The Big Four was published on January 27, 1927. Written by Agatha Christie, I went into it expecting to love it: I adore the Poirot novels, and the Miss Marple novels. However, that is not what happened.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I really wanted to like this book. It was the only Agatha Christie novel I hadn’t read. It was, of course, superbly written, the characters are brilliant. What brought it down was the plot. It wasn’t exactly a murder mystery, which is what I go to Agatha Christie for. It leaned more towards Espionage/Adventure.
Growing up, I insisted that every novel penned by the Queen of Crime was amazing. I’m not saying that this book isn’t good. But, ‘good’ is as far as I will go – and I will say ‘good’ with a tone betraying generosity.
The Big Four is a major terrorist organisation comprising of four major people from different cultures, and what appeared to be thousands of henchmen. That is not what the majority of people will expect when they read a Poirot mystery. They are cosy mysteries, and played a massive role in showing me I loved reading, wanted to write.
This book, though, was, in a word, weird. It felt like a mish-mash of stories. Having researched Agatha Christie for years, I know she wrote several short stories magazines didn’t want, and so she threw them into this book. The result was a disjointed, and frankly confusing, book.
Poirot wore a disguise in this book while fighting terrorists. It genuinely came across as an attempt at a superhero novel. I absolutely love Agatha Christie’s books, but this is not one I will be reading again anytime soon.
Due to the characters, and the writing, I gave this book three stars. Again, this was generous. More like 2.5 stars.