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The Big Four

(Hercule Poirot #5)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  29,673 ratings  ·  2,063 reviews
Famed private eye Hercule Poirot tackles international intrigue and espionage in this classic Agatha Christie mystery.

Framed in the doorway of Hercule Poirot's bedroom stands an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man stares for a moment, then he sways and falls. Who is he? Is he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what is the
Paperback, 211 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 27th 1927)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  29,673 ratings  ·  2,063 reviews

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Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a
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
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.
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
Jun 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...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
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.

Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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!
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
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
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 ...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
Laurel Young
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 ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A random guy wanders into Poirot's apartment, warns him about an international crime syndicate, and promptly dies. Hastings totally ditches his wife to chase this syndicate with Poirot, but since they have no clues, they just kind of sit around and wait for the criminals to do dastardly things. -twiddles thumbs-

I think I'm destined to dislike Agatha Christie books which feature Chinese people. I know the book was written a long time ago, and back then it was socially acceptable, blah blah blah
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
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 ...more
Roman Clodia
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
I would never have thought to write this about an Agatha Christie book, but... UUGGHHH! *SHUDDER* *EYEROLL*!

I read it quite a long time ago and I realised that I can't remember a thing about it, which was already a sign, but I was still hoping for something better.

More detailed review to come.
Moira Fogarty
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Thomas Strömquist
So, reading the Poirot books have proved to be quite the roller-coaster ride this far, from the unremarkable "Styles" to the much more captivating "Links", through the quite boring "Investigates", the very good "Ackroyd" to this... yes, what was this, really?

Obviously written as a series of shorts and only later stitched together to a continouos text this doesn't even work as a parody of itself. The first half of the book lays some kind of odd detective/spy background and actions and plans get
An Odd1
Apr 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Decided disappointment - or meant to be taken in fun? The plot shapes up like an impossible farce. The conspirators plan to rule the world. "Number One" is the unseen brains, Chinese Li Chang Yen. "Two" is multimillionaire American Soap King Abe Ryland. "Three" is idolized brilliant Parisian chemist Mme Olivier. Their assassin "Number Four" is young actor Claud Darell. Or is he? are they?

The elusive Four litters the landscape with corpses as an author's device to add yet another disguise.
Aug 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, christie
A great disappointment after the skillful and inventive The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Big Four barely holds together as a book. Indeed it may not be said to have a plot at all. Instead it is a series of vignettes that are tied together with the loosest of bindings. I presume what Christie was aiming for was a romp such as she had provided in several of her earlier books but this time with Poirot and Hastings at the center of the story. But instead of a romp she delivered a book that lacks ...more
Richard Derus
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.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: who-dunnit
Possibly the worst Agatha Christie I’ve ever read.
It started out ok, but went downhill quickly.....very disappointing.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poirot

Re-Read in 2017

Fifth in Poirot series, perhaps the least favorite of mine. But re-read has surely increased my ratings.

Plots opens up when a mysterious man is found in Poirot's bedroom. The man is covered up with mud from top to bottom. Poirot and Hastings suspect that he might have entered from the window. He doesn't seem right on his mind but keeps on repeating Poirot's name and Number 4.

On more cross-examination, it comes out that there is an organisation
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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 (1 - 10 of 41 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)
“He laughs best who laughs at the end.” 46 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.”
More quotes…