Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five Little Pigs

Five Little Pigs. (Hercule Poirot) Agatha Christie. 1941/2006. Black Dog & Leventhal. 256 pages.

Hercule Poirot looked with interest and appreciation at the young woman who was being ushered into the room. 

I've enjoyed a couple of other Hercule Poirot stories this past month--including The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express, and ABC Murders--but, I must say that Five Little Pigs is my favorite so far. In this one, Hercule Poirot is investigating a sixteen-year-old murder--a case of poisoning. He's doing this at the request of a young woman, the child of the victim and convicted murderer. Before Caroline Crale's death, she wrote her daughter--then just a child--a letter saying that she was innocent of the crime. Now that the child is all grown up, now that she's twenty-one and has read that letter for herself, well, she needs to know one way or another before she can move on with her life, before she can get married and have kids of her own. Is her mother guilty of the crime of which she's been convicted? If she is innocent, was it suicide like the defense argued? Or was the crime committed by someone else?

Poirot's investigations will lead him to five people: Philip Blake (the best friend who proclaims his hatred for the wife a little too loudly), Meredith Blake (Philip's brother who had a fondness for growing poisonous plants in his lab at the time of the crime), Elsa Greer (the adulteress who announced the affair to the wife the day before), Angela Warren (the half-sister of Mrs. Caroline Crale, she was being 'raised' by her older sister), and Cecilia Williams (the governess hired to teach Angela). These were the people closest to the victim, Amyas Crale, on the last two days of his life. Could one of them be guilty of the crime?

I loved this one. I loved how this one was told. I loved the characters. I loved the narration. I loved how we learn about the crime, how the clues are revealed. Poirot is interviewing these people, but he's also urging them to write their own accounts of the crime.

My favorite lines:

"M. Poirot, you--you don't look exactly the way I pictured you."
"And I am old, am I not? Older than you imagined?"
"Yes, that too." She hesitated. "I'm being frank, you see. I want--I've got to have--the best."
"Rest assured," said Hercule Poirot, "I am the best!"
Carla said, "You're not modest....All the same, I'm inclined to take you at your word."
Poirot said placidly, "One does not, you know, employ merely the muscles. I do not need to bend and measure the footprints and pick up the cigarette ends and examine the bent blades of grass. It is enough for me to sit back in my chair and think. It is this"--he tapped his egg-shaped head--"this, that functions!" (6)

"It is inevitable," Hercule Poirot said. "Women will always see a private detective. Men will tell him to go to the devil."
"Some women might tell him to go to the devil too."
"After they have seen him--not before."
"Perhaps." (103)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Unknown said...

This was a very quick overview of the book, but I get the sense of what it is about. Because it is a mystery novel, I'm sure you left it short so as to not risk letting any clues slip. I am not an Agatha Christie fan, though, mostly because I hated reading her novel of "And Then There Were None" in middle school. It has been turned off for me, but as a lover of mysteries, I may pick this one up and see if maybe my biases had more to do with my teacher than with the author.

SunTiger said...

I really like how you quote the book. It gives the reader a great look into the author's style.

Marce said...

I thought ABC was your favourite, your just a great fan :-)

I am going to read And Then There Were None in Feb for sure.

Kailana said...

I just finished The Sherlockian and it made me think that after I finish The Sherlock Holmes series I should start Agatha Christie... I will have to read back on your posts for recommendations when that happens!

Kailana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

One of my absolute favorites! Great review:)