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Five Little Pigs
By Agatha Christie

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Five Little Pigs
A Hercule Poirot Mystery
By Agatha Christie
Ulverscroft Large Print, 1991
ISBN: 0-7089-0814-4
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - September 12, 2005

Hercule Poirot's little grey cells work overtime in Agatha Christie's Five Little Pigs. In this intriguing case, Poirot is asked to reopen a murder case that was closed by the police almost sixteen years previously. The case in questions involved the poisoning of Amyas Crale, a famous painter. His wife Caroline was charged with the murder, convicted of the crime, and shortly thereafter died in jail. Now, sixteen years after the fact, their daughter, Carla, has come to Poirot with a request he can't refuse. She wants the famed Belgian detective to prove that her mother was innocent of the crime to which she was convicted, and she wants him to apprehend the real killer.

Five Little Pigs is a fine example of both Christie's genius at crafting intriguing mysteries, as well as Poirot's ability to ferret out the most minute of details and to build a solid case out of seemingly stray bits of information. As events unfold in this case, Poirot uncovers five possible suspects, all of whom had the opportunity and motive to poison Crale. To uncover the truth, Poirot returns to the scene of the crime in order to reconstruct the actual murder and to delve into the histories of each of his possible suspects.

Five Little Pigs is a bit different from most of Christie's Poirot stories in that it is more of a psychological thriller than a straight mystery. To solve this crime, Poirot must not only reconstruct the crime and the actions of each suspect, but he must also look into their souls and discover what makes each of them 'tick'. To this end, Christie uses the children's rhyme, Five Little Pigs as an allegory for the motives and actions of the five suspects as each mirrors in some manner one of the little piggies in the rhyme.

This was my first reading of Five Little Pigs, and I was highly pleased with the story, both in how Christie laid out the case and in how she maneuvered Poirot into solving it. The story was complex and the ending has some unexpected twists. As you would expect, especially in working a case that took place so long ago, Poirot runs into several dead-ends and at times loses the trail, but in the end he discovers the truth. As was her practice, Christie gives the reader all clues that are necessary to solve the case. The question is, "Can you figure out who killed Amyas Crale before Poirot does?"

Five Little Pigs can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.

Click Here for a complete list of all the books written by Agatha Christie.

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