Cover detail from The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four by Agatha Christie

I tend to think Autumn lends itself wholeheartedly to either books with a bit of atmosphere, or a good crime novel. The heady days of summer with those classic beach reads are a dim and distant memory, and whilst we are thinking of Christmas reads, it does fee a tad early. Although I will share, one of my colleagues put their Christmas tree up the day after Bonfire Night.

Read my review of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

That is far too early for me. Here in our village we have enjoyed a few misty mornings where the drive to work is peppered with pheasants and the last village social event of the year. Bingo! Where I ended up winning the big prize for a full house in the final game. It was a great night, a good laugh complete with pie and peas supper and ending with us helping with the washing up. I do truly love where we live.

Today's review involves Hercule Poirot and a novel I knew little about but which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Plot

Framed in the doorway of Poirot's bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man's gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell.
Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all what was the significance of the figure 4 scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? Poirot finds himself plunged into a world of international intrigue, risking his life to uncover the truth about 'Number 4'.

My Thoughts

Despite having the number 4 in the title, this is actually the 5th book to feature Hercule Poirot. It can be read as a standalone novel, but I have to say I am getting a lot more from these novels by reading them in order.

Whilst this is a book I have heard relatively little about, I thought it was excellent and it has been my favourite Poirot novel so far. It also goes slightly James Bond like as it features a sinister group of 4 people, who seek to control and disrupt the world economies and whose identity is unknown

Poirot becomes involved by accident and from there seeks to uncover their identities and to stop the group in their nefarious activities. But this group is cunning and Poirot may have met his match. The novel reads like a collection of short stories with each one pulling a little further on the thread of subterfuge.

Hastings makes a welcome return and it feels like all is well in the world when these 2 friends are reunited. This was an immensely enjoyable novel to read, it's all here - international mystery, subterfuge, danger to life and a mysterious 4th man who plays a shadowy part in each story. And at its centre, our favourite Belgian detective. Excellent!