to take on twelve last cases, in honour of his famous mythological predecessor Hercules. The twelve cases are each quite different: from searching for a lost pet to hunting down a ferocious murderer.

Although this is widely considered to be the best of Christie's short story-collections, I do have some doubts about this statement....more
Katherine Rainwater
The book that I was recommended to read was The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie. I wanted to branch out to a new genre and historical fiction seemed to be a good idea, but to be honest this book was not my style. This book is organized as a collection of short stories. Each story in the book represents a new case and a new mystery.

Although the book is broken up into different cases, they are all bound together by Hercule Poirot. Poirot is a famous detective who is solving his last twelve...more
The Labours of Hercules consists of a series of short stories, where the main character, detective Hercule Poirot, solves many typical mysteries that happen in everyday life. Till now, I've reached the end of the sixth story/ labour. Poirot relates these mysteries to the twelve labours of Hercules: The fist mystery goes over dog napping by maids, The second goes over the gossips of people over how the wife of Jean put him under pressure causing him to pay a big amount of money. Then Jean gets po...more
Agatha Christie deserves her title as the Queen of Crime - this book is a masterfully-written collection of short stories about the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, arguably the second most famous literary detective on the market behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.

In this, the skills of Poirot are put to the test as he nears his retirement - the great detective decides to take on twelve final cases, each one of which is to be inspired by the tales of his legendary namesake, Hercule...more
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Agatha Christie L...: July 2014 - The Labours of Hercules 15 81 Aug 01, 2014 03:06PM  
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Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880...more
More about Agatha Christie...
And Then There Were None Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1) Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot, #17)

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