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Elephants Can Remember

(Hercule Poirot Mysteries #40)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  24,166 ratings  ·  1,337 reviews
A classic Hercule Poirot investigation, Agatha Christie’s Elephants Can Remember has the expert detective delving into an unsolved crime from the past involving the strange death of a husband and wife.

Hercule Poirot stood on the clifftop. Here, many years earlier, there had been a fatal accident followed by the grisly discovery of two bodies—a husband and wife who had been
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1984 by Berkley (first published November 1972)
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Greg Lisa, there are some unanswered questions here. Poirot and Oliver (Christie's alter ego) talk about remembering the past, right and wrong. Would…moreLisa, there are some unanswered questions here. Poirot and Oliver (Christie's alter ego) talk about remembering the past, right and wrong. Would either of them EVER have entertained the idea that Celia was not Molly's, after all, and ruin Celia's worrying?(less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) That's an opinion, not a question. Go write a review. That's what GR is here for. The question section is for clarification.

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Laurel Young
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Elephants Can Remember made me sad...because I solved it. You see, the reason I hold Dame Agatha Christie in such high regard is that she always outsmarts me, and I don't mind in the least--I love her for her twisted mind. ;) No other author can do it; fond as I am of Christie's Golden Age contemporaries--Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, et. al.--they never baffle me unless they haven't played fair and given me enough to go on. But Agatha...I rarely figure her out ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
“Elephants can remember, but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget.”

My first Christie of 2017. It took me a few attempts to get into the story, not because it was difficult to find a way to engage with the plot but purely because I enjoyed re-reading the opening of the story where Ariadne Oliver, Dame Agatha's alter ego in this series, considers the different ways to wear a hat and which hat is appropriate for which occasion.

I love Ariadne. She's the scatty, sassy,
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, r2018
“She was a lucky woman who had established a happy knack of writing what quite a lot of people wanted to read. Wonderful luck that was, Mrs. Oliver thought to herself.

I actually really enjoyed this novel although it was very different to the usual Agatha Christie murder mysteries. Elephants Can Remember deals with a cold case, one devoid of threat or danger, where Poirot tries to put together events that happened 12 years prior. This could sound drab but for the brilliance of Ariadne Oliver.
When I first read this novel, I did not realise that it was among the late ones, published in 1972 (and AC died in 1976).
Now it was a more conscious read and bearing the publishing date in mind, it really felt a little ... hmm... maybe "tired" is the appropriate word.

The mystery in itself was quite intriguing, but the way it was presented, was not. Hercule Poirot and Mrs Oliver both lacked energy and the solution was also just an eye-witness eventually confirming & telling what happened.

Mar 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hercule-poirot
This was my least favorite of all the Poirot novels. On the surface it was a Poirot novel, possessing all the necessary elements: the complicated mystery, the little clues that don't seem at first relevant, the humor that comes out mainly through the side kick full of fanciful ideas, the love story between two young people, and of course, Poirot himself. But despite all these elements, the entire book read, not like an Agatha Christie, but like someone attempting to write in the style of Agatha ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
Before the middle of the book, I already knew the solution to the crimes. Moreover, the explanation for the crimes was too melodramatic. And I love Poirot, but he appears little in this story, as Ariadne Oliver does too many investigations. Well, I read it in my native language and I got it from the public library where I work, but I have this book in the original in my home. Now, I don't know when I will read this story again to improve my English.
mark monday
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Choose Your Own Adventure!

The elephant brain is denser than the human’s, and the temporal lobes, associated with memory, are more developed than in humans. Elephant lobes also have more folding, so that they can store more information. That’s why elephants have excellent memory. But why? Elephants can recognize over 200 different individuals. This is essential, as females depend on one another for raising the young, more than in the case of other mammals. A mother can remember who is trustful
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing an audio book is difficult because you have to separate out the different aspects: story, narrator and how well the story works in this media.
First, the story feels a bit typical and mundane with no real excitement or cause pushing the storyline along. It really comes down to a bunch of old people gossiping over a murder-suicide. The whole justification for this matter being brought to light just doesn't compel one to care all that much.
The narrator did a superb job differentiating the
Karen ⊰✿
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: towerteamsvi
Poirot is still my favourite of AC's detectives. And every time I read one, I picture David Suchet in my mind. :)
Ariadne Oliver returns in this book and she is such a fantastic character. Apparently she is slightly auto-biographical and if that is the case than Ms Christie must have been a ton of fun to be around.

As usual, there are loads of clues and potential plot lines, and although I mostly got there, I still didn't quite solve everything. Great fun!
Alexa ❤️
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Elephants can remember," said Mrs Oliver, "but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget." (Ariadne Oliver page 299).

4 Stars

Elephants can remember was a satisfying read about a cold case from approximately 20 years ago where everyone involved remembers different things about the victims; you don't know who is right, wrong and which if any of it is relevant. But of course it is nothing for Hercule Poriot's little grey cells.

It was interesting (as I knew who done it via
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ariadne Oliver plays a large part in the solving of a cold case. While it's a Poirot story, Ariadne takes up much of the book, to-ing and fro-ing, and shamelessly pumping various individuals involved with the murdered inviduals for information about the odd case. She's hilarious, and for that alone, I'm giving this book 3.5 stars.
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was too distracted by the impossible timeline of Mrs. Oliver's age vs. the length of time she and Poirot have been friends to focus on the story.

If she was a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding, then they must have been around the same age--presumably within five years of each other. Now, if that school friend was 35 when she died, and her death occurred 13 years ago, that would make Mrs. Oliver at most 53 years old. How, then could she and Poirot have been friends for 40 years, as she says in
Hiba Arrame
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: paper-copies
I wouldn't say I didn't like it, but it wasn't really that good, nor that captivating. But I must say that I absolutely loved the ending where everything came together, even though I had my suspicions even before it was declared.
It's a story of love and jealousy and mental unstableness. Quite interesting.
Richard Derus
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
“She was a lucky woman who had established a happy knack of writing what quite a lot of people wanted to read. Wonderful luck that was, Mrs. Oliver thought to herself.”--Ariadne Oliver

One more to go! I have read all the Christie Poirot books in order, the last couple years or so, and this is the last one she wrote, published in 1972, when she was 81, though she wrote the last intended one in the series, Curtain, in the forties, to be released at the conclusion of the series. The first, The
Sharon :)
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me a book released in my birth year for my reading challenge. ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ttv, mystery
Rating: 3/5

12 or so years after the fact, Poirot is determined to solve this mystery. A husband and wife were found dead - was it a suicide pact, or did one shoot the other, and then themselves? After a strange woman approaches Ariadne Oliver asking this, Ariadne brings the issue to Poirot, and together, they attempt to find any sort of clue that will point them in the right direction. Was it because one of them had failing health, and they decided they couldn't live without each other? Was
Good, quick mystery book. Had some great developments and once you get to the part of the dog you can kind of predict what happens but it was still a good story.

My quick and simple overall, great way to spend a few hours.
Kim Kaso
A 4+, not top level, but very pleasing, nonetheless. As with most of the Mrs. Oliver/Poirot books, a little too much Ariadne, but I can forgive that. Many red herrings, and many trips into the past...I had it figured out early on, as soon as twins & wigs entered the discussion, but after years of reading Christie & other mysteries, it is hard to be totally surprised. Second tier Christie, but still very entertaining & fun. Just right for being sick in bed, as I have been most of this ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Mrs. Christie book's that have Mrs. Oliver in them.
This one was about a terrible tragedy in the past, that won't stay buried. Two people died was it a suicide pact, did one kill the other, or was it an outside killer.
To be honest the only thing I did not care for with this book, is that the solution was obvious half way through the book.
However the character's, especially Mrs. Oliver was worth reading to the end. This may not be one of her best, but it is a great story, a tragic story,
Nikki Nielsen
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is a Hercule Poirot/Ariadne Oliver Christie. I love the way the slightly pompous(rightly so) investigator Poirot and his dear mystery writing friend Ariadne interact. I found myself wondering if Agatha was painting a picture of herself in Miss Oliver's character.
'Elephants Can Remember' is your basic cold case file, solved. The trail is cold, and there are no true clues to inspect, only vague hints by those in-directly involved so long ago. 'Old sins
Unfortunately, this one was predictable.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say. This was my favorite Poirot book in some time (the last one being Death on the Nile) and everything worked wonderfully throughout.

Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, mystery writer, is approached by an older woman (Mrs. Burton-Cox) at a luncheon about her goddaughter's (Celia Ravenscroft) possible engagement to this woman's son (Desmond). The woman wants to if Celia possibly knows more than she is telling about a probable murder suicide by her parents more than a decade ago.

Mrs. Oliver, feeling
Vikas Singh
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
Give it to Agatha Christie's superb story telling skills that the ace detective Poiroit is able to solve the mystery long after the crime has been committed. The only Poiroit novel in which his investigative effort is amply supported by another person. However compared to her other crime novels, this one is a bit flat as the end is abrupt and there are just too many coincidences.
Jasmine Darcy
Update: Noooo! I've been spoiled for this book and I'm not sure if I'm ever going to pick this up.
Me and my dang spoiler-attracting eyes...
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, classics
Reading this at the same time as Agatha Christie's autobiography made it super fun. I see SO much of Agatha in Mrs. Oliver.
I guessed what happened, and how, but I think much of that is I've read a LOT of Agatha Christie in the last few years. And really there weren't a lot of red herrings in this one.

Edited: I dropped it to 3 stars after thinking about it/ discussing it a bit more. Specifically, there were some mysteries that happened that were set up but never resolved. But still - very fun to
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dame Agatha Christie wrote more than eight dozen mysteries in her lengthy lifetime, and Elephants Can Remember is nearly one of the last. But the old girl had lost none of her charm or wit in a novel that came more than 50 years after her first, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

An interfering busybody monopolizes the mystery author Ariadne Oliver (a delicious sendup Christie created of herself) at a literary luncheon about a 15-year-old tragedy in which an old schoolmate of Mrs. Oliver’s and her
Loved!!! ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Too repetitive. Worst Christie book ever
Dame Agatha Christie and Her Peers
At one point in Christie's real life, she disappeared for about 2 weeks and there was never an explanation from her or anyone. Here, Christie's alter ego, Adriadne Oliver, repeats incessantly 'elephants can remember' and Christie uses the word 'elephant' on about every page. She's too good a writer* to do that without a good reason (and surely an editor would have removed half the 'elephants'), but I think she DID have a good reason: she's telegraphing
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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 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in

Other books in the series

Hercule Poirot Mysteries (1 - 10 of 42 books)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)
  • The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)
  • The Lemesurier Inheritance: A Hercule Poirot Short Story
  • 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: A Mystery Play in Three Acts (Hercule Poirot, #7)
  • Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8)
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)
“Elephants can remember, but we are human beings and mercifully human beings can forget.” 60 likes
“She was a lucky woman who had established a happy knack of writing what quite a lot of people wanted to read.” 55 likes
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