Reading the Detectives discussion

The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #4)
This topic is about The Big Four
35 views
Poirot Buddy Reads > Unofficial Poirot Buddy Read: Poirot 6 The big four

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Jessica | 379 comments Wow, it's June already! Is there anything nicer than sitting in the garden in the setting sun reading a nice mystery?

This month we have The big four ahead of us!

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.”
― Edgar Allan Poe


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
I haven't read this one for years, Jessica, but will certainly try to fit it in. It is the book released after Christie's disappearance and suffered from her having to cobble together a novel while under so much personal pressure. Here are a couple of articles I thought we might find interesting:

http://www.poirot.us/disappear.php

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=R...

Although considered a lesser novel than Roger Ackroyd, it was more successful due to the publicity she had at the time.


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Just thought, I haven't read all of the second article, so perhaps leave that if you haven't read the book yet, in case it has spoilers.


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Jessica, can you remind me of next month's read?

I am listening to The Big Four on audible, read by the wonderful Hugh Fraser. I think Christie was more adept at putting together short stories than many other authors, as this seems almost seamless to me.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2181 comments According to the list, it is The Mystery of the Blue Train


message 6: by Annabel (new)

Annabel Frazer | 301 comments Critics are often extremely rude about The Big Four and it's true that it feels a bit incoherent at times and some elements of it are madly implausible. But who cares about things being plausible, right? If, like me, you have a soft spot for evil masterminds and bizarrely elaborate murder plots, you may love it as much as I do.

It feels heavily influenced by Sherlock Holmes to me and while the whole thing knits together quite badly, the individual set-piece puzzles are fascinating. A guilty pleasure for me.


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Thanks, Jill,

Annabel, I agree. It certainly is not a bad book at all; despite being derided by a lot of Christie fans. Considering the huge pressure she was under, I think this is a really good read. I am nearly halfway through and enjoying Poirot and Hastings relationship.


Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2181 comments The fact that we always think of him being involved with private investigations, even if some were brought to him through the police or government, made this so different , with him being up against an international gang .


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Yes, kind of the opposite to Campion. There, I am thinking, ANOTHER criminal gang? Or, the SAME criminal gang? Here, yes, it is a novelty. I love the way Hastings is not at all concerned about it though. A murderer or a gang with tentacles everywhere - it's all the same for him. Come on, Poirot, let's get a move on and go and give them a good biffing!


Adrian | 136 comments Susan wrote: "I am listening to The Big Four on audible, read by the wonderful Hugh Fraser. I think Christie was more adept at putting together short stories th..."

I agree entirely Susan, I was expecting a disjointed novel, but in the end thoroughly enjoyed it.


message 11: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 9424 comments Mod
Please note the Poirot buddy reads are now in their own folder, directly below the buddy reads folder when visiting the group home page.


Jessica | 379 comments Wow, Judy thank you for the special folder! And thank you Susan for the interesting articles. For some reason, I'm finding it quite hard to get into. I'm already two of the big four in but am not reading voluntarily yet, isn't that weird? We do have Hastings back! And some interesting mind puzzles, it's just all a bit hysterical. Okay I'll give myself a glass of wine and the task to get a move on this evening ;-)


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
I think this particular novel is very interesting to Christie fans considering when/how it was written. It is both very different and testament to her ability to create a novel under difficult circumstances and because she needed to make a living, more than ever, by herself.

Now that Judy has given you your own folder, we hope that members who start reading later, for example, can find the previous books more easily. Just a suggestion, but it would be good to have a list of future books at the top, so people know, by month, which books you are reading in the future and can get organised? That way, if either you, or anyone else, decide to keep the challenge going next year, they can add to it.


Jessica | 379 comments Susan wrote: "I think this particular novel is very interesting to Christie fans considering when/how it was written. It is both very different and testament to her ability to create a novel under difficult circ..."

I'm so happy that you gave me a platform to indulge in my Poirot reading next year too! I'll create an overview this week and will put it at the top.

For me, a very large aspect of wanting to read in order is indeed that you get to know the writer behind it all much better. Not only do the characters and style develop, but Agatha herself is ever changing. Can you imagine writing anything cohorent in a period of such personal turmoil? I certainly cannot.


Adrian | 136 comments Susan wrote: "I think this particular novel is very interesting to Christie fans considering when/how it was written. ......
.....That way, if either you, or anyone else, decide to keep the challenge going next year, they can add to it. "


Oh wow, are we gonna continue next year Jessica ??? 😳


Jessica | 379 comments Adrian wrote: "Susan wrote: "I think this particular novel is very interesting to Christie fans considering when/how it was written. ......
.....That way, if either you, or anyone else, decide to keep the challen..."


Haha you seem shocked? But it's such fun! It's only about 30 more to go ;-)


Adrian | 136 comments Oh no, not shocked, just excited, bring it on I say Jessica


Jessica | 379 comments Good! :-)


Jessica | 379 comments I finished it now. It took me a while to get to grips with it. About halfway in I started to see it almost as action-adventure short stories, rather than one nice snug GA detective story. In the end, I did start to appreciate all the shenanigans and Poirot's struggle to finally be one step ahead of the criminals.


Tara  | 831 comments Personally I didn't care much for this one. My proclivities lean more towards the traditional murder mystery, so this style just does not appeal. I think the varying stories cobbled together into one didn't help much either. It surprises me that despite their close association, that Hastings lacks such perception, both of Poirot and himself. How many times can he be surprised by Poirot's low opinion of Hasting's intelligence, and such a high regard for his own? The one redeeming quality is their mutual affection and willingness to put their own lives at risk for the other's protection.


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Tara, you are not alone in your thoughts. It is not well regarded now; although of great interest to Christie fans because of when/how it was,literally, cobbled together after her disappearance. She did a good job under extreme pressure, but the cracks are visible if you look.


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Susan wrote: "Thanks, Jill,

Annabel, I agree. It certainly is not a bad book at all; despite being derided by a lot of Christie fans. Considering the huge pressure she was under, I think this is a really good r..."


Unfortunately I am among those who didn't much like this one--somehow the who gang atmosphere didn't come across to me as well done--it felt more like a children's mystery in that sense.


Adrian | 136 comments I think its great that we all have different opinions. Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought the same ?? 😏


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Adrian wrote: "I think its great that we all have different opinions. Wouldn't it be boring if we all thought the same ?? 😏"

So it will :)


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
I thought the relationship between Poirot and Hastings seemed extra warm in this novel, almost as though Christie was reassuring herself. What did everyone else think?


Tara  | 831 comments Susan wrote: "I thought the relationship between Poirot and Hastings seemed extra warm in this novel, almost as though Christie was reassuring herself. What did everyone else think?"

Agreed Susan. It was one of the few redeeming qualities of the novel.


message 27: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 2181 comments Susan wrote: "I thought the relationship between Poirot and Hastings seemed extra warm in this novel, almost as though Christie was reassuring herself. What did everyone else think?"

I think it underlined their differences. And that is a formula that definitely works.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 395 comments Looks like I'll just fit this in by the end of the month! I'm enjoying it so far but I was a bit alarmed to see a character aged 55 described as an old man :( Times have certainly changed, just as well.


Susan | 10530 comments Mod
Good point, Pamela. I don't really think of myself as elderly just yet!


Jessica | 379 comments I do agree that the comradery between Hastings and Poirot was very nice here, but I also share Tara's exasperation at times with Hastings' continuous underestimation of Poirot's plans. And though of course, it is good to have self-confidence, he could also be just a little bit more self-reflecting. I was so frustrated with him when he rushed off with the chinamen!


Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1172 comments Pamela wrote: "Looks like I'll just fit this in by the end of the month! I'm enjoying it so far but I was a bit alarmed to see a character aged 55 described as an old man :( Times have certainly changed, just as ..."

We had some discussion on age and perception with Miss Marple last year- it certainly has changed with time, and rightly so :)


back to top