Thursday, October 18, 2012
Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Mr. Shaitana is famous as a flamboyant party host. Nevertheless, he is a man of whom everybody is a little afraid. So when he boasts to Hercule Poirot that he considers murder an art form, the detective has some reservations about accepting a party invitation to view Shaitana's "private collection."
Indeed, what begins as an absorbing evening of bridge is to turn into a more dangerous game altogether....
I can think of very few characters that leave me both elated and annoyed at the same time, Hercule Poirot is one such character for me. I really seem to have this bizarre love/hate relationship with him, that thankfully seems to be shared with his creator, Agatha Christie. He is such a pompous, egotistical little guy, that I should be really disgusted by his attitude. Fortunately, or not, his superiority complex is so well deserved, that no matter how annoying he can be, I can't help but excuse his irritating manner. He deserves to act in such a fashion, because the man is brilliant. He may be eccentric, egocentric, and just a bit of a dandy, but he's earned it all. I take my hat off to him and his mustache.
In Cards on the Table, Poirot is invited to a dinner party to see Shaitana's "collection" of real life murderers. When Poirot arrives, he is greeted by his host and a few of the other guests, who are not part of the collection. Along with Poirot, Shaitana invited three other guests who are involved in the business of murder, but who don't commit murders themselves. Along for the ride are Colonel Johnny Race, Superintendent Battle, and mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver. Shortly thereafter, the showcases arrive, four men and women who Shaitana thinks committed murders that they got away with. When the dinner party separates for bridge, the four suspects to one room, the four detectives to another, the party seems to be winding down. When the party ends with Shaitana dead in a chair by the fireplace in the room the suspects were playing in, it seems that his "joke" bit him in the ass.
It seems it's up to Poirot and the others to figure out what happened and which of the other guests are actually guilty of murder, maybe more than one. The investigation takes some winding turns and a few other bodies show up to muddy the waters, but in true Poirot fashion, the reality of the crime is never far from his little grey cells. He, with the help of the others, puts all the pieces together and shows us all why he deserves to have an ego that's bigger than he is.
Challenges: VM (Golden Age Girls)