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Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot, #25)
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Book of the Month Reads > CLOSED January 2014 - Five Little Pigs aka Murder in Retrospect

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message 1: by Carolyn F. (new) - added it

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
Originally published 1943. Features Hercule Poirot.

Other Title: Murder in Retrospect

Take one dead lothario; add his jealous wife accused of his murder; toss in a devoted daughter who wants to clear her mother's name, and you get one of the greatest challenges of Hercule Poirot's career.


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Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
This is our book for January 2014!


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Mary Ellen (raven51) | 11 comments I picked my copy up from the library today. :)


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Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I need to download this to my MP3, but I have to finish 2 books before I can do that :)


Katherine I finished reading, Five Little Pigs, late last night. Poirot has a challenge when he accepts a sixteen year old cold case, however, his patient perseverance wins in the end and he solves the mystery. I saw this mini movie a couple of years ago. David Suchet played Poirot and Suchet is my favorite. I liked the mini movie, but I thought Poirot's amazing talent of solving difficult crimes was more clearly visible in the book.


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Lynda Wilcox (lyndawrites) | 38 comments Not read Five Little Pigs in quite a while, but it's my favourite Christie, ever. About time I read it again.


Katherine Lynda wrote: "Not read Five Little Pigs in quite a while, but it's my favourite Christie, ever. About time I read it again."

It's really good!!!


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Daisy (bellisperennis) Katherine wrote: Poirot's amazing talent of solving difficult crimes was more clearly visible in the book.

I just finished and it had me as I kept trying to guess which character had done it and kept switching from one to the other. Poirot clearly had the upper hand.


Brad Friedman | 191 comments It's certainly the best of Christie's "murder in retrospect" novels where the sleuth investigates a crime from years past. And it's quite rightfully considered one of the deepest explorations of character Christie ever made. I'm looking forward to our discussion of this! I'm at the start of my 3rd or 4th re-read, and it strikes me as amazing that the council for the defense missed such an important clue that could have saved his client!!!


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Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I've downloaded it so I'll start it tomorrow!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Just finished this. Enjoyed it very much.


Denise (dulcinea3) | 262 comments I finished this one last night. The solution is both satisfying and heartbreaking, not because of who the murderer was, but because of who it wasn't. I had not remembered the plot very well, but I caught a detail in one of the witness accounts that bothered me and led me to the solution.


Carol (mansonville) | 55 comments Daisy wrote: "Katherine wrote: Poirot's amazing talent of solving difficult crimes was more clearly visible in the book.

I just finished and it had me as I kept trying to guess which character had done it and k..."


Same with me. I kept changing my mind about who did it!


message 14: by Daisy (new) - added it

Daisy (bellisperennis) Carol wrote: "I kept changing my mind about who did it!"

Yeah, up until a certain point, each one of them had committed the crime! lol


message 15: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments I know that readers who are not fond of Christie and the "cozy" mystery complain that her books are all about the puzzle and don't have much emotional resonance. But this mystery succeeds both as a puzzle and as a rich novel. The book packs TWO emotional wallops: first, the explanation about why Caroline Crale behaved the way she did after the murder, and second, the identity of the killer, not so muc a surprise since they all are equally suspect, but just because of what led this person to commit murder. And the characters - with the possible exception of Philip Blake, who doesn't quite ring true to me as a person or a suspect - are all interesting psychological studies. (I think it would have been more interesting if he had been in love with Amyas rather than with Caroline!!) Christie really lets us get to know each one of them; as a result, they can all be suspected AND we can feel a certain pang no matter who turns out to be the killer.


message 16: by Daisy (last edited Jan 11, 2014 02:47AM) (new) - added it

Daisy (bellisperennis) Brad wrote: And the characters . . . are all interesting psychological studies.

She used what might be, to my mind enjoyably, regarded as mystery novel caricatures: country gent, hard-hearted (seemingly) businessman, governess, intellectual, temperamental artist . . .


message 17: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 24 comments Hi Brad, I agree with your comments. I find the story in this book to be not only a good mystery, but very emotionally credible. The characters are well drawn, and the ending is in fact very powerful and moving. Cheers, John


message 18: by Daisy (last edited Jan 12, 2014 06:16PM) (new) - added it

Daisy (bellisperennis) John wrote: "Hi Brad, I agree with your comments. I find the story in this book to be not only a good mystery, but very emotionally credible."

Totally agree, especially Caroline and her sister. This impressed me when I first began to read the book and then later enjoyed the various types of characters used in the novel.


message 19: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Pichette | 16 comments I read this book a little while ago. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was one of the better Poirot books.
It was really hard to put this one down.


Katherine Anne wrote: "I read this book a little while ago. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was one of the better Poirot books.
It was really hard to put this one down."


It was hard to put down.


message 21: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments I know I love to prattle on about Christie, but I was thinking about this as I drove to work this morning and I thought I'd lay it out here. One could criticize some of Christie's early books with the more "outrageous" twist endings (i.e. Three Act Tragedy, Death in the Clouds, Lord Edgeware Dies) and say that she spends so much time laying a false trail that the characterizations of most of the suspects are pretty much lacking, and you end up with a shock of surprise but not much emotional reaction to the book. When you think of the three examples above, and some others I could mention, the only characters who really stand out are Poirot and the killer, even though most readers may not see that killer as THE killer until the surprise ending. That's why, to me, a novel like Five Little Pigs shows Christie at her best: she weaves a deft mystery, but she's not trying to pull the rug out from under the reader, just make us ponder both the killer's identity (it really could be ANY of these five people) at the same time that she shows the emotional effect of this murder on all those involved. Don't get me wrong: I love Christie's twist endings, and I think she's a master at leading us down the garden path. (Our next book will show that really well.) But as I get older, I think I'm starting to find the richness of character as pleasurable as the twist in a mystery.


message 22: by Carolyn F. (new) - added it

Carolyn F. | 4574 comments Mod
I agree about enjoying them more the older I get. After reading so many mediocre mysteries in my many, many years of reading, I'm able to appreciate her a lot more.


Madonna | 8 comments Brad, I agree about now enjoying the characters. I've read enough Christie and mysteries that I know the mystery will be solved and I don't have to do that. I, too, liked the book for the exploration of character we have here. While reading about each of the characters I "looked" for something to dislike about each in case he/she were the villain. I didn't have to try too hard to dislike the villain, so the ending was satisfying. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I was pleasantly surprised at the villain since Christie had so many twists/turns that I found it hard to "see" the villain.
A Christie book is always a pleasure to read but to be surprised during it is a bonus.
I liked Christie's placement of information next to and with other information which made me think someone was the villain several times.
These characters probably did a better job than I would have in remembering details of an event that long ago, although an event of that size might make it easier to remember.
Poirot was brave to present his findings with as little hard evidence as he had; wonder if the villain confessed for personal reasons?
I read Christie books for the ride, not trying to solve the mystery, and this was a great ride--as someone said, very satisfying.
A good read.


message 24: by Brad (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brad Friedman | 191 comments Madonna wrote: "Brad, I agree about now enjoying the characters. I've read enough Christie and mysteries that I know the mystery will be solved and I don't have to do that. I, too, liked the book for the explorati..."

Well said, Madonna. There are a few stock Christie characters - I.e. the handsome, charming young man - who often turn out to be the killer (maybe because Christie's cheating first husband was handsome and charming)! Those characters aren't present in this novel, which makes it easy to switch suspicion around. Still, Christie's choice of murderer is totally satisfying.

Darn it, I can't remember how to hide spoilers! All I'll say here regarding your question about why the killer admitted guilt to Poirot without proof is that the crime had killed the murderer's soul ("I died, too") and admitting the truth to Poirot must have lightened that terrible burden the killer had been carrying all those years.....if only for a moment. To me, it's one of Christie's most powerful endings!


Alberto | 15 comments I will grant that characterization was very good and that this is definitely the best of her retrospective murder stories, but IMHO that just makes it the best of a poor lot.


message 26: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Wilcox (lyndawrites) | 38 comments Read it again, now - and it's still my favourite.

I always remembered who'd 'done it', so there were no surprises there. Now that I've started writing light-hearted whodunits myself, what did surprise (and delight) me was the quality of Chrisite's writing. It is so lean and tight, and very, very clever.

For example at the start of Chapter 3 where Poirot is interviewing the old solicitor and, later, when he first speaks to Lady Dittisham, Christie conveys so much (both of character and plot) in so few words, moving things along quickly, and effortlessly.

I probably glossed over it when I first read 5 Little Pigs - reading it for the story, not for the writing - but it is beautifully done. This is Christie on the top of her form and what makes it her best work, IMHO.

Definitely 5 stars.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 74 comments I really prefer the "Five Little Pigs" title as the rhyme works so well with the suspects/witnesses.

I agree that it is one of her greats. The A&E version is also excellent, even though it takes a slightly different slant.


Denise | 22 comments I got this one late so I just finished it. I enjoyed it and it certainly wasn't the person I thought it was at the beginning. I was glad that the murderer was who it was although I am not sure I enjoyed the way it ended.


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