Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5)” as Want to Read:
The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Big Four

(Hercule Poirot #5)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  34,939 ratings  ·  2,441 reviews
Framed in the doorway of Poirot’s bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man’s gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell. Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what was the significance of the figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a world ...more
Paperback, Agatha Christie Signature Edition, 272 pages
Published 2002 by HarperCollinsPublishers (first published January 27th 1927)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  34,939 ratings  ·  2,441 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5)
John
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a weird one. Apparently (I looked this up, because the book was so weird) Christie wrote a series of short stories about Poirot for some magazine and these stories were mashed together into this book. You can sort of tell that something like this is up, because the mashing didn't work all that well and things still seem a little disjointed.
But really, the main problem here is that Poirot is fighting a team of supervillains, and he uses disguises and smoke bombs and has to find their sec
...more
Jaline
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-completed
Written in 1927, Hercule Poirot and Mr. Hastings pursue the existence of “The Big Four” – a Chinese man, an American man, a Frenchwoman, and an Englishman known as “the Destroyer” – in a quest to sideline their leadership in a conspiracy of global control.

Papers are discovered that refer to ”. . . some powerful wireless installation – a concentration of wireless energy far beyond anything so far attempted, and capable of focusing a beam of great intensity upon some given spot.” There is also
...more
Evgeny
Nov 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Review updated on May 1, 2019.

Before the review I just want to ask a couple of questions. What was The Queen of Mystery smoking? It this stuff still available in 21st century?
Cheech and Chong

On to the review: the only reason I can justify the existence of this abomination is that it is a parody (I hope it is) of Sherlock Holmes vs. Prof. Moriarty duel of wits. Basically, there is an international crime cartel led by 4 people the last of whom is a ruthless killer whose identity is unknown. It is up to Poirot an
...more
Fiona
Once upon a time, Agatha Christie stayed up way too late, drank her way through three bottles of Chardonnay and watched a Sean Connery James Bond film. As she was going to bed, some time about 3am, her eyes rested for a moment on her typewriter. I would not be in the least surprised if that was all she remembered about this book. For shame, Agatha. This is exactly the same reason I'm not allowed whisky and Twitter on the same evening any more.
Adrian
Now apparently (allegedly ?) this book was a "mash-up" of short stories that ended up as a novel, and some people have criticised the book for that very fact. Personally if I hadn't been told this "fact" I wouldn't have guessed, although, it is set out as a series of little mysteries. I quite liked this format as I lived with the progression of the overall storyline, as Hastings and Poirot battled the Big Four through a series of adventures.

Strangely I had never read this book before, I don't kn
...more
Kim
Jun 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bionic Jean
About half way through this novel, I began to wonder just why there were so many characters. Agatha Christie often tried to bemuse her readers, by having a largish cast of characters to provide plenty of red herrings, but in this one, she really seemed to have taken this to the limit. It seemed as if in each chapter, we dispensed with most of those in the earlier ones, and were introduced to others. The only linking feature seemed to be that of The Big Four. It was more like reading a series of ...more
Susan
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was published in 1927. It follows, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” and it also followed Christie’s notorious eleven day disappearance; an event which haunted her all her life. Devastated by the death of her mother, and the breakdown of her marriage, her brother in law suggested that she re-work some short stories, previously published in “The Sketch,” an American magazine. Due to the publicity surrounding her disappearance, “The Big Four,” was a huge success – much more so than, “The M ...more
Calista
This feels like Agatha Christie's ode to Sherlock Holmes. The story is told through the 'Watson' character, a friend of Poirot and we see how amazed and blundering he is compared to Poirot. The villain in this story is a crime syndicate called the Big 4 and they are supposed to be super villains. Each of the 4 come from different countries.

Poriot must bring down this hidden cabal that governments don't believe exists. The story is solid, it simply doesn't feel original. I do enjoy reading about
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The big four (Hercule Poirot #5), 1927, Agatha Christie
The Big Four is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by William Collins & Sons on 27 January 1927 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. It features Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Inspector (later, Chief Inspector) Japp. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and six pence and the US edition at $2.00.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هجدهم سپتامبر سال 2011 میلادی
عنوان: چهار غول بزرگ؛
...more
BrokenTune
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
‘But Poirot— why?’

This is possibly the most appropriate quotation I can choose to describe the book.

The Big Four has one of the silliest plots of Christie's books which is based on Poirot and Hastings engaging in international crime and espionage - much in the same way that Holmes and Watson do,just in a more believable way. Where Holmes is reserved enough to carry off disguises and under-cover work, Poirot's flamboyance has him stick out like a sore thumb all over the place, and Christie's at
...more
Jokoloyo
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a weird Hercule Poirot story. Not the usual mystery murder of a person from the upper class members of society. More like a thriller or a quicker pace mystery of Sherlock Holmes. What do you think about a story where Hercule Poirot against a crime organisation that aim for worldly power? If that premise is not bothering you, please proceed.

I could still give it a three star until the middle part. Alas, the ending is not so satisfying. Without spoiler, that's all I can say for now.

No
...more
Dita
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Agatha! Aggie! What the hell???

I love me some Agatha but girlfriend hit the hooch when she cobbled these short stories together and tried to pretend they were a book.

See you in the next one, Hercule!
Poonam
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
This being the 5th book in the Poirot series is very different from any other Poirot book or in fact different to any other Christie book that I have read till date.

Instead of a cozy setting of a house, village or hand few of suspicious people with multiple red herrings, this is about an International Gang - Big Four . This famous gang comprises of 4 people and we know the identity of one of the members right away.

We come to know the identity of the remaining members as and when the
...more
Erin
2.75 stars

Book #4 in my Agatha Christie Challenge

Disclaimer: My local library had a very old copy of this title and so I spent a lot of time trying to find the exact cover, so this edition while not exactly the cover of my copy is the correct publishing company and amount of pages.


Prior to beginning this read, I couldn't help but notice that several readers were less than thrilled about Hercule Poiriot in this conspiracy theory type mystery. Although I agree that it is far from the masterpiec
...more
David Schaafsma
If you are looking into reading one Christie/Poirot book to check out what they are like, don't choose this one. This has to be one of Christie's worst efforts, a "departure," though only her fifth Poirot book. Maybe calling it an experiment would work, though that would be generous. I looked into background about the book and I learned that in this year Christie's mother died and she discovered her husband was having an affair, so their marriage was ending. She was as a result strapped for cash ...more
Piyangie
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic-mystery
If you want to see Hercule Poirot in the shoes of either Sherlock Holmes or James Bond, The Big Four is one for you. For me, I don't want to see the eccentric little Belgian detective wearing any other's shoes but his own, so you can understand why I'm disappointed.

The Big Four is the odd man out in the Poirot series. It is not a murder-mystery story per se, although several murders occur in the continuance of the story. It is not even a mystery I would say, more like a spy story. The great Her
...more
Tim
Jan 19, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What the hell did I just read?

See that rating? That's a one star rating. Had you asked me a week ago I would have said that Christie did not write one star books. Sure some are of much lesser quality, but one star seems rather much. Had this book been written by some other author with some other character it would have possibly been entertainingly bad enough to receive two stars. Here it is an insult to the characters and a bit of a train wreck.

This is bad... like so bad that if feels like it wa
...more
Juli
For years I wanted to read everything Agatha Christie wrote....every book, every short story and each play. But life is always so busy....and Christie wrote more than 60 detective novels and 14 short story collections. I came to love Christie's books when I was 9 and bought my first Hercule Poirot books at a garage sale. For years, I carried a tattered list of her books I didn't already own in my purse, buying titles to fill in my collection when I could. But I never found time to read most of t ...more
Laurel Young
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
I love the fact that Agatha Christie was always experimenting with new ways of writing mysteries, rather than resting on her considerable laurels. By 1927 she had already written such masterpieces as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, so I have no doubt that The Big Four was an intentional departure from her previous work. Unfortunately, it is not one of her more successful efforts. An adventure story doesn't play to her strengths at all. The Big Four is one cliche after another, with Poirot and Hasti ...more
Ashley
At first listening to this audiobook, I was enjoying myself quite a bit. Poirot was there, Hastings was there, back from Brazil, and aren’t we all having a good time now that this mysterious man has shown up in the bedroom, and then expired. Except pretty quickly after that, I realized in fact that the book was not good, and I was not enjoying myself, and even though I did listen to the whole thing in its entirety, I did not *listen* to the book in its entirety. (Quick note: Hugh Fraser remains ...more
Mary ♥
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars

If one man does not make a move, the other must, and by permitting the adversary to make the attack one learns something about him.

I will be honest with you. I had far higher expectations for this story, considering it is Agatha Christie we are talking about. I was expecting a cleverly plotted mystery like in the Seven Dials, but instead found myself reading something that resembled a "badly made" spy movie with conspiracies about world domination and repeated plotlines. A lot of ti
...more
Julie
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I truly enjoyed this absorbing tale, which helped focus my racing mind, as I listened intently for clues. A passage that stood out for me is: "Now, there are two classes of actors, the one who sinks himself in his part, and the one who manages to impress his personality upon it. It is from the latter class that actor managers usually spring. They seize a part and mold it to their own personality. The former class is quite likely to spend its days doing Mr. Lloyd George at different music halls o ...more
Wafae | 와파 (hiatus)
FIVE STARS!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hercule Poirot is the GOAT!
That was genuis despite it being only his #5th case!

Dear folks,
what a treat you have ahead of you!

Nothing could've been written and narrated more beautifully than it was. Agatha's attention to details is as brilliant as Poirot's mind is. I want to emphasize on Poirot and Hastings' relationship, such a strong and amazing connection, I truly respect that❤️ kinda makes one wish fictional characters were real..

#Big4
Emily
This book is batshit insane and thus, very enjoyable. I would recommend that you read this only if you have read all other Poirot books, because reading The Big Four will give you the mistaken impression that Poirot is a James Bond-style detective who works on an international scale to bring down sinister cabals of criminals. As we all know, Poirot primarily shines when he is placed in an English country house closed-circle mystery, not when he is busy faking his own death and sending Hastings u ...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Christie goes down a James Bond-esque route with a sinister international organisation aiming at world domination and with an all-powerful death ray at their disposal - luckily, though, we have Hastings and Poirot in our corner who, with no more than ze little grey cells, a sprinkling of aniseed on the shoes (so that bloodhounds can track them, you see) and some up-and-at-'em attitude manage to foil every dastardly plot and restore world peace - phew!

So... not one of Christie's best though there
...more
Gayathri
Read the full review at Elgee Writes

My initial thoughts
The Classics N Christie has been reading Agatha Christie’s books based on the publication dates. This has been very helpful for me to understand the different writing and story telling styles that the author has been trying. I wish I could The Big Four is one of those attempts, that kinda bombed for me.

Earlier in the Murder on the Links, Dame Christie tried her hand at romance in mystery novels which I didn’t enjoy much. I enjoyed her take
...more
Moira Fogarty
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
I hesitate to use the word "awful" in association with the Queen of Crime, but this is a bad egg. Penned (some say ghost-written) during Dame Agatha's worst year: In 1926, her mother died and her husband told her he was in love with another woman and wanted a divorce.

No wonder she was off her game, poor dear.

Originally published in serial format, this cluster of overblown spy adventures should never have featured portly, inactive Poirot & clueless Hastings as the heroes. They just don't fit. Ja
...more
Katie Lumsden
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one, though it wasn't my favourite Agatha Christie – a bit more adventure mystery than murder mystery, but great fun.
Richard Derus
May 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2* of five

Middling-at-best early 20th century spy fiction short stories.

A melodramatic and ghastly filmed version.

One and only one reason to watch the filmed version is the reunion of Miss Lemon, Japp, Hastings, and Poirot. But get tipsy first because your common sense is about to be done a violence.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot, #45.5)
  • Spider's Web
  • Peril at End House
  • The Impossible Boy
  • The Unexpected Guest
  • The Mystery of Three Quarters (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #3)
  • অহিংশের খেল
  • Giant's Bread
  • Un cadáver en la mansión Sainsbury
  • The Monogram Murders (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries, #1)
See similar books…
41,963 followers
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 t
...more

Other books in the series

Hercule Poirot (1 - 10 of 45 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 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)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)
  • Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #11)

Related Articles

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Science fiction godfather Ray Bradbury said...
57 likes · 29 comments
“He laughs best who laughs at the end.” 45 likes
“He dragged me back - just in time. A tree had crashed down on to the side walk, just missing us. Poirot stared at it, pale and upset.
"It was a near thing that! But clumsy, all the same - for I had no suspicion - at least hardly any suspicion. Yes, but for my quick eyes, the eyes of a cat, Hercule Poirot might now be crushed out of existence - a terrible calamity for the world. And you, too, mon ami - though that would not be such a national catastrophe."
"Thank you," I said coldly.”
12 likes
More quotes…