Murder in Retrospect (AKA Five Little Pigs) by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot, #24

Source: Purchased

Amyas Crale was a celebrated painter . . . and an even more celebrated lover. His wife Caroline was as jealous as she was devoted. So naturally, she was convicted of Amyas' murder. Now, 16 years later, their daughter presents Poirot with a challenge: find the fatal flaw in the case that will clear her mother's name. Also published as Five Little Pigs.

“Juliet singles out Romeo. Desdemona claims Othello. They have no doubts, the young, no fear, no pride.”

One of the best Christie's I've read, sorry to see it's not mentioned more. Christie changed it up a bit by having Poirot having to take apart a crime that happened decades ago. Digging into the past and focusing on interviews instead of actual occurrence and eye witness details. A lot has been forgotten in the small details, and some of it has been skewed by memory and deceit. Like some of her other novels, the bulk of this one is interviews. In between that is the written accounts Poirot asked suspects to write, and when he compares them at the end it starts making sense.

One thing that did bug me was the flatness of the daughter who is seeking answers. I figured she’d….care more on a personal level. I know she doesn’t remember much, but still. What I found the most interesting was the villain and everyone who was in love with everyone – it was like a soap opera or mysteries and most people wore fake faces. Interesting reveal and impossible for me to guess the actual villain since clues could have pointed in multiple directions.

This is one of those mysteries where the crime is solved more by studying the psychological of the characters and what turns out plausible because of that, instead of following actual evidence and “clues”. There are some of those that help point the sign in the right direction, but it comes down to understanding and studying people in the end, as Poirot often says.

I know she uses staple characters but I found the governess hatred of men to be taken to an even higher level than usual. The daughter came across as flat, but the other characters were convincing in their hatred or loyalty. There wasn’t as much humor in this one as some of Poirot’s books – it felt like a somber casting over the entire thing – but it fit the story. What impressed me the most with the psychology of the characters was Christie showing how demented romantic pairings can actually make some couples happy, even if they seem miserable to the outside world.

   Book Quotes:

“Men have the best of this world. I hope that it will not always be so.”

   Cover Gallery:


There is not a trailer that I can find, but Hercule Poirot by A&E did an episode for this book

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