The Big Four by Agatha Christie
This book began with an overall interesting and usable plot premise. There being an evil force of extremely intelligent and wealthy people amassed to form a secret society bent on taking over the world through anarchy and fascism, ya know, the norm. The main problem I really saw with this whole idea was, “Why would a city private detective be working against a group such as this?” and honestly I still see no solution to such a question. An answer I can seem to come to is that I feel as if Agatha Christie was trying to make her reader see Hercule Poirot as something bigger than what he really was, such as with what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could do with Sherlock Holmes, him being compared to Hercule Poirot on many occasions.
Other than this overall issue, there were some other facts about the novel making me a bit anxious. The novel is written more like a short story collection than anything else; it follows Hercule Poirot but over a period of months passing in between chapters. It does this to show pivital points in the story not seemingly being related but overall being so, but it reads as multiple murders not connected at all throughout the year and Hercule Poirot solving them one by one and somehow amassing information to solve the whole problem.
That is another thing, the whole problem… At the end of the story we usually see the character Hercule Poirot explaining how he solved the puzzle to get the murderers/and or criminals through the clues given within the pages of the book. This time however we see him at the end of the story and never get an explaination as to how he solved the murders and overall evilness of the organization. There is no solution at all, it seems as though Agatha Christie took the lazy way out of this book. Don’t get me wrong, Agatha Christie is a wonderful author, this book was just trying to be something it was not.
A possible solution to these problems would be to just make the novel longer, explain the background of why Hercule Poirot joined the race to stopping these dictators better. Also lead the story to a more interesting and fulfilling ending. If I had saw an ending described like that this whole review would be different. The whole problem and solution section of the story could have been thought through and solved especially with this addition of more pages.
Some good things about this book, because I have to, include the humor, I did laugh multiple times reading this book from just situational irony that I did not expect. Also, the narrator was a good change of pace from the previous book, that book (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) being narrated by a non-recurring character that took time to get adjusted to.
The Big Four was not Agatha Christie’s best novel (probably her worst), it was too farfetch’d for me to even enjoy really, I just wish there were more she did in this book to make it more “realistic” and enjoyable.
Out of 5 I would give this book a 2. Don’t read this book if you can avoid it.