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The Labours of Hercules: 12 Hercule Poirot…
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The Labours of Hercules: 12 Hercule Poirot Mysteries (original 1947; edition 2005)

by Agatha Christie, Hugh Fraser (Narrator)

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Member:Snowstorm
Title:The Labours of Hercules: 12 Hercule Poirot Mysteries
Authors:Agatha Christie
Other authors:Hugh Fraser (Narrator)
Info:BBC Audiobooks America (2005), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
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The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie (1947)

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
A fun collection of twelve mini-mysteries with one common theme. Poirot considers him a modern Hercules, in the sense that he and his namesake both dedicate their lives to the removal of certain pests. So Poirot decided that these, the last cases before his retirement, should have some metaphorical connection to the original 12 Labours of Hercules. Some stories were better crafted than others but they all had that twist in the tail that Christie is famous for.

The Nemean Lion: The case of a missing Pekinese pooch is usually of little interest to a detective as renowned as Poirot, but his interest is piqued when it is the husband rather than the wife that comes to him with the case. The Labours of Hercules starts off well with this quaint but challenging mystery. A well rounded story with believable characters and a clever plot. (4/5)

The Learnean Hydra: The gossiping old biddies of Market Loughborough usually have little to gossip about in their respectable village, but when a reputable doctor's wife takes ill and dies, rumour begin flying. The sense of atmosphere in this story was palpable; the village of gossiping old biddies portrayed perfectly. However, some of the characters were a little unnecessary and the well-worn plot line was not quite enough of a surprise as Christie's stories usually are. (3.5/5)

The Arcadian Deer: You think a man would realise when he had been stood up, but not mechanic Ted Williamson. He is called one day to the summerhouse of George Sanderfield where he meets a lovely young maid to a famous Russian Ballerina. As is the way in most stories they fall in love immediately and promise to meet again, but the maid never shows. Can Poirot find out what exactly happened to the young girl when everyone he asks seems to be lying to him? I never really liked Christie when she gets all lovey-dovey, it always seems a little over the top to me. Although I wouldn’t have guessed the ending to this one, there were too many characters and it was all a bit ridiculous. (2.5/5)

The Erymanthian Boar: Now this is more like it! Deciding to take a trip to a nearly abandoned hotel in the high hills of Switzerland, Poirot is informed that the dangerous multiple murderer Marrascaud is arranging a rendezvous at the hotel. Can Poirot, with the help of the British police, finally catch this animalistic murderer? When it comes to characters and plot, this story was initially spot on, however the ending was a little rushed and the story could have used a page or two more for explanation. Otherwise, it was a nice change from Christie’s usually more docile yarns. (3.5/5)

The Augean Stables: Former British PM John Hammott represented the essence of what it was to be British. A few years after the man’s death however, a trashy newspaper gets hold of some less than flattering info about the late PM’s financial embezzlement. This wouldn’t be a problem, the current PM explains to Poirot, if the claims weren’t entirely true. Now Poirot has been called upon to do his utmost to stop the paper printing what they know. It was at this point when I began appreciating Christie’s ability to change her story styles on a hairpin, as this story is quite different to the rest. Most of the story rests upon how Poirot gets the government out of its sticky situation, and, as always, he does it marvellously. One of the best of the collection (4/5).

The Stymphalean Birds: Rising MP Harold Waring is having a peaceful time at a small hotel in Herzoslovakia when he spots two frightening looking women who he believes are omens of bad luck. His fears seem to be founded when the following night brings an unexpected guest and a dead body to his very hotel. I have a little bit of a mixed reaction to this one. It didn’t take me too long to discover what was going on but the characters were marginally better than those in most of the other stories. (3/5)

The Cretan Bull: Country girl Diane Maberly comes to Poirot in quite a state; her fiancé has just called off their engagement because he believes himself to be going insane. In my opinion, this is the best of the bunch. A great premise with an interesting assortment of characters, each with their own motive for the crime. The atmosphere throughout the whole story was intense and the ending a true surprise. This would have made a fantastically spooky episode of Poirot during the 90’s series. (4.5/5)

The Horses of Diomedes: After a wild party earlier in the evening, Poirot is called down to the house of the four Grant sisters. The local doctor expressed his concern that these wholesome girls have been corrupted by cocaine and are falling in with the wrong crowd. I enjoyed the idea behind this story, but, like the Erymanthian Boar, the ending was a little rushed and nothing really seemed to happen until the end. Given a few edits in some places and explanatory additions in others, this story could have been one of the better ones. (3/5)

The Girdle of Hippolyta: Only Hercule Poirot can connect the case of the missing Rubens painting and the disappearance of a plain schoolgirl together, and with such style. One of the more inventive stories of the series, with an engrossing storyline and one or two fairly strong characters. I would also suggest that this is the most thought-out of all the Labours in the series as it seemed plausible and made a lot of sense when you thought about it. (3.5/5)

The Flock of Geryon: One of the major characters from a previous labour (not telling you which) comes back to Poirot in the tenth story. She’s worried that her friend in getting sucked in to a potentially dangerous religious cult. This story was a bit about the return of one of the characters from a previous story, a bit of a social commentary on religious cults, but little else. It lacked the character vitality and the sharpness of the other stories. Still, not a bad yarn altogether. (3/5)

The Apples of Hesperides: Hercule Poirot’s expertise is sought after by a wealthy businessman in order to reclaim a treasure worth a great deal of money. Unfortunately, this story comes at the bottom of the pile in my list of favourites. There was a lot more dialogue by Hercule explaining to Emery Power (the businessman) what was going on than necessary, in fact it took up most of the story. The ending was uninspired and altogether too dull for a traditional Christie mystery. (1.5/5)

The Capture of Cerberus: At long last, Hercule Poirot is reunited with the most fascinating woman of his career, the Countess Vera Rossakoff! But disaster! They are moving on opposite escalators in the London underground. But where can Poirot find her? “In Hell” the Countess replies before being whisked back into the depths of the underground. After a perplexing but thrilling beginning the story resolves itself in a rather modern setting for Christie. Setting a story in a nightclub is not exactly usual of Christie but, in this case, it is done so well. (3.5/5)

Which gives a final score of 3.3/5. Although I still think you should pick it up as there is some classic Christie amongst these pages, even if there are a few let-downs too. Also, this collection of stories is going to somehow be made into an episode of Poirot for 2012/13. Anyone else wondering how they are going to fit all of these stories into one episode? ( )
  twherry | Sep 12, 2012 |
Written and set in times which were a little slower and arguably more civilised, this book traces through a series of 12 short stories some special cases taken on by the delightful M Hercule Poirot. All are very clever and most lead to an unexpected (if somewhat contrived) denouement. Poirot himself is vain, well-tailored and proud, but at the same time extremely charming and likeable. ( )
  johnthefireman | Sep 10, 2012 |
A fun quick read. I like how the themes of the of the challenges of Hercules was very woven into the mysteries . ( )
  charlie68 | May 23, 2012 |
This book begins with Poirot and a friend discussing Poirot's plans to retire, and the friend comments that "Hercule" is somewhat of an "interesting" name for someone of Poirot's looks, temperament and stature. (Poirot: "What, you're saying I DON'T resemble the Hercules of myth?" Me: *stifles a snort of laughter*) But this comment inspires Poirot to take on 12 final cases, each one resembling a labour performed by Hercules as told in the myths. Some of the connections are quite tenuous indeed, and because these are short stories there isn't much room for character development or even more than a couple of twists. They're fun little trifles, though, albeit somewhat forgettable because they can be gulped down so quickly. Recommended for those who like Poirot or who tolerate him only in small doses. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 20, 2012 |
Hercule, le héros grec, avait accompli douze travaux. En voici une demi-douzaine, les autres étant réunis sous le titre LES ÉCURIES D'AUGIAS. Cependant, ce n'est pas du héros grec qu'il s'agit. Tout bonnement d'Hercule Poirot. Le célèbre détective belge est loin d'avoir le physique avantageux du fils de Zeus, mais il possède des petites cellules grises en assez bon état pour résoudre, avec son incomparable brio, ces douze énigmes particulièrement ardues. Avec « Le Lion de Némée », il se retrouve aux prises avec un redoutable gang londonien ravisseur d'un pékinois ; dans « L'Hydre de Lerne », il est face au monstre le plus redoutable qui soit : la calomnie. Cette calomnie-là susurre que le docteur Olfield a assassiné sa femme pour épouser sa garde-malade. De quoi envoyer à la potence un homme et une jeune fille... Six nouvelles, six mystères brillamment élucidés.
  PierreYvesMERCIER | Feb 19, 2012 |
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Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hercule Poirot's flat was essentially modern in its furnishings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425067858, Mass Market Paperback)

On the verge of retirement, Hercule Poirot can't resist the lure of a seemingly unsolvable series of recent crimes--from a lost Pekinese to a man driven mad by love to a gentleman poisoned by gossip.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In appearance Hercule Poirot hardly resembled an ancient Greek hero. Yet - reasoned the detective - like Hercules he had been responsible for ridding society of some of its most unpleasant monsters. So, in the period before he retired, Poirot made up his mind to accept just twelve more cases: his self-imposed 'Labors'. Each would go down in the annals of crime as a heroic feat of deduction.… (more)

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