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Cards On the Table by Agatha Christie
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Cards On the Table (original 1936; edition 1936)

by Agatha Christie (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,350462,676 (3.79)113
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

Work details

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie (1936)

Recently added byLutfiSezer, TnTexas, shakesheke, private library, Boona, schlechtenBerg, nyce
  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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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
The unpleasant and Mephistophelian Mr. Shaitana has invited Hercule Poirot to a dinner for the purpose of showing off his "collection" of four murderers who have committed the perfect crime - they have all gotten away with murder. When Hercule arrives at the dinner party, he finds that Scotland Yard's Superintendent Battle, mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver, and Secret Service agent Colonel Race have also been invited.

During an after dinner game of bridge, Mr. Shaitana is murdered. There are only four others who could have performed the crime. Hercule Poirot uses his wits to discover the murderer - with the help of the bridge score.

This is a typical Agatha Christie. Easy to read, entertaining, and a nice way to fill in some hours. ( )
  HelenLiang | Sep 7, 2014 |
A nice quick read. I thought I'd figured out who did it, so it was a nice surprise at the end to find out I was wrong! ( )
  cathymoore | Sep 2, 2014 |
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: It was the match-up of the century: four sleuths--Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard; Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, famed writer of detective stories; Col. 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! But before the first rubber was completed, the host was dead.

My Review: This review is of Christie's novel and the tenth-season film adaptation for Agatha Christie's Poirot. They earn the same rating.

One of the ways couples reinforce their pair bond is shared entertainment. My Gentleman Caller and I read a lot; I'm a big mystery fan, where he is less interested in the genre. We both enjoy mystery movies a good deal, though, and the Poirot series especially. Through the amazing and wonderful Internet, we can watch episodes together, discussing them in real time, or just canoodling in cyberspace. I think I'd go bonkers if I didn't have my fix of looking at his face this way.

So this evening we watched two of the movies. First up was this very entertaining adaptation of Christie's novel of psychology. Ariadne Oliver, an author surrogate character for Mrs. Christie herself, makes her first filmed and literary appearance here. Zoë Wanamaker is a wonderful choice to play Mrs. Oliver, being husky-voiced and of a distinctive and memorable appearance. It's one of the pleasures of the films that the actors cast in Christie's roles are uniformly excellent craftspeople, and Wanamaker is no exception.

In watching this adaptation, I felt a wee bit seasick. All the roles were there, just as in the book; but they had different names, unrecognizable motives, and switched-up personae. Colonel Race, a recurring Christie character, is called something else although it's only his name that's different. Rhoda and Anne completely switch purposes, though I have no earthly notion why. The motivation for the central murder is *completely* unrecognizable. It would, in fact, have been impossible for Christie to write it in 1935 and get the book published. The Superintendent is renamed and good gracious me how he is changed up! I mean to tell you, Ma Christie would likely be apoplectic over this particular bit of modification.

The victim, Mr. Shaitana, is portrayed by Alexander Siddig, who enacted the role of Doctor Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine about twenty years ago. I hadn't recalled that the man was so very tall and so very lean. As Shaitana, a furriner and an ethnic in racist 1930s London, he (Siddig) is perfectly chosen: He looks exotic and strange, skin of brown and eyes of green and wardrobe chosen to exaggerate the actor's dramatic silhouette. Mrs. Oliver as a stand-in for Christie herself comments on his foreignness by saying he "gives {her} the jitters." Really. Yech.

The mundane murder motive in the novel is considerably spicier in the film, and actually more fun for this modern audience of two. The book presents a more complete Christieverse experience, drawing the four sleuths and one suspect from the well she reused freely. Each decision has its advantages; on the whole, I can't say that one of the media is preferable to the other. I, and certainly my Gentleman Caller, don't subscribe to the Purity Test for films. The source material will always be altered to suit the demands of the medium. That's the way it works, and more often than not has to; not infrequently the adapted film is superior to the source material, if rabid ardent nut-level fans would simply see it. (And of course there are reverse cases by the scores, it's not a one-way street by any means.)

This film, substantially altered from an excellent novel, finds a different and equal excellence. The spirit of the story is intact, and is well served by the changes made for film. And as always, the role of Poirot is complete and entire in David Suchet's hands. And mincing feet. And waxed mustache. The story, either medium, is delicious and savory and a treat not to be denied oneself.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
  richardderus | Aug 31, 2014 |
This was another good Agatha Christie book. With four suspects we find ourselves embroiled in their lifes. Everyone of them as a reason and probably has killed before. Who was it? I really enjoy the book since we are presented not only by Herculae Poirot but also from other characters from other books... Ariadne Oliver, Superintendent Battle and Colonel Race.

This was probably the first book, from Agatha Christie, that I found out who the murder was.

This is a quick read with only 200 pages (in portuguese) where the main antagonist is jailed but two of the other three members suffer from their past crimes. One drowns and other hang himself. The other, even if he killed someone, is found out not guilty so Agatha Christie gives him a "happy" ending.

There are several instances that other characters and poirot give information about other works (even the solution from one of the crimes).

Agatha Christie to me is as always a quick easy and safe read. ( )
  chevalierdulys | Apr 21, 2014 |
This novel has one guessing at the killer until the very end. Christie is a master at the surprise ending. Poirot didn't come into it as much as I would have liked, but he used a characteristically unlikely approach to solving the crime - that of analyzing the characters of the different suspects in order to discover which of them would be more likely to commit that kind of crime. This wasn't my favorite novel by A. Christie, but I did enjoy the novel approach to solving a crime. ( )
  Coffeehag | Jan 9, 2014 |
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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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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

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:03 -0400)

(see all 6 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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