Evgeny's Reviews > The Big Four

The Big Four by Agatha Christie
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did not like it
bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, hercule-poirot
Read 2 times. Last read April 28, 2019 to May 1, 2019.

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 and Hastings to track him down. It is a collection of seemingly unrelated cases with guy #4 always being the culprit. I also need to mention that the most part of the last case is taken almost word-by-word from first half of Sherlock Holmes' The Final Problem with substitution by names. While the original is a very tragic story, this one reads as a buffoonery.

Sherlock Holmes as an action hero works.
Action hero
Hercule Poirot does not.
Wimpy
To add insult to the injury when Poirot became an unbeatable guy (physically) he experienced a drop in IQ - something to be expected I guess. A couple of times he overlooked very obvious things. At times the stories themselves become stupid.

The book is a disgrace to Hercule Poirot.
Disgrace
I am a big fan of him, and the next worst Poirot story gets solid 4 stars from me, but try as I might I cannot bring myself to give this one more than 1 star. Before reading this book I thought Agatha Christie can do not wrong. The Big Four quickly cured me of this silly idea. At least this is not the worst from one of the world's best mystery writers: this dubious distinction goes to Passenger to Frankfurt which is an incomprehensible mess.

Try to avoid The Big Four if you have not read it before, even if you are a die-hard fan.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 1, 2012 – Shelved
November 1, 2012 – Shelved as: crime-and-mystery
October 11, 2018 – Shelved as: hercule-poirot
April 28, 2019 – Started Reading
May 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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lilacskies I agree with you so much!! The whole time I was reading this I was just thinking "This is a ripoff from Sherlock Holmes argh." I still gave it three stars cause I thought some areas were nicely executed:/ I'm so tempted to give it a two stars now haha


MrsER I respectfully disagree with both of you. 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.


message 3: by Mir (new)

Mir International crime cartel seem really popular in 20s mysteries.


Anna Kaling I was reminded of Moriarty too - especially since both he and the Big Four came out of nowhere although they'd apparently been running the world for years.

I'm not sure how anybody can argue this WASN'T 'inspired by' Sherlock Holmes when there were at least two direct references to Holmes in the book.


Melindam I read this book some years ago and niw that I am re-reading it for a challenge, I find that I don't remember a single thing about it, which is a forewarning that it must be really-really bad. :)


Evgeny Melindam wrote: "I read this book some years ago and niw that I am re-reading it for a challenge, I find that I don't remember a single thing about it, which is a forewarning that it must be really-really bad. :)"

The worst Poirot story, period. Unfortunately not the worst from Agatha Christie (this award goes to Passenger to Frankfurt).


message 7: by Vivian (new)

Vivian Yikes.


Evgeny Vivian wrote: "Yikes."

Seriously. Before reading this one I was convinced the Dame Agatha Christie was incapable of writing a bad story.


message 9: by Martin (new)

Martin Thanks Evgeny for your avoidance warning.


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Ugh! Every book can't be great, but wow, this sounds dumb and dumber.


message 11: by leslie hamod (new) - added it

leslie hamod Temporarily off line, still reading! She was odd, certainly. But I love her!😁 I love you too Evgeny!😘


Evgeny Martin wrote: "Thanks Evgeny for your avoidance warning."

You are welcome. Beware: any other Poirot book is great.


Evgeny Beverly wrote: "Ugh! Every book can't be great, but wow, this sounds dumb and dumber."

Seriously. Agatha Christie should have stayed away from writing conspiracy stories (as well as spy thrillers).


Evgeny leslie hamod wrote: "She was odd, certainly. But I love her!😁 I love you too Evgeny!😘"

This one is the lowest point in Poirot career. Anything else with him is miles ahead of it.


message 15: by Cherie (new)

Cherie I will avoid this at all costs. I need a "Do Not Read" book shelf to help me remember. I had rather keep the reputation of Poirot perfect in my mind.


Evgeny Cherie wrote: "I will avoid this at all costs. I need a "Do Not Read" book shelf to help me remember. I had rather keep the reputation of Poirot perfect in my mind."

All other Poirot stories are great. No exception (other than The Big Four that is).


message 17: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Even Dorothy Sayers tried to copy Sherlock Holmes in her Whose Body? novel, she mentioned Sherlock at least 5 times in it. It did not work well for me. Perhaps there was jealousy of these authors?


Evgeny It might be jealousy, but I prefer to think about it as a tribute. After all, the guy practically created the genre and the majority of its tropes.


message 19: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Your opinion does sound better and you are probably correct


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