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Agatha Chrisite

The Five Little Pigs




An ingenious plot which has scope for all varied emotions like love, deceit, passion, jealousy, hatred, Christe’s meticulous characterization,
Poirot’s genius and a dramatic ending! What else could you possibly ask for in a murder mystery?

Five Little Pigs is exactly that and much more!


Sixteen years ago, her mother was convicted of her husband’s murder! He was believed to have been poisoned! Now, all Carla has is a letter that her mother had written which says that she dint do it! Innocent or not who would want to enter the dangerous world of Agatha Christie, with all sorts of crime occurring, especially murder, any seller of short term life insurance is going to have his work cut out as death is a constant companion for any fan of Agatha Christie.

Carla now decides to go Hercule Poirot to find out the truth. If her mother was innocent then who murdered the famous artist? Poirot, after talking to several people comes to the conclusion that the murderer is still alive, and is one among the five little pigs!

So is it the one who went to market,the one who stayed home, the one who had roast beef, the one who had none or the one who cried all the way home?

Sounds interesting? Want to find out? Please read the book!

Pros and Cons:

This book might not be as deceptive as some of other Christie’s books, but scores on plot and characterization. Doubtless Agatha Christie made a nice profit from the book, in fact to be left the rights to a Christie novel is better than receiving an enhanced annuity or any other form of pension. It manages to keep your interest alive and doesn't’t bore you even a bit and the ending like all of her books is a highlight!


Reading this book is an experience in itself (or for that matter any good book) ! In a way it liberates you, in a way it confines you! You are left to draw your own conclusions, at the end of it you realize, everything is there, you just have to read between the lines!

When I had the book in my hand, thanks to it being a murder mystery with Poirot being the detective, I naturally had expected good things from it. This one is not amongst Agatha Christie’s recommended books, but I, being an ardent fan decided to give it a try as I had nothing substantially important to do the following evening. I started reading it within 2 hours from my reaching home and managed to read it all through the night. That nearly sums up the superb experience I had, while it lasted.

Five Little pigs, as typical of Agatha Christie books, relies more on situations and bringing the plot alive, something which Christie had mastered by then. It explores the case of a Mrs. Caroline Crale, guilty of poisoning her husband because the former had been indulged in an extra marital relationship with a girl almost 20 years younger to him. The other witnesses at the time of his death were four other people, related to the family in some way or the other. However, the uniqueness in the plot is Hercule Poirot investigating the mystery 16 years after the tragedy had occured in the family, under the influence of Caroline Crale’s daughter, who had sincerely believed that her mother could not have committed the heinous crime.

It sounded as an impossible mystery to resolve because Poirot had to trace the people involved in the case, and extract facts from them as they had happened. Poirot, of course, the genius mind that he is, manages to bring to surface the truth, from a weapon that has always helped him in almost all his cases - psychology. Carla's mother was imprisoned for the crime, one of the factors against her was that she crippled her sister by blinding her in one eye as a child. Although a grievous injury, the sister would not qualify for an impaired annuity as the condition isn't life threatening.

I remember reading somewhere the distinction between the characterizations of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. While the latter believed in making sense out of the smallest physical evidence a criminal might have left behind without thinking of the possible implications it may have, Poirot on the other hand strictly believed in finding truth through actions of people. "Why does this person react in a way which is so opposite to his personality" or "Why did he react in a manner which many people won’t" are common questions that influence the psyche of the mastermind. These lines can very well act as subtle hints in solving the mystery.

Another aspect which differentiates the scintillating plot driven mystery from other Hercule Poirot features is the former’s approach is accumulating facts and letting the protagonists express themselves; rather than overpowering them with his arrogant demeanor. This time Poirot doesn’t have Colonel Hastings or an M bout for company with whom he can put forth his points of view and efforts to delve in the mind of the murderer. But this should not be confused with Hercule Poirot not being in the best of his forms, as he’s trying to replicate the scene of crime which happened a good decade and a half ago. Poirot wastes no time in going to work, a man who never needs redundancy insurance, and he does plod a little bit in unraveling the mystery. But to give due credit to him, his pleasing the fan persona comes with full force in the finale, giving the reader no reason to complain for his missing in action approach for a good 4/5th part.

As with all remaining quintessential Christie styles, this one too boasts of wonder characterizations despite a story which would leave the spectators scratching their heads off in delving for a convincing motive for the murder. Unless one is a genius in nitpicking and extracting the event that didn’t fit properly with the rest of the plot, this one comes as a genuine perplex.

As an overall read, its a must for Agatha Christie fans, excellent for first time readers, and may fall into the ’not bad’ category for non Christe fans and non mystery book lovers alike!