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Cat Among the Pigeons

(Hercule Poirot Mysteries #34)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  26,119 ratings  ·  1,219 reviews
When what looks like an amorous assignation turns out to be an assignation of quite a different sort, a globetrotting murderer leads Hercule Poirot on a breathless chase from a revolution-torn Arab sheikdom to a very respectable English school for young ladies.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by Berkley (first published November 2nd 1959)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  26,119 ratings  ·  1,219 reviews

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3 stars for this slow moving triple homicide mystery which I didn't like as much as others. When I first began this challenge a fellow Goodreads member, paulie, predicted that I would probably solve a case by August! But I was bowled over that I actually had both of the suspects figured out early on the book. Strangely neither of the feline occupants of my couch much cared for my excitement. That's why I feel myself only giving it a 3 star review because A.C. made it too easy and took too long ...more
Simona Bartolotta

“Everybody always knows something," said Adam, "even if it's something they don't know they know.”

Of course, there is a crime (actually, more than one -yay) but there is also espionage and international conspiracies and I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. Cat Among Pigeons definitely is a quite peculiar adventure for Poirot, but nonetheless our Belgian detective solves it as brilliantly as ever.
Besides, I simply adored the epilogue. So cute and poignant.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another entertaining Agatha Christie!

This one, although labelled a Poirot case, only features our favourite Belgian sleuth at the end of the story, taking on the mantle of the 'deus ex machina' to sort it all.

Instead we get a novel that goes from the exoticism of a tale of international conspiracies to the banality of a private girls’ school in England. The author plays with different strands, focusing on a variety of characters, all with a good dose of humour. I personally rather enjoyed
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the first Agatha Christie I have tried and I highly enjoyed the dialogue between the characters. She really knows how to make people real. The murder mystery was equally complicated. She has great storytelling skills.

Now the whole shabang! While the mystery was complicated the storyline itself was just okay. The killer was obvious if you pay close attention to the clues. Hercule Poirot shows up for a brief 15 minutes and solves it! He is freaking talented. Other than his appearance here
Kerrin Parris
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cat Among The Pigeons is Hercule Poirot novel #32. What was odd to me was that Poirot didn't show up until the last third of the novel. He wasn't a prominent figure except, of course, he figured out whodunnit.

The novel starts at the beginning of the summer term when the students are returning to the prestigious Meadowbank girls school. The next chapter takes the reader to two months earlier when there is a coup in the fictional kingdom of Ramat. The Amir trusted his valuable jewels to his
Sophie Hannah
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved all the detail about the school in this novel, which is why I gave it four stars. The plot is not one of Agatha's best, though it's not bad. But, as in Hickory Dickory Dock, Poirot presents much of the solution without telling us how he came to work it out, and Agatha novels work best when we are able to follow the workings of Poirot's mind more closely. However, all the school stuff makes this novel enjoyable and atmospheric.
David Schaafsma
“No sign, so far, of anything sinister—but I live in hope.”—Adam, in Christie

Christie’s Poirot #32, just a few more to go. After a couple of books where (the rich) Christie seems to defer to the poor and minorities in ways not typical for her, she returns for her story to a fairly typical setting, a stunning place filled with rich people! (After reading all these in the gutter noir novels by Cain and Thompson, it is quite a contrast, let me tell ya!). This time it’s Meadowbank, one of the most
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't like this one quite as much as the other two I've read so far, and I'm not sure why. If Mrs. Upjohn recognized someone at the school who she knew from her previous life in intelligence work and knew this person was a trained killer, why would she leave her daughter in the same school and then travel the world? I hate to say that it's a plot hole, but it bothered me slightly.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was entertained by this novel with touches of espionage along with lots of murder. I was amused when Poirot sails in only near the end of the story and tells everyone what’s been going on at a respected girls’ school where everyone seems to be after a bunch of jewels. Thank goodness one of the schoolgirls, Julia, is smart, observant and sensible enough to figure enough out of what’s going on to engage Poirot.
The book is labeled as a Hercule Poirot story but our favorite detective does not make an appearance until more than two thirds of the way into the story. It is not a bad story but it is far from Agatha Christie's best. A revolution in a Middle Eastern country, a fortune in jewels, and a prestigious English girls school are the ties that bind.

Revolution is about to happen in Ramat and Prince Ali Yusef prepares to flee with the help of his friend and pilot, Bob Rawlinson. Before they leave the
Jason Koivu
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, crime
Poirot fans will be disappointed that the diminutive Belgian does not come into this one until very late in this story about murders and mayhem at a prestigious all-girls school. This is not a bad A.C. as things go though. Nice set up and an interest international plot. However, I'd just read Dorothy Sayers Gaudy Night and it handles the almost exact same scenario with more finesse.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The main problem with the Hercule Poirot novel, CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS – and I know this is not a criticism that Dame Agatha Christie would have welcomed at all – is that there just isn’t enough Hercule Poirot in it. It’s probably more than three quarters of the way through before the great Belgian detective shows up, but once he does it’s like the elixir of life has been injected intravenously into the page. He’s such a wonderful character that he immediately invigorates the whole book. And a ...more
Kaethe Douglas
When this was published Christie had already been a best-selling author for more than three decades. She's got it down. Certainly she has fun with the format. Hercule Poirot doesn't appear, isn't even mentioned, until the final act. The girl's school setting is fun: it gives her rein to use all the stereotypes and to demolish them.

This particular book was on Natasha's shelf, which is why I didn't get to it during my Christie run. Saturday night she comes to tell me goodnight and to ask if I know
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another well written, finely crafted classic. Agatha Christie’s books are so timeless. This could have been written 60 days ago, but it was actually written 60 years ago!

Poirot doesn’t actually appear until about 60% of the way in - which was fine by me as for some reason I thought this was a stand-alone. Not sure how, but I failed to notice / realise that this was actually a Poirot, so his appearance was a pleasant surprise.
Laurel Young
Jan 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Cat Among the Pigeons is an atypical Agatha with a number of strengths but a couple of odd weaknesses. I really enjoyed the fact that the first 100 pages are more of a novel of manners than a mystery, focusing on the development of interesting characters at a girls' boarding school. I admit, I picture Waverly Academy from Nancy Drew! When murder finally occurs, the motivation thus has more depth. This would be one of her best but for two detractions: first, it is very odd to bring in Poirot 200 ...more
Bruce Beckham
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I love the historical and social insight that comes ‘as standard’ with an Agatha Christie – presented, of course, through the prism of the author’s own life experience and privileged background. This novel was published in 1959 – the war and rationing had been left behind, a new world order was emerging, and the Middle East was beginning to flex its muscles.

That said – there were certain idiosyncrasies that left me a little bamboozled.

In particular, this is billed as a Poirot mystery. But the
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: practically everyone !
the very first - from such a long list of - agatha christie's detective novels i've read.
quite a 'right' choice because the story reminds me of the more familiar enid blyton's boarding schools' series (i.e. mallory towers), but with such expanded plots that includes romance, theft and murder. very juicy indeed.
i could even remember that i skipped sleeping that night just to finish this novel, and succeeded doing so in less than 48 hours.
this novel was probably the one that triggered my crave
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was so in the mood for this. Murder at a posh all girls boarding school. Lucky that I found a copy in the library of my hotel for a beach read.
Jack Heath
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars. Poirot doesn't appear until 2/3rds of the way into the book, but it's one of his masterworks when he finally intervenes. He gets the call because he was extolled by Maureen Summerhayes, an earlier Christie character from "Mrs. McGuinty's Dead." We meet Prince Ali Yusef, Sheik of Ramat in the Middle East, and his close friend and personal pilot Bob Rawlinson, as a revolution to unseat the Prince is about to happen. To remain alive they must flee the country and ensure a fortune in jewels ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This isn't a Christie classic, certainly. I did enjoy the way jewels are smuggled out of a Mid-Eastern country in chaos, and I enjoyed that an English Girl's School is the location for most of the mystery, an unusual locale for Dame Agatha. There are the usual red herrings, the expected plot twists. But for no real reason, the author brings in Poirot about 4/5ths of the way through, while any local inspector/police officer would have served just fine. It feels as if the publisher sent a draft ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
3.5 stars
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This story took several hundred pages to even get going. I figured out a ton of things before anyone else did.

We once again get Poirot in this novel at around the 80 percent mark. I have seen it before, and will say it again. The Poirot books are boring when we focus too much on other people.

I wish that we had Poirot involved from the beginning so at least he didn't come in as a side character. The main character in this book from beginning to end was Julia Upjohn. Since this book was
Vikas Singh
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
I many ways this book is a let down. The plot is weak and there are just too many coincidences. The story to an extent is based on the schooling pattern popular amongst the elite during Christie's time. Halfway through the novel, i started losing interest and it was only the drive to finish it, that i ended up reading the last page. Quite a bore
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Classic Agatha Christie... regardless of how old her books are, they remain great mysteries! This was a great read, I was just a bit disappointed that Hercule Poirot didn't have much face time in the story...
Such a good one! Jewel thieves, boarding school, corruption, and murder. Who did it? Not who you think!
This is my last Agatha Christie - for now. It was a nice trip down the memory lane, for three of the four novels I read were actually re-readings.

Not this one, and a pleasant surprise it was. With a subject so flashy (coup d'état in an Arab state and a legacy of jewels) it would have been easy for the author to slip into kitsch. not Agatha Christie, though, who reveals herself not only a master of mystery but also a skilful observer of the young girls psychology. A very interesting touch was the
Adith Somanathan
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, fine, I amend my last Christie review: preposterous spy shenanigans ARE acceptable but only if ironically juxtaposed with as down-to-earth a genre as the jolly-hockey-sticks school story. I wonder if anyone's written a spinoff of Julia Upjohn, P.I. with the gloriously oblivious Jennifer as her Watson/Hastings.
Paula Sealey
Not one of my favourite Christie novels it has to be said, not least because Poirot doesn't even make an appearance until the final act. For me, his character was rather redundant, and the mystery could easily have been solved by one of the stronger players already present in the story. The build up is slow but interesting, and the plot solid, as you would expect from Christie. The characters are well formed and I did enjoy the boarding school setting with its raft of mistresses and 'jolly ...more
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, mystery
Part of an Agatha Christie mini review round up.

This book is set up slightly differently in that there are a fewer characters to sort through and it's much more straight forward. Perhaps this is because I've read it a few times but to me, there isn't a clear answer until the end but it's obvious what the motive is. I did like how foreign countries were brought into it, though! I do really like the title though. It's very mystery-like.

Final Verdict: Intriguing and compelling mystery although
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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)
“Everybody always knows something," said Adam, "even if it's something they don't know they know.” 134 likes
“No sign, so far, of anything sinister—but I live in hope.” 33 likes
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