Book Review: The Big Four

The Big Four
Agatha Christie's novels are often enjoyable, a perfect choice to exercise the brain cells while you feverishly turn the pages in excitement wanting to know what's is going to happen next. It was with the same enthusiasm and fervour that I started reading The Big Four. But alas! Hercule Poirot's plans to solve a crime in America get awry with the arrival of an unexpected visitor, a Mr. Mayerling, who tells them about a notorious crime cartel known as The Big Four, a gang of four crooks whose identities are a well-guarded secret. And this is only the start of what's a deadly game of international intrigue as Poirot tries to uncover the true identity of the mysterious Number Four.

Originally conceived as a series of twelve short stories for Sketch magazine and later commingled into a single narrative, The Big Four is fairly engrossing, thanks to its interesting sub-plots, but they don't jell in with the main story cohesively, and Christie resorts to gimmicks to ramp up the thrills to compensate for the lack of cerebral kicks that she is usually known for. The Hercule Poirot in this globe-trotting adventure is so 'unPoirotish' and his friend Hastings has been wasted in a character that is as moronic as ever. Christie's The Big Four is at best an exaggerated piece of detective fiction.