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The Big Four

(Hercule Poirot #4)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  47,345 ratings  ·  3,713 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? We follow Hercule Poirot as he finds hims ...more
Paperback, Agatha Christie Signature Edition, 272 pages
Published 2002 by HarperCollinsPublishers (first published January 27th 1927)
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Rachel Winters Achilles is Hercule's "twin." I just finished rereading this book because I'm a big AC fan, and I realized I had not read it in years. Now, I know why…moreAchilles is Hercule's "twin." I just finished rereading this book because I'm a big AC fan, and I realized I had not read it in years. Now, I know why. It's possibly among AC's 10 worst books and by far, in my opinion, the worst Poirot/Hastings book. It is third or fourth at the beginning of her career and I suspect she was trying things out. She had not decided exactly what to do with Hastings so she portrays him as a bumbling idiot. She got the nuance better in later books when she went with the lovable fool persona. I skimmed a lot. (less)

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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
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
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
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. ...more
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
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
This one reads more like a spoof of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes than Christie's Poirot.


The Big Four is a sinister group of evil Moirartyesque masterminds who are poised to take over the world, and only Poirot is clever enough to stop them because no one else is even aware of their existence.
Silly Scotland Yard.


I will say that the best/goofiest thing about the story is that Poirot dons disguises and hones his spycraft with gadgets that shoot knockout gas. But the crowning moment is when he (view s
Jun 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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؛
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
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
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.

Anca-Daniela Spataru
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars plus , one of her best
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
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books, christie
I started reading it with a fair bit of misgivings.I had seen plenty of one and two star reviews,but despite that,I bought it as I want to read all of Christie's books.

It is the story of a gang of four master criminals,intent on world domination.It is a thriller,rather than a typical Christie whodunit.

Christie's thrillers aren't as well plotted as her whodunits,and not all that plausible.But are they fun ? You bet they are.(They Came to Baghdad is another case in point).

Poirot doesn't just use h
Dave 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
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
Apr 20, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Back for another instalment of the Agatha Christie collection, I looked to the fifth book in the Hercule Poirot collection. Christie moves away from the whodunit and into the world of a thriller for this piece, which offers some vastly different things for those who have come to enjoy her sly writing style. Captain Arthur Hastings is back from some time away, only to find his old flat mate, Hercule Poirot in the thick of things. It would seem that he is alerted to the presence of The Big Four, a ...more
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
The Big Four is different from other Hercule Poirot stories and even though it was interesting I admit it's not my favourite one but it's still a better crime novel than others of the same genre.
In The Big Four crimes are being committed but not due to personal reasons and Poirot and Hastings are faced with more criminals that the usual one and I think it's because of those things that I didn't quite enjoy this story!
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
Jack Heath
2 Stars. Rarely have I not reveled in a Christie novel featuring Hercule Poirot. This one was unstructured, tied together with feathers, and most importantly, the premise was totally unrealistic! As explained by Poirot, an international conspiracy lead by four extraordinary villains is planning world domination. He asserts that he and Hastings are the ones to stop them and states, "From their [secret] headquarters, the leaders of the organization will issue by wireless their orders to their foll ...more
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
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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..

Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though a decent mystery, this definitely isn't the author's best. If you're new to the works of Agatha Christie, I suggest trying one of her other whodunits instead. ...more
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
Dr. 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
Wanda Pedersen
Agatha Christie may be most loved for her mysteries, but she was obviously highly enamoured with writing in the espionage genre (see The Secret Adversary, The Man in the Brown Suit, and The Secret of Chimneys) . So what could be better than a spy story investigated by Hercule Poirot! With the added benefit that Christie could bring Captain Hastings back to be Watson to Poirot's Sherlock.

She has such fun with Hastings! He may be married, but he still has an admiring eye for an auburn haired woman
Silvia C.
Mar 28, 2022 rated it liked it
rating 2.55
It was not the best. I think it didn't work for me because of the string of short stories. They made sense, but the fragmentation reduced the charm that I expect from AC novels. I can appreciate it as a story telling technique, but maybe the execution was not great.
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Play Book Tag: The Big Four by Agath Christie - 3 Stars 1 8 Apr 12, 2022 05:41AM  
Play Book Tag: (WPF) The Big Four / Agatha Christie - 1* 2 11 Mar 13, 2022 11:08AM  
Spanish Readers: Los cuatro grandes #5 HP [Septiembre 2019] 3 70 Feb 05, 2020 08:50PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN duplicate 6 23 Dec 31, 2019 11:37PM  

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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.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa 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

Other books in the series

Hercule Poirot (1 - 10 of 34 books)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)
  • The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #3)
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot, #5)
  • Black Coffee: A Mystery Play in Three Acts (Hercule Poirot, #6)
  • Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #7)
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #8)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #9)
  • Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #10)
  • Death in the Clouds (Hercule Poirot, #11)

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“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.”
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