From the very first sentence in the Foreward to this book, I felt drawn into this story. Christie seemed to be offering us, “her faithful readers”, a simple invitation: step in as one of the sleuths and solve this case.
“There are only four [suspects] and any one of them, given the right circumstances, might have committed the crime . . . each of whom has, [allegedly, already] committed murder and is capable of committing further murders. They are four widely divergent types, the motive that drives each one of them to crime is peculiar to that person, and each one would employ a different method. . . . When all is said and done it is the mind of the murderer that is of supreme interest.”
In Cards On the Table, an evil but rich man, Mr. Shaitana, teases Hercule Poirot with the information that he can put on display, people he knows have committed murder and gotten away with it. He invites Poirot to a dinner party in which these people will be present.
At Mr. Shaitana’s dinner party there are four “sleuths”, and four other people that Mr. Shaitana implies are murderers. After dinner the four sleuths play bridge in one room and the other four people play bridge in another room. Mr. Shaitana sits in an easy chair in the room with the four alleged killers. And, at the end of the evening – you guessed it – Mr. Shaitana has been murdered. The four sleuths set about to gather information and to analyze it all. No detail was spared, including the bridge scores.
It truly was a captivating story with lots of twists and turns. It was definitely a head game – a game of taking apart the lives of each of the four suspects. I liked each of the four sleuths but loved the character of Ariadne Oliver. It was easy to see that Agatha Christie was having fun with this character and was also pointing fun at herself as a writer. I look forward to meeting Ms. Oliver again in future stories.
My only disappointment in this story was at the end. I thought it could have ended about a chapter earlier. The details in the last chapter could have been slipped into the previous chapter or left out completely. It made the story drag at the end. That disappointment didn’t spoil my overall appreciation for Cards On the Table. This was the author’s twenty-fifth novel. I could feel the author’s confidence in her storytelling abilities. This is Agatha Christie at the top of her game.
Check your local library or your local bookstore for copies of this book. Cards on the Table is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)