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Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot) by Agatha…

Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot) (original 1937; edition 1986)

by Agatha Christie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,063403,222 (3.65)74
Title:Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot)
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Berkley (1986), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, mystery, Poirot

Work details

Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (1937)

Recently added bybennyisbig, StevenCarter, jkrzok, paintfox, private library, Myrtle54, alo1224, bennivampie, AndreaDiRosa, LinaMP1822
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  1. 10
    How Does Your Garden Grow and Other Stories by Agatha Christie (Porua)
    Porua: How Does Your Garden Grow? is a short story written by Agatha Christie. Its plotline is nearly identical with that of Dumb Witness. Anyone who has enjoyed Dumb Witness may want to check this short story out.

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
One of the focal points of this novel is the unreliable narrator. The assumption is that if the dog, Bob, could tell his story, he would be able to narrate what actually happened. But in fact Bob does not see all.

The principal narration is through the eyes of Captain Hastings, and the reader has come to expect that he often gets things wrong. But there are other points of view expressed including Poirot's. Under Hastings' influence we either dismiss or accept these other points of view, but which is the right one?

This is also a classic Poirot. Various red herrings are laid, and various scenarios and alibis tested, accepted or rejected. And then of course there is the final denouement. But Poirot has already meted out his own peculiar form of justice.

I thought there were at least a couple of unsatisfactory plot elements: I couldn't imagine anyone hammering a tack into wood in the middle of the night and expecting to go undetected, and I thought the murderer changed character too much. Unexpectedly Poirot becomes the owner of Bob the dog.

I originally reviewed this novel in 2011 and gave it the same rating. I have re-read it to participate in this month's Crime Fiction of the Year Challenge for 1937 at Past Offences. ( )
  smik | Mar 5, 2017 |
I loved it, especially chapter 18! Very well constructed, difficult to figure who committed the crime. Highly recommend it. ( )
  MrsRK | Nov 21, 2016 |
I love that no matter how many books by Christie I read, I can still never guess the murderer. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
A great story as always. Hercule Poirot does a wonderful job of finding out who the murderer is and unveiling him (or her) amid the group of possible suspects. I find in her earlier books, that there are often a lot more clues to who the murder is than in her later books. The time period of the story is also interesting. As it was written in 1937, a lot of the references to places and customs are very realistic since Christie would have been living during that time as well. A fun book to curl up with on a rainy afternoon. ( )
  Hanneri | Jul 27, 2016 |
Dumb Witness – Agatha Christie
Also published as Poirot Loses a Client and as Silent Witness,
Audio version performed by Hugh Fraser
4 stars

Poirot receives a letter from a distressed, elderly lady. She has reason to be afraid for her life. Unfortunately, she had forgotten to mail the letter. When Poirot seeks to investigate, he finds that the lady has been dead for some time. Although it appears to have been a natural death, Poirot is not convinced. Every member of the victim’s family is a potential suspect.
I thought I had this one figured out. I was sure I knew the name of the murderer, but I must not have sufficient little gray cells. Agatha Christie stumped me again.
There were a great many unlikable, unpleasant characters in this book. I didn’t find myself caring about any of them. The best part of the story was the dog, Bob. Bob has a major role and even some dialog as Christie wrote a verbal interpretation of his barks. Captain Hastings was able to be truly useful as a ball throwing playmate for the dog. ( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piceni, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teason, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Most faithful of friends
and dearest of companions,
a dog in a thousand
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Miss Arundell died on May 1st.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425098540, Mass Market Paperback)

Miss Emily was old, rich, and afraid--and now, she's dead. Her terrified plea to Hercule Poirot came a little too late. All that's left is a house full of greedy heirs, and a very strange letter that could solve the mystery--or add to it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:59 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As Hercule Poirot sifts through his post one particular morning, he alights upon a letter from an elderly and (as it transpires) exceedingly rich spinster--Miss Emily Arundell. She is clearly in great distress and seeking his help, but doesn't say why. Her only specific mention is "the incident of the dog's ball." However, what intrigues Poirot is the date of the communication--it was written two months ago. He persuades Captain Hastings that they must visit the lady with all haste. On arrival, they discover that she has died, apparently of natural causes. But Bob, Miss Arundell's devoted wire-haired terrier, knows better. And so, soon, does Poirot.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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