Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Big Four

From the book cover
Number One was a Chinaman - the greatest criminal brain of all time; Number Two was a multi-millionaire; Number Three was a beautiful Frenchwoman; and Number Four was "the destroyer," the ruthless murderer, with a genius for disguise, whose business it was to remove those who interfered with his masters' plans. These Four, working together, aimed at establishing a world dominion, and against them were ranged Hercule Poirot, the little Belgian detective with the egg-shaped head , the green eyes and "the little gray cells," and his friend, Hastings.
The Big Four is probably the best Agatha Christie murder mystery I've read thus far. Captain Hasting is now married and living in South America with his wife, Cinderella. In England to take care of some business, he ends up joining Poirot for this investigation, thus providing the narrative.

The Big Four is six mini mysteries wrapped in one big mystery. Throughout the course of a year, Poirot investigates five murders and one kidnapping, each crime giving him a clue towards discovering the identity of the destroyer and thwarting The Big Four's plan for world domination.

There's so much action packed into the 281 pages of the book that I was able to read it in one day. This is one area where it differs from many of Poirot's other cases, which are usually solved through reasoning and the use of his "gray cells." In this story he solves his mysteries by travelling the globe in search of clues.


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