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Cards On the Table by Agatha Christie
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2,554542,359 (3.78)146
Member:RedQueen
Title:Cards On the Table
Authors:Agatha Christie (Author)
Info:Bantam Doubleday Dell (1984), Hardcover, 197 pages
Collections:Your library, Mystery, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:classic British, detective, Hercule Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Ariadne Oliver, mystery, England, 12, Colonel Race, Golden Age

Work details

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie (1936)

  1. 20
    Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie (Porua)
    Porua: Hercule Poirot with Mrs. Oliver once again after Cards on the Table. This is reason enough for anyone who has enjoyed their first outing together to read this book.
  2. 00
    The Mary Wesmacott Collection by Mary Westmacott (iz)
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English (51)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Hercule Poirot, bridge and an impossible murder. This is the one where Poirot manages to outshine all the other sleuths in the story. Twirling his mustache and using his little grey cells, he tricks us again. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
A very clever plot revolving around a game of bridge. Hercule Poirot is involved, helped by the police, and the investigations look as if any of the possible suspects could be guilty. Highly recommended. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie - Good

Oh I do like Agatha Christie: my default read and never disappoints.

This was is set in 1936 and sees Poirot investigating the death of the mysterious Shaitana. He deliberately set up a dinner party where four of the guests have 'got away with murder' and four of the guests are sleuths of some description: a policeman, a secret service man, a crime author and Poirot. During the party, Shaitana is stabbed and no one notices until they come to leave.

So which of the four is the culprit? All have something to hide, all could have done it. The four sleuths work independently but share their knowledge. Interesting style and puzzle, all the better in that it varies quite a lot from the TV adapatation - sufficiently to avoid spoiling the twists and ending.

A nice easy read which doesn't quite go the way you expect it to. ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Professional poseur Mr Shaitana arranges a dinner-party with eight guests: four of them, one way or another, are involved with the detection of crime; the others, so Shaitana confides to Hercule Poirot, have all gotten away with murder... After dinner the oddly-assorted guests separate into two bridge-playing parties, each in a different room, while Mr Shaitana sits by the fire and enjoys his own cleverness. He has not long to do so, however, because by the end of the evening Mr Shaitana is dead: stabbed with one of his own collected artefacts, a jewelled dagger. Though one of Shaitana's "specimens" must be guilty, there is no evidence against any one of them in particular... In her personal foreword, Agatha Christie comments that this 1936 mystery was one of Poirot's favourite cases; I would guess that it was one of hers, too, considering the delicious layering of the plot itself and the way she uses her characters. This novel not only brings together private investigator Hercule Poirot, Scotland Yard's Superintendent Battle and Secret Serviceman Colonel Race, but - after her brief appearance in Parker Pyne Investigates - properly introduces mystery writer Ariadne Oliver, clearly her author's avatar, with whom Agatha has enormous fun. Though the professionals cannot go along with Mrs Oliver's suggestion that the four of them investigate the murder by each "backing their favourite" - tackling one suspect each - they do allow the amateur to join their ranks; subsequently - at least when she isn't allowing her "feminine intuition" to run riot - Mrs Oliver makes some valuable contributions. It is Poirot's contention that the case turns on whether or not Mr Shaitana was right in his assertion that the other four dinner-guests - explorer and author Major John Despard, bridge-fiend Mrs Lorrimer, society physician Dr Roberts and former paid companion Anne Meredith - got away with murder in the past: the detectives must, therefore, not only investigate Shaitana's murder itself, but delve into the lives of their suspects, looking for a connection with an unexpected or mysterious death---knowing that they may never be able to prove anything, whatever they discover. For Poirot, the overriding question is which of the four suspects could have been capable of murdering Shaitana - a crime unpremeditated, committed on the spur of the moment: which of them, in other words, has the right psychology---a question which Poirot answers, at least to his own satisfaction, by examining the evening's bridge scores...

    "Let's look at the rough possibilities," said Battle. He considered a minute. "I put the doctor first, I think. Specious sort of customer. Would know the right spot to shove the dagger in. But there's not much more to it than that. Then take Despard. There's a man with any amount of nerve. A man accustomed to quick decisions and a man who's quite at home doing dangerous things. Mrs Lorrimer? She's got any amount of nerve, too, and she's the sort of woman who might have a secret in her life. She looks as though she's known trouble. On the other hand, I'd say she's what I call a high-principled woman---sort of woman who might be headmistress of a girls' school. It isn't easy to think of her sticking a knife into any one. In fact, I don't think she did. And lastly, there's little Miss Meredith. We don't know anything about her. She seems an ordinary, good-looking, rather shy girl. But one doesn't know, as I say, anything about her."
    "We know that Shaitana believed she had committed murder," said Poirot.
  lyzard | Jan 22, 2016 |
This was a very interesting plot, murder in plain sight of others..... The clue was there right in the "interviews" of the suspects.

Mr Shaitana (who fashions himself after a modern Mephistopheles in dress & manner) makes it his business to collect things, including people's dirty secrets.... Unfortunately he turned out to be a very "stupid" man (M. Poirot's words), for Mr Shaitana decided to give a party and invite 4 people (all who have apparently gotten away with murder) and 4 great detectives (M. Poirot, Superintendent Battle, Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, & Colonel Race) to have dinner with him.

The two groups of people were in separate rooms playing bridge.... Mr. Shaitana was in w/ the 4 murderers sitting in front of the fire and was found slumped in his chair, apparently sleeping..... But in reality murdered w/ a pretty little dagger.

The four detectives go about working on different aspects, all gathering clues & interviewing the suspects in their own particular manner.... And then there is another murder and an attempted murder.

This was the first time that I understood M. Poirot's methods, although as they followed the bridge scores, I didn't understand them. Mrs. Oliver was outright annoying. Sadly, Superintendent Battle wasn't as visible as in the past & Colonel Race was off quietly making inquiries so one didn't get to follow his investigation at all.

It was a pretty satisfying mystery......

( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (70 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbs, ChristopherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moffatt, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suomalainen, AuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
De geheimzinnige mijnheer Shaitana "verzamelt" niet-ontdekte moordenaars. Een gevaarlijke hobby, die hem zijn leven kost. Poirot moet uit deze "verzameling" degene zoeken die Shaitana doodgestoken heeft. Hoewel hij uit de manier waarop de verdachten bridge spelen heel wat kan opmaken over hun karakter, blijft het een bijzonder ingewikkelde zaak.
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   It was the match-up of the century: four sleuths - Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard. Mrs Ariadne Oliver, famed writer of detective stories; Colonel Race of His Majesty's Secret Service, and the incomparable Hercule Poirot - invited to play bridge with four specially invited guests, each of whom had gotten away with murder! 
   For the host, the mysterious Mr Shaitana, it was to be a clever entertainment. But before the first rubber was completed, the host himself was dead.
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   Poirot went over to the bridge table. Without touching anything he examined the scores. He shook his head once or twice.
   "The stupid little man! Oh, the stupid little man," murmured Hercule Poirot. "The dress up as the devil and try to frighten people. Quel enfantillage!"
   The door opened. the divisional surgeon came in, bag in hand; he was followed by the divisional inspector talking to Battle. A camera man came next. there was a constable in the h all.
   The routine of the detection of crime had begun ...
Haiku summary
killed in plain sight
cards bridge to deadly suspects
someone over bid
(hardboiled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425205959, Mass Market Paperback)

Poirot is invited to a dinner party held by Mr. Shaitana, a strange old man who informs him that four of his fellow guests are murderers who have pulled off their crime without getting caught. After dinner the criminals assemble to play bridge in a separate room with their host, and Shaitana is promptly killed. It's up to Poirot to ensure that the murderer doesn't get off a second time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"In the matchup of the century, four sleuths--including mystery writer Ariadne Oliver and the incomparable Hercule Poirot--have been invited to play bridge with four cunning criminals, each of whom had gotten away with murder. For the host, it is irresistible entertainment--until his own murder becomes part of the game."--back cover"… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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