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Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
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Five Little Pigs (1942)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot Mystery (25)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,923562,923 (3.76)138
  1. 10
    Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham (cmbohn)
  2. 11
    Hickory Dickory Death by Agatha Christie (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both books are similar with their references to nursery rhymes. Though the books are different in its scenarios.
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» See also 138 mentions

English (51)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
"Five Little Pigs" is my favourite Hercule Poirot book, and probably my 2nd favourite Christie work (beyond the dazzling "And Then There Were None").

Years after her mother died in a jail cell, a murderess' daughter comes to Poirot to ask him to re-open the case. Through lengthy interviews with the five others present on the day of an artist's murder, Poirot must unravel the haze of time present and past to uncover the true murderer. There is something so psychologically compelling in these characters, particularly the artist's self-absorbed mistress, that draws this above Christie's usual output. And although the artist and his wife are only seen through five different accounts, they come across as some of the most layered characters Christie ever produced. Poirot himself isn't all that relevant (indeed, many of the post-war novels seem to wish he wasn't in them), but only someone of his decades of experience could have unravelled this one.

Poirot ranking: 1st of 38. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Average plot, nothing thrilling but of course Poirot never ceases to impress. ( )
  Denicbt | Feb 5, 2018 |
Sixteen years ago everyone believed it was an open and shut case. The evidence irrefutably pointed at Caroline Crale poisoning her husband, Amayas. Caroline simply had enough of her husband’s cheating ways, which everyone kept trying to justify as the painter’s “artistic personality”. Every clue traced back to Caroline: the staged fingerprints, the stolen poison, the motive. Now that her daughter, Carla, has become of age and is preparing to marry, she receives a posthumous letter in the mail from her mother stating that she was innocent. Carla petitions the famous Hercule Poirot to find out the truth.

In an age without DNA databases, fingerprint scanners, and high-tech equipment, reopening a long closed case would be a daunting task for any detective. Hercule Poirot doesn’t see the Crale case that way. He sees this case as a challenge in to the psychology of murder and quickly begins to track down those involved. There are five very clear key players who were present at the time of the murder. Poirot enlists each of them to provide their side of the story through both interview and written narrative. What he finds are conflicting memories and motives associated with each person. Did Caroline Crale actually murder her husband or was it one of the five other people closest to him?

Chrsitie strikes again! I was so confident I knew the truth about the case this time. The style of writing in FIVE LITTLE PIGS was a mixture between Poirot interviewing the five eyewitnesses and them also each writing their own narrative about the events. This unique mixture let the reader see multiple points of view and spot differences between the retellings in an easy-to-read format. As usual, my favorite part of the story was when Poirot gathers everyone in the same room and reveals the truth behind the case and calls each character out on the lies they have been telling. I highly recommend this tale to anyone looking for an introduction to Agatha Christie and her famous detective, Hercule Poirot! ( )
  jess_reads_books | Feb 5, 2018 |
Despite the fact it took me over a week to finish (ugh life), this was very good. I was a little hesitant that it wasn't the first Poirot novel and that I would be lost, but it didn't matter at all. Dame Agatha most certainly has a way with stories...the writing style is so formal that it forces you to remember that this is, in fact, a murder mystery. While feeling a bit tame (the murder happens well before the book begins) I still enjoyed it. Even when I was so sure of the murderer, I was still wrong, and yet the explanation always makes sense with her and makes me wonder how I couldn't see it myself. I did find myself confusing the two Blake brothers, but it didn't seem to matter too much to be quite honest. ( )
  erinla | Oct 31, 2017 |
It's been a long time since I read any Agatha Christie. I thought they were too old-fashioned for my tastes now. But after reading this one, I realize how superbly Christie crafted a murder mystery and I'll have to try some more.

The English country house is a frequent setting for murders but Christie must have been one of the first writers to employ it and this book, first copyrighted in 1941, must be a fairly early example of the type. It has an interesting twist in that the murder took place 16 years before Hercule Poirot is hired to solve it.

The client is the daughter of the woman convicted of the murder. The victim was the client's father. He was a famous artist who frequently committed adultery but his wife put up with his indiscretions. Just previous to the murder he had a liaison with a beautiful 20 year old whom he brought to his country home to sit for a painting. This time, he was smitten and intended to leave his wife and marry his model. Thus, when he was found dead, his wife was the first suspect and when a bottle containing remains of a deadly poison was found in her room, she was charged with the murder. She was convicted and died soon after. Just before her death she wrote a letter for her daughter to read when she turned 21 in which she asserted her innocence. The daughter wants to assure her fiance that she isn't going to turn into a homicidal maniac in the future so she hires Poirot to investigate.

Half-way through the book I was sure I knew who had committed the murder. At the end, I realized that Christie had structured the story to plant that suggestion. It is only the last few pages that divulge the actual perpetrator. Well done. I'll have to give Christie more attention in the future. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López Hipkiss, GuillermoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Sad Cypress [and] Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Crime Collection: Five Little Pigs, The Secret of Chimneys, Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie

Murder for Christmas and Three Other Great Mysteries: The Hollow, Murder in Retrospect, Thirteen At Dinner by Agatha Christie

Seven Deadly Sins: The ABC Murders / A Murder Is Announced / Sparkling Cyanide / Evil Under the Sun / At Bertram's Hotel / Endess Night / Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

Poirot: The War Years: One, Two Buckle My Shoe / Five Little Pigs / Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie

Five Little Pigs [and] They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie

Has the adaptation

Is abridged in

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Hercule Poirot looked with interest and appreciation at the young woman who was being ushered into the room.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
"Five little Pigs" and "Murder in Retrospect" are the same work. It was first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in May 1942 under the title of Murder in Retrospect, and later in UK by the Collins Crime Club as Five Little Pigs.
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Book description
Amyas Crale had een famous as a painter ... and infamous as a lover. his fiery wife, Caroline, had been as jealous as she was devoted. So naturally it was she who was tried and convicted for his murder.
Now their daughter, Carla, presents the brilliant Hercule Poirot with the greatest challenge of his career - to clear her mother's name by finding the fatal flaw in what, after sixteen years, appears to be the perfect crime!
    ------------------------------

Meredith Blake stared at Poirot. "My dear man, if she didn't - "
"Well, if she didn't?"
"I can't imagine any alternative solution. Accident? Surely impossible."
"Quite impossible."
"And I can't believe in the suicide theory. It had to be brought forward, but it was quite unconvincing to anyone who knew Crale."
"Quite."
"So what remains?" asked Meredtih Blake.
Poirot said coolly, "There remains hte possibilty of his having been killed by somebody else.."
Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, yet there were five other suspects: Philip Blake (the stockbroker) who went to market; Meredith Blake (the amateur herbalist) who stayed at home; Elsa Greer (the three-time divorcee) who had roast beef; Cecilia Williams (the devoted governess) who had none; and Angela Warren (the disfigured sister) who cried 'wee wee wee' all the way home.

It is sixteen years later, but Hercule Poirot just can't get that nursery rhyme out of his mind…

[retrieved 5/25/13 from Amazon.com]

Carla, Caroline and Amyas' daughter, who was five at the time of the murder, has returned from Canada and wants to know the truth, especially as her mother wrote her a deathbed letter swearing that she had not killed her husband. Carla persuades a reluctant Poirot to take the case, although he warns her that she will get the truth, even if it isn't what she wants it to be.
Haiku summary
After sixteen years
five eyewitnesses point Poirot
to the true killer.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425093255, Mass Market Paperback)

Take one dead lothario; add his jealous wife accused of his murder; toss in a devoted daughter who wants to clear her mother's name, and you get one of the greatest challenges of Hercule Poirot's career.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:10 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"Beautiful Caroline Crale was convicted of poisoning her husband, but just like the nursery rhyme, there were five other 'little pigs' who could have done it...Sixteen years later, Caroline's daughter is determined to prove her mother's innocence, and Poirot just can't get that nursery rhyme out of his mind..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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