Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot, #15

Source: Purchased

It was the match-up of the century: four sleuths--Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard; Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, famed writer of detective stories; Col. Race of His Majesty's Secret Service; and the incomparable Hercule Poirot - invited to play bridge with four specially invited guests, each of whom had gotten away with murder! But before the first rubber was completed, the host was dead.

“He played the part of the devil too successfully. But he was not the devil. Au fond, he was a stupid man. And so - he died."

Thanks to Hercule Poirot, it ended well - the Belgian detective dominates the story from start to finish. That may sound like it's something needless to say, but Agatha Christie did tend to have some Poirot books where the beloved detective didn't even show up until the second half or toward the end. In this case we open up with him at a party and end with him entertaining survivors.

The story was fascinating. While it wasn't her strongest mystery, who cares because I loved the general concept. Poirot was invited along with three other detectives of sorts (one mystery novelists, a Scotland Yard Detective, etc) to have dinner with four murderers who had gotten away with it. When the party host is found dead in front of all the guests, they had four suspects.

Blending the past murders with the present was interesting enough, but it was the time Christie took to dig into various motivations and personality traits that was the actual winner here. Sometimes her story takes so much focus that characters play mere backdrop counterparts, but in this case the paper people are individually drawn and convincingly motivated.

It may not be the most exciting in her library, but so far it's one of my many favorites. The story speeds by and it stays intriguing from start to finish. The ending line was just hilarious too - have to love the people who dare to tease the detective.

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“Speech is the deadliest of revealers."

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