Laurel Young's Reviews > The Big Four

The Big Four by Agatha Christie
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it was ok
bookshelves: my-year-of-agatha

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 Hastings constantly cheating death at the hands of one or the other of the nefarious super-villains bent on world domination. The Big Four even have a super-secret underground villains' lair! It's just *silly*, a word I would never associate with Dame Agatha. Perhaps she meant it to be light-hearted fun, but, if so, this does not come through--one usually knows when she is being light-hearted, as with Partners in Crime.

It's ironic to me that Agatha keeps me spellbound with her more cerebral, less "active" novels, such as Cards on the Table, but bores me silly when she goes for derring-do. She usually outwits me and I have no problem admitting it, but here I was always a step ahead of the plot. Perhaps this just isn't my cup of tea and The Big Four would be an enjoyable novel for a fan of the adventure genre. I simply am not such a fan.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 27, 2010 – Shelved
September 27, 2010 – Shelved as: my-year-of-agatha

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Dana (new)

Dana I think part of its disjointedness comes from the fact that it was serialized. Interestingly, it's also the only book to come out in 1927 - and the one that immediately followed her disappearance. It was definitely entertaining, almost like a pre-James Bond book, but went off in a few odd directions that didn't seem to add much. Echoes of The Secret Adversary and The Seven Dials Mystery (which were also both published in the 20s.) Not my favourite, either, but definitely interesting. (And oh, my, poor dumb Hastings... there was a fair bit of humour in it, at least!)

MrsER If you read John Buchan's Richard "Richard Hannay" stories, you will find much similarity in style. It was understandably the fashion to write that kind of story then. Other authors also used the same kind of subject then. If you read with this in mind, you will enjoy the book. Mrs. Christie was a wonderful writer, no matter what she wrote.

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