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Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot #11)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  11,753 Ratings  ·  577 Reviews
The novel opens as a theatre programme, with this telling credit: 'Illumination by HERCULE POIROT.' Light must be shed, indeed, on the fateful dinner party staged by the famous actor Sir Charles Cartwright for thirteen guests. It will be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, whose martini glass, sent for chemical analysis after h ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by HarperCollins (first published 1935)
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Linette S.R I suppose because suspicion would immediately fall on him. After all, a wife/husband is always the primarily suspect.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Laurel Young
May 06, 2011 Laurel Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2016 Veronique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Illumination by:

Christie seems here to have had fun by using the theatre, which she loved, to shape the form and content of this novel. As the title announces, the story is broken into three acts - Suspicion, Certainty and Discovery. Actors take the limelight in the midst of the more usual characters, such as doctors, priests and aristocracy, that people Agatha's casts.

Poirot is actually absent for most of the narration, the investigative work done instead by Sir Charles Cartwrig
Aug 29, 2016 Lexie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2016
I guess it's a testament in and of itself that when it comes to Agatha Christie, I:
- devour a book in one sitting,
- remain thoroughly lost to the outside world in the interim, and
- never even read the synopsis - I wholeheartedly trust that whichever book I pick will be worthwhile.

But then, Agatha Christie was my childhood. Say what you will, but even when it comes to evil and muuuuuuuurder, we tend to trust our childhood. Nostalgia. Memories. Rose-tinted glasses.

And, in Agatha Christie's case -
David Schaafsma
Poirot #11: Christie's and Poirot’s Class in Observation

“The trouble is, that nobody observes anything,” Mr. Crossfield said.

How do we observe? Christie, continuing her focus on theater-based mysteries, supposes (through Poirot) that actors, playwrights, theater-goers and detectives all can observe closely, though they will obviously typically notice different things. But who observes best, according to Poirot? You guessed it. A coolly rational egg-head shaped Belgian.

Story: A recently retired
Richard Derus
Aug 30, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: At an apparently respectable dinner party, a vicar is the first to die...Thirteen guests arrived at dinner at the actor's house. It was to be a particularly unlucky evening for the mild-mannered Reverend Stephen Babbington, who choked on his cocktail, went into convulsions and died. But when his martini glass was sent for chemical analysis, there was no trace of poison -- just as Poirot had predicted. Even more troubling for the great detective, there was ab
Moonlight Reader
Sep 26, 2016 Moonlight Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w-o-b-b-l-e
A good one!
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
This book was a bit frustrating for awhile. Hardly any Hercule Poirot was in it! Even so, I grew a bit bored and not just because of the absence of the detective. At first the story was all over the place before the middle act, which was distracting. The characters and scenes were interesting enough for a bit, but meh...I kept wanting to skim ahead after awhile. Much of it was thoughtful dialogue among secondary characters without any continuing ties to go on.

After page 128, seriously, Hercule
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I didn't like it. I found it very boring in a lot of moments and trust me, I love Agatha's books but this one was boring.
Feb 07, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 o 4.5 estrellas
Me encantó este libro, como siempre me sorprendí mucho al descubrir quién era el asesino, nunca me lo imaginé! La explicación del caso y conocido lo resuelve Poirot fue sin duda una de mis partes favoritas.
Próxima reseña en
Raghad Frehat
من اروع روايات اجاثا كريستي,والأروع انو فيها هيركول بوارو :P

So, this is obviously my absolutely favorite Hercule Poirot novel, since I was such a genius that I solved the crime before the chapters got into double digits. I couldn't guess the motive, but I knew who did it, how said person did it, and other specifics of the crime fairly early on! Christie had me second-guessing myself about half way through, but I stuck with my own detecting skills and was richly rewarded at the end. figuratively of course.

You know, it's really not f
Trish at Between My Lines
3.5 stars and it's puzzling and fun. I was warned that the last line was a memorable one and IT SO WAS.

I loved the way the book was written in 3 acts like a play and that it included a casting list at the start. The language too really evoked that play theme and the dramatic events unfolded with momentum. Like all Agatha Christie books it's expertly crafted and gives you enough clues/red herrings to keep you guessing and eagerly reading.

I was a little sad at how little page time Poirot had as h
Dennis Brock
This was my 10th book in my quest to finish every Poirot mystery written by Christie. I rather appreciated the fact that once again the author used a unique style in presenting this mystery. Every book seems to be written differently and I love that! With that being said though I was disappointed that Poirot was not really in the novel until well after a hundred pages. But once he was around he was in top form! I also struggled to understand the motive for the murders, and felt it was a rather w ...more
Burçak Kılıç
Yok yaaa bunda basta bir suru karaktere yer verilmesi kafamı karistirdi.. sonradan olaylar oturunca da katil tahmin edilir oldu ve gidisat beni tatmin etmedi.. sönük bir poirot kitabi olmus.
Lina Mouloudj
4.5 stars
an other glamorous Poirot novel.

i faced two problems with that book:

1st problem: i bought it as "The Mysterious Mr Quin", sigh.. how is it possible to publish a book with a wrong title??!!

2nd problem: (which was my fault), i read the reviews on goodreads before reading the book itself, so i found that "The Mysterious Mr Quin" is composed of many short stories, and i honestly dislike that, so i put in mind that i'm gonna read a boring book, so i didn't give it a chance at beginning..

Jan 26, 2011 Sammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In which a clergyman dies at dinner – with no apparent motive or reason – and it’s only the beginning…

On the one hand, it features a varied cast of characters, including a charismatic actor friend of Poirot’s, Sir Charles Cartwright, who dominates the proceedings. Cartwright was played by Tony Curtis in the Ustinov film, and Martin Shaw in the lovely Suchet adaptation, and is the best thing about both the novel and the films. The structure of the murders is well-conceived and elaborate without f
Mar 31, 2015 Arlenis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lee la reseña completa en Hojas de Otoño


Luego subiré una reseña buena pero justo ahora es tarde y tengo sueño, solo diré...

Lectura impecable. Perfecta. La historia te atrapa desde la primera pagina. Te tiene danzando en un sin fin de hipótesis. Los personajes están perfectamente planteados. Y la manera en que se va desarrollando la historia, cada acontecimiento, es simplemente increíble. La autora tiene una imaginación y elocuencia impecable. Realmente no dudare en tomar otr
Dec 08, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, cozy
We have a dinner party (I know, shocking in an Agatha Christie novel) where there are 13 to dinner (another shocker). One of them dies (shocking). The person holding the dinner was a actor (shocking). One of the people at the dinner was a playwright (shocking). Hercule Poirot is the only one that can solve the murder and the others that follow (shocking).

So you get the drift that this is the standard Christie setup.
I was a little bummed that Poirot really didn't enter the novel (other than a few
❆ Crystal ❆
Review for audiobook ~ 4 stars story 5 stars narration.

This is the final installment of the audiobook collection. Poirot s Finest Cases Eight Full-Cast BBC Radio Dramatisations Poirot's Finest Cases Eight Full-Cast BBC Radio Dramatisations by Agatha Christie It was very enjoyable and I had a wonderful time listening to it.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.5 stars

I listened to the audio book, which made it a little hard to keep track of all the characters, but I enjoyed the complexity of this mystery. It also seemed to have more humor than a lot of Agatha's other works. I loved hearing Hercule Poirot's explanation at the end about why he sometimes pretends not to speak English very well. He's a clever one, the little Belgian with the mustachios.
Nov 14, 2015 Alondra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 Stars

Aahh, mon ami...a true mystery.

I had almost given up hope on this one. It was looking like 2 stars at most; then Hercule Poirot and his little gray cells started working. I had an inkling as to who the murderer was; but no idea. I loved how this mystery wrapped up; and yet not so neatly. No one left happy and satisfied after the murderer was found out.
May 10, 2015 Alayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creo que fue más bien de un 4 con algo, pero no me gusta la idea de ponerle menos de cinco.
No fue espectacular como otros, pero sí muy bueno. El final me sorprendió, pero no me voló la cabeza.
Un buen libro entretenido, ligero pero atrapante para sacarse el gusto amargo de otro libro que no te terminó de convencer.
Feb 14, 2014 BrokenTune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, favorites
Review posted on Booklikes:
Aug 19, 2016 Ida rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nancy O'Toole
When Reverend Stephen Babbington dies after consuming a cocktail, the final analysis is that he died of a fit, ruling out murder. That is until a second death takes place in a manner almost identical. Three amateur detectives take the stage: Sir Charles Cartwright, a former actor, his friend Mr. Satterthwaite, and a young woman known as Egg, whom Sir Charles is not so secretly in love with. The trio begins to inspect the guests at each party, but struggle to find how the two murders are connecte ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Olga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Nothing ever happens in a quaint little town of Loomouth, not until the local vicar dies at a dinner party at Sir Charles Cartwright's mansion. The police attribute his death to natural causes and the matter is forgotten until Sir Charles' friend, a renown doctor of psychiatry dies in a chillingly identical fashion. Luckily for them Ercule Poirot is there to untangle the mystery and identify the murderer.

The more I read Agatha Christie's mysteries the more I like them. It seems like with every
Mary Ronan Drew
Sep 13, 2016 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plotting is Agatha Christie's forte of course but she outdoes herself with this 1934 Hercule Poirot mystery. It begins with the death of the beloved rector of the parish, a man without an enemy in the world. Who would want to kill him? Maybe it was natural causes - no poison was found in the martini he had just sipped when he collapsed at a party given by a recently retired actor, Sir Charles Cartwright. When another man dies in a similar manner (only this time it's a glass of port) a post-morte ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Philip rated it liked it
Another Christie re-read: I first read this in 1975 as MURDER IN THREE ACTS, the title under which it was first published in the US in 1935 (it was already evident that her American publisher felt that "Death" or "Murder" in a Christie title made for better sales). It's a smooth read - Christie was in her 'golden age,' here, after futzing around during the 1920s, when she produced a mixture of detective novels and thrillers (and one masterpiece of detection, THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD). During ...more
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Agatha Christie L...: July 2012 - Three Act Tragedy 34 75 Nov 08, 2012 05:12AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Three Act Tragedy/Murder in Three Acts 1 3 Oct 05, 2012 07:36PM  
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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 Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is t
More about Agatha Christie...

Other Books in the Series

Hercule Poirot (1 - 10 of 39 books)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)
  • The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)
  • Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot, #3)
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)
  • The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5)
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot, #6)
  • Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot, #7)
  • Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8)
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)

Share This Book

“Mr. Satterthwaite looked cheered.

Suddenly an idea struck him. His jaw fell.

"My goodness," he cried, "I've only just realized it! That rascal, with his poisoned cocktail! Anyone might have drunk it! It might have been me!"

"There is an even more terrible possibility that you have not considered," said Poirot.


"It might have been me," said Hercule Poirot.”
“One knows so little. When one knows more it is too late.” 20 likes
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