In The Big Four, Agatha Christie’s beloved Inspector Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate the mysterious death of Sir Carmichael Clarke. Framed in the doorway of Poirot’s bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man’s gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell. Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what was the significance of the figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper
It is the spring of 1920. Times are hard, but then, for many people, they always have been. The rich live in luxury in their country houses, while the poor struggle to survive in the slums of London. This is where Hercule Poirot makes his home – a place where he can solve crimes and find justice for those who need it most. But this case will test even his considerable talents; it begins when a mysterious stranger appears at Poirot’s door…
When Hercule Poirot is called to the scene at a train station in Kent, he is sure that murder has been committed. But by whom? And who would have wanted them dead? The Big Four includes a short story where Poirot is back in London, investigating an arsonist who may just be responsible for several recent deaths including those of several prominent politicians in Parliament Square. Another tale follows on from Lord Edgware Dies where Poirot must prove the innocence of his fictional creation – the notorious criminal Ruth Kettering.
About The Big Four Book
Framed in the doorway of Poirot’s bedroom stood an uninvited guest, coated from head to foot in dust. The man’s gaunt face stared for a moment, then he swayed and fell. Who was he? Was he suffering from shock or just exhaustion? Above all, what was the significance of figure 4, scribbled over and over again on a sheet of paper? We follow Hercule Poirot as he plunges into a world of international intrigue, risking his life to uncover the truth about ‘Number Four’.
Librarian’s note #1: the concept of The Big Four first appeared as weekly short stories very loosely connected in ‘The Sketch’ in 1924. The 12 original stories were: 1) The Unexpected Guest, 2) The Adventure of the Dartmoor Bungalow, 3) The Lady on the Stairs, 4) The Radium Thieves, 5) In the House of the Enemy, 6) The Yellow Jasmine Mystery, 7) The Chess Problem, 8) The Baited Trap, 9) The Adventure of the Peroxide Blond, 10) The Terrible Catastrophe, 11) The Dying Chinaman, and 12) The Crag in the Dolomites. For her 1927 novel, Christie enhanced the linkages between the stories and shuffled them somewhat.
Librarian’s note: the first fifteen novels in the Hercule Poirot series are 1) The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1920; 2) The Murder on the Links, 1923; 3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1926; 4) The Big Four, 1927; 5) The Mystery of the Blue Train, 1928; 6) Peril at End House, 1932; 7) Lord Edgware Dies, 1933; 8) Murder on the Orient Express, 1934; 9) Three Act Tragedy, 1935; 10) Death in the Clouds, 1935; 11) The A.B.C. Murders, 1936; 12) Murder in Mesopotamia, 1936; 13) Cards on the Table, 1936; 14) Dumb Witness, 1937; and 15) Death on the Nile, 1937. These are just the novels; Poirot also appears in this period in a play, Black Coffee, 1930, and two collections of short stories, Poirot Investigates, 1924, and Murder in the Mews, 1937. Each novel, play and short story has its own entry on Goodreads.