Friday, July 5, 2013

Five Little Pigs

Five Little Pigs
Today’s post is on “Five Little Pigs” by Agatha Christie also called Murder in Retrospect. It is the 24th Hercule Poirot novel, it is 240 pages long, and is published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. The cover has a hand with a paint brush in it and fades into a bright orange. The intended reader is someone who loves mysteries but this, like all Christie novels, is so well written that anyone who reads it will have a good time. There is no language, nothing illicit in this but there is talk of affair(s) by the murder victim and the murderer is very, very cold. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- It was an open and shut case. All the evidence said Caroline Crale poisoned her philandering husband, a brilliant painter. She was quickly and easily convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Now, sixteen years later, in a posthumous letter, Mrs. Crale has assured her grown daughter that she was innocent. But instead of setting the young woman’s mind at ease, the letter only raises disquieting questions. Did Caroline indeed write the truth? And if she didn’t kill her husband, who did?
To find out, the Crale’s daughter asks Hercule Poirot to reopen the case. His investigation takes him deep into the conflicting memories and motivations of the five other people who were with the Crales on that fatal day. With his keen understanding of human psychology, he manages to discover the surprising truth behind the artist’s death.

Review- This is my favorite Poirot novel and one of the best by Christie; in my opinion. The mystery is being told to both Poirot and the reader backwards. Poirot is hired sixteen years after the murders, I say murders because Caroline Crale dies in jail because of the real murderer, and how it fits together is just chilling. When I read the final chapter and Poirot unveils the killer and their reasoning I got cold chills. One of the things that I love about Christie is that I do not have sympathy with her murderers and this one is no exception. The murderer is one of the most cold blooded killers I have ever read about. The writing is, of course, is superior to so many both in her time and in ours. The characters have layers upon layers that has the novel moves towards it conclusion they just become more and more complex. Everyone one of them has reasons for wanting Mr. Crale dead and Poirot is the only man who could uncover not only who but why he was murdered. Poirot himself does not have any character development but he is more like the reader than an active part of the cast in the story. Poirot is being told things and unless he has a question there is no interruption in the flow of the narrative. Only Agatha Christie could think of a story like this; much less write successfully. Pick this one up for a engrossing mystery and watch her do some of her best work.

I give this one Five out of Five Stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this book with my own money.